TENS Machines and Epilepsy: Points to Consider

If you have epilepsy, you may have explored a range of treatment options, ranging from medical marijuana, to conventional pharmaceuticals, to alternative treatments such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or TENS machines. The opinions regarding the use of TENS machines when you have epilepsy vary. Here are some tips to consider:

1. Some manufacturers report potential adverse effects of using TENS machines when you have epilepsy.

Some manufacturers claim that there have been anecdotal reports of people with epilepsy experiencing adverse effects using TENS machines. However, there are also anecdotal reports online of people with epilepsy who have used TENS machines for twenty years without ever experiencing or even hearing about adverse effects. Ideally, before using a machine, you should review the manufacturer's warnings and talk with your healthcare provider about whether or not it's a suitable treatment for some of your symptoms related to epilepsy or other health issues you may have.

2.  Groups around the world support ENS for patients with epilepsy.

The UK Epilepsy and Pregnancy Register reports that it is okay to use an ENS (electrical nerve stimulation) machine for pain relief during labour or pregnancy even if you have epilepsy. These machines hook up to your skin with sticky pads attached to wires, and a small portable machine delivers electrical impulses to your body. However, people with epilepsy don't only report pain with pregnancy.

3. Many people with epilepsy report pain.

If you experience pain on a regular basis, you are not alone. Patients with epilepsy report and seek medications for pain more often than patients without epilepsy. In many cases, the pain is related to falls from seizures or other tangential issues of epilepsy. If you have pain due to a fall and you want pain relief but don't want to turn to opioid painkillers, a TENS machine is something you may want to discuss with your doctor.

4. Epilepsy has been linked to migraines.

Similarly, epilepsy has been linked to migraines. In particular, people with epilepsy are twice as likely to have migraine headaches as people without epilepsy. In many cases, treating migraines can involve medications that may contradict the anticonvulsants you are taking or that may have side effects you don't want. Luckily, in this case TENS machines may also be something to consider -- they have been accepted in many parts of the world as treatment for migraine headaches.

If you are thinking about using a TENS machine and you have epilepsy, contact a TENS machine expert or your physician for more guidance.