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Electrical stimulation, or E-stim, is the general term for several modalities that involve electrodes that attach to a patient’s skin. These modalities can be used for both pain relief and functional improvements, even in cases involving neurological disorders.

Commonly referred to as TENS, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is a type of E-stim used to manage acute and chronic pain — and often prescribed for use at home. While researchers haven’t concluded its exact mechanisms of action, it is thought that various electrical frequencies activate certain pain receptors, sending non-painful stimuli through injured tissues and into the nervous system.