Physios are helping women to feel less pain during labour
A new study published in Journal of Physiotherapy examined the use of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (or TENS, as it is more commonly known) during labour. TENS significantly reduced the pain felt during labour, with no adverse effects present.
TENS is a non-pharmacological method of relieving pain. It consists of a small electrical unit that generates comfortable tingling sensations under where the electrodes are applied to the skin. The brain has trouble interpreting both painful and non-painful inputs at the same time, so it tries to interpret the information it is receiving as either "pain" or "no pain", depending on which input is greater. If you can generate enough comfortable tingling, then you effectively block the pain.
TENS has been shown to be effective pain relief in many clinical conditions, although it appears to be more effective for some conditions than for others. However, new evidence generated by a study published in Journal of Physiotherapy shows that TENS substantially reduces the severity of pain felt during labour. The reduction in the severity of the pain delayed the point at which women asked for other (that is, pharmacological) pain relief. There were no adverse effects on the mother or the newborn and the total duration of labour was not substantially increased by the use of TENS.
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> From: Santana et al., J Physiother 62 (2016) 29-34. All rights reserved to Elsevier B.V. on behalf of Australian Physiotherapy Association. Click here for the Pubmed summary.