What is PENS?

Percutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation is a pain reduction technique that involves the insertion of acupuncture needles into the soft tissue. The needles are inserted to a depth of 1-2 cm at the nerve or trigger points serving the area of pain. Wire leads are attached and a small electrical current is passed through the inserted needles. This current disrupts normal pain signals by stimulating local nerves. Over time, this stimulation can result in a decrease in pain.

PENS is similar, in concept, to Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). Instead of the needle’s precise placement, TENS uses adhesive pads that are placed on the skin around the area of pain. Also, PENS treatments differ from acupuncture where the placement of needles is based on specific theories regarding energy flow in the human body. In PENS, the location of stimulation is determined by proximity to the pain rather than acupuncture theories of energy flow.

The use of PENS can be an integral part of a comprehensive pain reduction/ management treatment. It does not preclude other pain management techniques. It usually requires a series of treatments to be effective. If deemed appropriate, treatment begins with three PENS sessions, one to two weeks apart. PENS treatments have proven successful in a wide range of pain issues.