Q. Is it advisable to use TENS to improve muscle pain?

Answered by
Dr. Jay Indravadan Patel
and medically reviewed by Dr. Divya Banu M
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 27, 2020

Hello doctor,

I played volleyball on Monday night and everything was fine but then I played squash on Tuesday night. My glutes were really really sore on Wednesday. Just deep muscle soreness, But I chalked it up to not having played in 9 months. Then I played volleyball Wednesday night too. And things were really sore. Thursday my left glute started hurting around 2 PM and by 10 PM I could not walk at all. So much pain. I have been taking hydromorphone, and oxycodone and Celebrex anti inflammatory pills all night and day Friday and today. Not getting better. It is either a really good strain or a tear. I have iced it, I have got my home tens unit on it right now and often throughout the day/night.

This feels like it is the exact same muscle that I hurt at the rehab center three years back and it really hurts. It feels like my Glute Minimus maybe. On Thursday I used my massage chair, hot tub, foam roller, trigger point lacrosse ball and my massage gun on it. I am thinking that digging into the injury that much probably made it worse or aggravated it. Sorry, so here is my question.

I have dry needled in the past and it has helped a lot, but is it okay to dry needle if it is a torn glute muscle or even a strain? The tens machine seems to take some of the pain away, but could my tens be making things worse? Also, I have been in bed laid up all day and night yesterday, literally only crawling to the bathroom and back. I was hoping that staying off of it a few days will make it better but I am not sure what else I can do. Since it is the weekend and the clinic is closed, I was gonna look around for a mobile physiotherapist to come to my place and maybe dry needle me or other therapy for some pain relief? I honestly do not think I could climb into a car to drive anywhere. Otherwise I will stay in bed for the weekend and hope that enough of the pain is gone and I can go into the clinic and see someone on Monday.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

From the history it sounds more of a muscle strain or you can say it as DOMS which is sometimes common as one lands or take a flight for taking up the shot but the pain is not reducing, is not making things clear, whether it is a DOMS or muscle strain as both of it should resolve within 3-4 days of time.

So what I can advice is continue with TENS and take proper rest. TENS will never make the injury worse. Its a modality for reducing the pain. I will advice to take TENS for almost 30-40 minutes, 3-4 times a day and allow a complete bed rest without doing much mobility. We can expect the pain to come down drastically. In case after a day or two of applying TENS for 30-40 minutes if the pain still persist we need to look for other factors but rest is what is needed without having much mobility in the muscle.

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