No assignee for this patent application, patent application serial number 408481, has been made.
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Gel pad electrodes are utilized in numerous medical diagnostic and treatment procedures to facilitate the application and measurement of electric impulses or signals in the body. For instance, conductive gel pads may be utilized to measure electrical signals when taking a patient's cardiogram. On the treatment side, the conductive gel pads are utilized not only in connection with TENS where electric current is applied to stimulate the nerves for therapeutic purposes, but also for Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) or Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES); Micro-current Electrotherapy or Bio-Electric Stimulation Therapy (BEST) delivering smaller amounts of current than the typical TENS application; iontophoresis transdermally delivering drugs through the use of electricity; and even in appropriate configurations for therapies such as bone growth stimulation. The presently described system is particularly adapted for TENS applications, and can be easily modified for NMES therapy, and with more substantial modifications to the power and control systems, to other related applications.
"TENS is commonly used for pain management, and is most commonly administered by physical therapist or other medically trained personnel, and in conjunction with rehabilitation programs and possibly in conjunction with other pain management treatment. Most TENS devices are the size of a hand held calculator or television remote control apparatus, have a key pad and may have a small screen display, and are adapted to allow the operator to adjust the current intensity and wave form selected for treatment of the particular patient. Hand held devices may be battery operated, or even larger devices may be mounted to a mobile cart and provided with plugs and power converters to operate from an electrical socket. TENS may be utilized at high frequency or low frequency, and is applied in both palliative care and pain medicine. TENS is utilized for chronic pain as well as muscular-skeletal pain, labor pain, and period pain.
"In operation, a TENS control device is connected by wires to conductive electrodes which are placed on the skin in the area of the pain. This allows a small, low-intensity electric charge to be passed across the area. In high frequency application, TENS is thought to work by selectively stimulating certain 'non-pain' nerve fibers to send signals to the brain that block other nerve signals carrying pain messages. In low frequency application, TENS is thought to work by stimulating the production of endorphins, natural pain relieving opioid peptides. A TENS device may be utilized for extended periods, is usually utilized for 20 to 30 minutes of treatment at a time, and can be applied several times a day. While TENS is not addictive and seems have few side effects, especially compared to many pain medications, there are precautions that must be taken in placing the electrodes. For instance, electrodes should not be placed directly over the spinal column, patches to treat joint pain should generally not be placed directly over bony portions of the joints, and particular care must be taken in placing electrodes on the neck and chest.
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