Chronic neck pain such as cervical spondylosis, often referred to as "neck arthritis", or herniated discs or degenerative disc disease, are common neck pain problems. Currently the first method of treatment involves the use of drugs which is one of the better ways to treat acute neck pain, but is not the method of choice for chronic neck pain.
Chronic neck pain exists due to the treatments such as anti-inflammatories, moist heat, stretching, and narcotic level drugs being used but without results. Chronicity is not generally the "beginning condition" of the patient but a progress of failed treatments for acute neck pain resulting in chronic pain. Once the neck pain becomes chronic then the drug treatment protocol usually inTENSifies, using heavier duty drugs, less awareness, more sleeping due to the drug effects of masking, and mobility is lost.
Many chronic neck pain conditions can be successfully treated with interventional therapy and in some cases TENS therapy may be beneficial. The essence of interferential or TENS is to stop the transmittal of the pain impulse, lessen the need for drugs, and also increase range of motion with elimination or reduced pain as the patient moves their neck.
Since admitted and TENS require electrodes the patient is always faced with the best method to use so the electrodes adhere. Electrode placement is done so the current is directional across the painful area which dictates where to place the electrodes. Possibly more important is the reduction of muscle TENSeness and inflammation, if present.
The neck is one of the more difficult areas for electrodes to exist to simply because of the uneven surfaces, movement in the area and, for men especially, neck hair. Hair is a resistor to electricity so if an electrode is placed with hair benefit it then the electrical path is interrupted in those areas. The problems can be overcome by:
- Place longer, 2 "x 4", electrode on each side of the neck on the muscular area of the shoulder
- Use "electrically conductive" plastic shield protect to protect the skin and secure the hair to the skin
- Try alternate placements such as the universal "hocu" points
- With hocu cut the electrode to nowhere to the web space for better adherence
- Stimulate the entire hand area in a water bucket filled with warm water – water serves as the electrode
Electrode adherence is less an issue when doing interventional treatments since the treatment time is reduced to 30 – 45 minutes versus wearing a TENS unit for 24/7 which means continuous use of the electrodes since continuous treatment.