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An Overview of TENS Unit: Everything There Is to Know About TENS

An Overview of TENS Unit: Everything There Is to Know About TENS

TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. If you are planning on getting a TENS unit, it is more likely that you or a loved one is suffering from chronic pain.

A study in 2019 suggests that 1 in 5 people experience pain almost every day. This pain interferes with the daily functioning of their lives. Some modalities and treatments can help to some extent. But the TENS unit is the best treatment for back pain. It is quick and easy offering instant pain relief.

In this article, we aim to explain everything you need to know about the TENS unit. We will also discuss

o How the device works

o What are the benefits

o The adversities it can cause

So, let’s dive deep into the article to learn about the TENS unit.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS): What Is this device?

TENS is a machine that produces electric currents in a tolerable amount to help treat pain. Some of these devices are commonly used in healthcare facilities or hospital settings.

This therapy helps with hyperalgesia which causes high pain sensitivity. You can get this pain in any part of your body. The machine comprises one battery, an electrical signal generator, and adhesive pads too.

How Does TENS Help Alleviate Pain?

The device sends electrical pulses to the areas of the body where the pain resides. When the electric current reaches the pained area, it starts simulating the nerve cells surrounding it. Thus, the body’s pain signals get blocked, which is why users feel instant pain relief.

Because of nerve stimulation, another thing happens in the body. The endorphins level of the user’s body also rises due to nerve stimulation. Endorphins are the chemicals responsible for killing pain in our bodies. So, with the increase in endorphins, we feel less pain.  

What Types of Conditions Can TENS Treat?

TENS therapy is used to help offer relief to both chronic and acute pain. Several studies are researching the benefits of using TENS. Below are some conditions that TENS helps to treat.

  • It helps with osteoarthritis.
  • TENS is useful in treating fibromyalgia.
  • It helps to treat tendonitis, which is an irritation of the tendon.
  • TENS offers relief from bursitis, which is swelling of the joints.
  • It is effective during labor pain.
  • It helps to treat low back aches or pain.
  • The therapy offers relief to different types of pelvic pain.
  • It treats diabetes neuropathy. This causes damage to nerves that are a connection to the body from the spinal cord and brain.
  • It helps to treat peripheral artery diseases, which is the hardening of arteries.

How To Use TENS for Relieving Pain?

TENS therapy is a safe treatment that works well if you follow the steps. Before charging the TENS device, you should know where exactly you feel the pain. In case of pad placements for sensory pain, use the “X” pattern.

Keep the area of pain focused at the intersection of X. Position the electrodes on each set of wires. It will make sure that the current flows over the section where you are feeling pain.

Many people wonder how often it is ok to use the device. You can use TENS for hours since it is safe. Make sure to keep moving the electrodes lightly. This will prevent irritation that comes from adhesives.

The device creates a tingling sensation on your skin at first. The intensity keeps on increasing gently. If the treatment is effective, you should notice pain relief in under 30 minutes. However, if that is not the case, try changing the placement of the electrodes.

Failing to properly place the electrodes wouldn’t give you the optimal result. On the other hand, if you need 24 hours of pain control, then choose a portable TENS unit from a reputed brand.

If you are not sure how to use the machine correctly, it is best to consult a healthcare professional. Every quality machine does come with detailed instructions. So, it is best you read the instructions carefully before proceeding.

Does TENS Actually Work?

There are not enough clinical trials or studies that prove TENS is an effective therapy for pain. However, a study indicates that it helped individuals with fibromyalgia. It offered temporary relief from pain while the device was on.

Although there is not enough evidence to prove that TENS works for sure, it is a reliable solution for temporary pain relief. Moreover, it is safe, low-cost, and effective.

The Benefits Of Using TENS

The first benefit of TENS machines is that they are non-invasive. They are ideal for people suffering from acute or chronic pain. You can carry them anywhere, be that in your office or grocery shopping. Some of the other benefits include:

Cut Down on Painkillers

People using TENS therapy can lower their pain medications. Most painkillers tend to be addictive in nature not to mention they have other side effects.

User Friendly

Tens is an advanced pain relief technology that is not just effective but easy to navigate too. On top of that, you can use the device while at home. All you have to do is stick the pads on the painful area of the body, select the mode, adjust the intensity, and the device will do the rest.    


Another benefit of the device is that it is tiny and portable. You can easily carry them in your pocket. Else, you can secure it onto a belt for easy access.

Lowering Inflammation

According to research, TENS units decrease muscle inflammation. The device helps with better blood circulation and decreases swelling. It also supports the healing of the tissues. 

What Are the Downsides of Using TENS?

There are no serious side effects of using TENS therapy. However, some may be sensitive to the adhesive pads in the machine. Using the pads, their skin might become irritated. In case this happens, talk to your healthcare provider or GP.

The doctor may suggest not using the treatment for quite some time until you heal. You can get special pads if you have such allergies. This therapy is not for everyone. Make sure you only use it after getting a medical opinion.

Here are some groups that should consult a doctor before using the TENS machine.

  • If your body has any sort of metal implants or electrical machine like a pacemaker.
  • If you are planning to get pregnant or are pregnant.
  • If you have heart problems or epilepsy.
  • If you have bladder issues.


The Most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. Is it safe to use TENS?

A. Most people have no issues with using the TENS machine. However, there might be people who are sensitive to the adhesive pads in the unit. There are special pads you can get if that is the case with you.

Q. Will Using the Tens Machine Too Much Cause Problems?

A. Many people have this doubt. And here we are to clear it up. You can easily use the device for around an hour up to four times per day.

Q. Is It Safe to Use the Tens Machine During Pregnancy?

A. The TENS machine is relatively safe to use for pregnant women. Many pregnant women have used it for several years. They faced no issues. It is safe for the baby and mother.

Alternatively, it helps to boost blood circulation and helps to relieve labor pain. But remember not to place the device on ankles, hands, knees, lower back, abdomen, or pelvic area.

Q. Will the Device Help Build Muscle?

A. TENS machine will not help you build muscle. But you can use a combination of EMS and TENS to build muscle. It also helps to relieve pain.

Q. Will Using the Tens Device Pose a Risk of a Heart Attack?

A. Currently, there are no studies that show using the TENS device poses a risk of heart attacks. But there are certain risks connected to using the device. For instance, if the electrode is not focused on the right body parts, it could lead to burns.

Also, do not put the electrode on your chest if you suffer from arrhythmias, heart failure, or diseases.

Final Words

TENS helped many people fight their chronic back pain, neck pain, joint pain, and more. Though researchers are yet to discover solid evidence stressing that TENS works for all. We cannot deny that it worked for a good number of people.

The effectiveness of treatment also varies from one person to another. While this might not work for one but it can prove to be effective for you. And if you are considering using a TENS unit, aim for the best in the market.

Purchase a TENS unit from AiRelax to get your hands on the best pain relief product on the market. AiRelax has come up with top-tier, user-friendly, intelligent, and budget-friendly massage tools.

We have an array of TENS unit options for you to select from. Depending on your need, preferred features, and model, you can pick your TENS unit to relieve back pain.










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