Travelling With TENS
Now that travel is back post-pandemic, choosing where to go for your next holiday is likely to be high on your “to-do” list. The pros of travel are many, from visiting new destinations to simply taking a break from work and responsibilities, but when it comes to your body, travel can lead to everyday aches and pains. The good news, however, is that a TENS machine can help. Additionally, if you rely on one for drug-free pain relief (1) for an existing condition such as arthritis, or you’re concerned about aggravating an old injury away from home, taking one on your trip is essential for on-the-go physiotherapy.
A common problem with travel is how you feel after getting out of a plane, train or car. Prolonged sitting, especially in the “cozy” seats on today’s planes, can cause leg cramps, a stiff neck, and aching leg and lower back muscles like an extreme workout without using gym equipment. The stress and anxiety of travel can also make some people prone to tension headaches and migraine.
Handling luggage is another culprit, from carrying a bag over your shoulder to walking while pulling a suitcase behind you. And if you’re flying you’ll likely have to hoist a carry-on bag up and into an overhead compartment, and grab a heavy suitcase from the carousel in the arrivals hall, all of which change your normal posture and can result in problems. Additional reasons why you may need to reach for a TENS machine away from home include sleeping in an unfamiliar bed with a mattress that may be too hard or too soft, and pillows that are not up to your preferences comfort-wise, leaving you with musculoskeletal pain.
A PainPod or Hidow machine is an ideal travel companion as it can provide on-demand drug-free pain relief (1), along with helping with everything from a headache (2) to lower back pain (3) and even period pain (4). It will also help to improve your circulation (5) on the go, and if you’re prone to motion sickness it can ease symptoms by stimulating acupuncture points on the wrist and lower arm (6). Additionally, a TENS machine keeps muscles moving when you’re inactive and it relaxes stiff muscles, with the bonus of being handy for a relaxing massage, all of which enables you to travel more freely.
TENS machines are also compact and portable boasting a long battery life, making them easy to use on the go. Recharging your device is simple via a USB connection and your computer and only takes a couple of hours. If you’re planning to take your PainPod or Hidow on your next trip, a few top tips include making sure it’s fully charged before you set off and packing spare electrode pads into your luggage. And if you’re heading overseas a travel adaptor will give you added flexibility to recharge your machine using a mains connection.
- Vance, et al. Using TENS for pain control: the state of the evidence. Pain Management. 3: 197-209, 2014
- Classification of TENS to treat headaches. 79(128): p. 37946-8, 2014
- Guild, D.G. Mechanical therapy for low back pain. 39(3): p. 511-6, 2012
- Barbosa Mde. Evaluation of pain thresholds across the menstrual cycle using TENS. 68(7): p. 901-8, 2013
- Clin J Pain. Modification of experimental lower limb ischemic pain with transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation 28 (8): p693-9, 2012
- BMC Complement Altern Med. Simultaneous transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation mitigates simulator sickness symptoms in healthy adults: a crossover study. 13: p. 84. 2013