Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

TENS machines are often used as a treatment by physiotherapists. It is a non-invasive treatment that is used to reduce pain. TENS is thought to reduce pain by interrupting the pain signals going to the brain. TENS may also help to release endorphins, a chemical that is otherwise known as the body’s natural painkiller. TENS may help you to participate more fully in everyday activities.

TENS is a small battery-powered device that is attached to wires and electrodes. The electrodes are placed on the skin, usually on either side of the area where the pain is located. An electrical signal is sent through the electrodes, and into specific nerves. This is not painful. You may feel tingling when you use it. TENS can be used to treat acute and chronic pain. It may be used in combination with pain-relieving medications.

Pain relief may be short term, lasting from minutes to hours. With prolonged use, pain relief from TENS may last much longer.

Although TENS machines can be bought over the counter, children should only use a TENS machine on the advice of their doctor or physiotherapist.

In addition, children should not use a TENS machine if:

• They have a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).

• They have epilepsy.

• The source of pain is over the site of any previous surgery where internal metalwork, such as screws, wires, implants or metal plates have been inserted.

• They have poor sensation in the area where the electrodes are to be applied.

If you have any questions about the suitability of TENS for your child, please discuss this with your child’s doctor or pain specialists.


Welcome to the Taking Charge: Managing JIA Online Program! In this section you will learn what to expect in the program, how to get started and how to set goals to better manage JIA.

JIA stands for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Find out what causes JIA, the different types of JIA and how it will affect you now and in the future.

Diagnosing JIA may be difficult as joint pain and swelling may be a part of many different illnesses. Diagnosis of JIA typically includes a physical exam, blood tests and imaging studies.

Pain, stiffness, and tiredness or fatigue, are common symptoms of JIA. These symptoms can lead to difficulties with participating in school and sports activities, and enjoying time with your friends. Learn about pain, fatigue, and stiffness, how to manage symptoms and how these symptoms can cause stress.

There are several strategies you can use to help you cope with pain, stress, and sleep problems. These include relaxation, distraction, and managing your thoughts. In this section, learn more about how each of these strategies work.

When you know about your medications, you can talk to your doctor about them and make good choices for yourself. Find out about the different types of JIA medications, how they work, common side effects, and the importance of talking to your doctor about your medication plan.

Did you know that there are many other therapies that you can use to manage JIA symptoms? They can help to prevent complications so that you can do all the things you want to do. In this section, learn more about physical, occupational, and psychological therapies; maintaining healthy nutrition; surgical options for JIA, and more.

Your role in making decisions about your treatment plan is very important. Your health-care team and other members of your support system are available to help you make these decisions. In turn, they can help you to manage your JIA.

Whether you have JIA or not, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Find out how to stay healthy and active, learn about puberty and relationships, healthy body image, and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Sometime between the ages of 18 to 22, you most likely will transition from your pediatric rheumatologist to the adult health care setting. At that time, there are a number of things you, your family, and your health-care team can do to help make this change go smoothly.