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Difference Between TENS and IFC

TENS vs. IFC

TENS literally stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and IFC is an abbreviation for Inferential Current Therapy. Both are palliative treatments that utilize electric currents for long-term intractable pain and post-operative and post-traumatic periods of acute pain. The two procedures were proven harmless and effective substitutes to pharmacologic treatments to control pain. Equally, they have a minimal side effect to patients and are non-addictive. They can cause some adverse effects by the irritations of the skin where the electrodes are placed. They are both convenient to use and easy to carry.

However, there are evident differences between TENS and IFC. IFC uses a two-polar frequency circuit and four-polar frequency circuit of slightly dissimilar cycles per second that are placed on the site that will give you the resultant frequency that is conceded by the specific frequency amplitude. Then an interference is formed that can block the pain transmission messages at the level of the spinal cord. The stimulation of the inferential electricity can concentrate at the intersection point of the electrodes through the location of the deep tissues. On the other hand, TENS stimulates the generation of a current that can flow through its leads to electrodes that are placed on specific locations on the person’s skin. TENS electric reactions in the sensory and motor nerve fibers are caused by the low-voltage current. It uses the gate control theory. The theory states that if a pain message has already stimulated the nerve fibers of the spinal cord, at that moment the gate closes which inhibits the occurrence of another pain message.
While for the IFC, the focus of its function is to block the pain message on the peripheral nerve fibers. TENS modulates low frequency (125Hz) versus the IFC which usually delivers at 4000Hz. The IFC can deliver electric currents with much more comfort than a TENS unit.

It is also proven that IFC can reach greater depths and offers electrotherapy to a larger number of tissues than TENS. Typically, pain with a very deep origin is hard to reach with other treatment modalities other than IFC. IFC stimulates circulation, and TENS can stimulate endorphin production. TENS can only treat conditions with low-risk involvement like treating back pain. It is contraindicated for pregnant women. IFC is used to manage edema, pain, and inflammation which are caused by trauma or degenerative alterations with the involvement of soft tissues. It can treat conditions like shingles, neuralgia, and arthritis. In addition, studies claim that IFC has a role in stimulating healing and restoration of tissues while TENS only focuses on controlling pain.

The two procedures can be used during labor to control pain. It is proven to be effective and safe. Patients with pacemakers should also be warned about using it. It can be administered on a controlled condition with careful application to ensure the safety of the patient. Patients should also be assessed for any allergies to gels, electrodes, and tapes. The health team member should not put the electrodes on top of dermatologic lesions such as eczema and dermatitis.

Summary:

1.IFC uses the stimulation of the inferential electricity that concentrates at the intersection point of the electrodes while TENS stimulates the generation of current that can flow through its leads to electrodes that are placed on specific locations on the person’s skin.

2.IFC focuses its function primarily to block the pain message on the peripheral nerve fibers. On the other hand, a TENS unit’s electric reactions are for the sensory and motor nerve fibers.

3.IFC usually delivers at 4000Hz versus TENS which modulates at a low frequency of 125Hz.

4.IFC can deliver electric currents with much comfort than a TENS unit.

5.IFC can reach greater depths and offers electrotherapy to a larger number of tissues than TENS.

6.IFC stimulates circulation, and TENS can stimulate endorphin production.

7.IFC is used to manage edema, pain, and inflammation which are caused by trauma or degenerative alterations with the involvement of soft tissues while TENS can only treat conditions with low risk involved like treating back pains. It is contraindicated for pregnant women.

8.IFC has a role in stimulating healing and restoration of tissues while TENS only focuses on controlling pain.


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1 Comment

  1. Awesome information in explaining the difference between IFC and Tens. Thank You

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