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Digital Pain Relief – Definition, How To Use, and Side Effects

A newscaster reporting about TENS as a new pain relief

Medication and surgery may not work for everyone in managing pain. Some people find these methods intrusive. As a result, alternative treatments, such as digital pain relief, have become in demand. This treatment uses electronic devices to alleviate pain. Healthcare professionals attach the electrode pads to the skin of patients. Moreover, advanced technology allows individuals to have their units and attach electrodes themselves. While generally safe, there may be side effects like skin irritation. Thus, proper usage is important.

One of the most common types of digital treatments is Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). It utilises mild electrical pulses to stimulate the nerves. The machines are usually portable. Hence, individuals have immediate access to pain relief. Some units are wireless, allowing discreet use in public. To learn more information about it, the following sections will present its definition, how to use it, and any potential risks as well as other side effects people should be aware of.

What is Digital Pain Relief and How Does it Work

Digital pain relief is a non-invasive method of pain relief that uses electrical nerve stimulation. This technique involves the use of an electronic device that delivers electrical impulses to the body. It disrupts the pain signals being sent to the spinal cord, resulting in reductions in pain. One commonly used device is the dual-channel TENS machine, which reduces acute and chronic pain.

One of the advantages of digital pain management methods is its convenience and ease of use. Individuals can control the settings and see what is happening on the LED screen. Low frequencies, which are less than 10 Hz, boost the production of natural painkillers in the body. Meanwhile, high frequencies at more than 50 Hz flood the nervous system. Both methods lessen the perception of pain.

Unlike others, such as pain medicines or injections, it can be self-administered at home. It also does not involve the use of drugs, making it a suitable option for those who may have concerns about their side effects. Moreover, it can be used in combination with other treatments like massage.

Common Treatable Conditions

Here are the common conditions that can benefit from digital treatments:

  • Chronic pain conditions: These include fibromyalgia, migraines, and chronic back pain to provide long-term pain relief.
  • Acute pain conditions: Short-term pain relief after injuries, accidents, or medical procedures are some examples.
  • Joint pain: Units like TENS can offer relief for conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Peripheral nerve pain: Conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or sciatica can be helped.
  • Musculoskeletal pain: This includes pain in muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments.
  • Shoulder pain: There can be relief for various conditions, including rotator cuff injuries, frozen shoulder, or shoulder impingement.

A step-by-step process on how to operate the mobile app of iTENS

How to Use Digital Pain Relief

To use a digital pain relief device, begin by choosing the right mode for specific pain types. Next, ensure proper electrode placement by applying adhesive electrodes to the affected area. Some devices offer a dual-channel feature for treating multiple areas or kinds of pain at once. Follow the instructions to get the best results and prevent skin issues.

Once the electrodes are in place, adjust the settings to the most desirable level that effectively reduces pain. A benefit of using a digital machine is that it provides a visual representation of the current settings and allows efficient modification. Wireless units also have this because they can connect to Bluetooth and a mobile application. Apps allow people to control the therapy conveniently.

For best results, keep sessions between 20-30 minutes per day at least 3-4 times a week or as directed by your healthcare professional. If the skin begins to feel irritated or uncomfortable during treatment, remove the electrodes immediately. Afterwards, consult a doctor for advice on the proper usage of the device.

When to Avoid

Using medical devices should be avoided in certain situations, such as during pregnancy. Pregnant women should not use a digital method of pain relief unless instructed by their doctors. TENS can provide relief for lower back pains during labour. However, they should never place the pads on the abdomen to prevent harm.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes recurrent seizures. Due to the unpredictable nature of these seizures, it is best to avoid using any type of device when someone has epilepsy. This is because even low-level electrical stimulation can cause a seizure for them.

A TENS machine kit with a pack of gel pads and necessary information

Potential Risks and Side Effects of Digital Pain Relief

Digital pain relief devices are safe and effective when used properly and according to manufacturer instructions. However, there may be side effects associated with it, such as tingling sensations. These are normal parts of the therapy, but they may bring discomfort to some people. Overuse can cause this. Thus, it is essential to only do the recommended duration of sessions or reduce the power level.

Skin irritation or burns may also occur. Prolonged use of current intensity settings that are too high for the tolerance level of the body can cause this. To prevent this, it is important to monitor the settings and adjust as necessary. Using a machine on irritated or broken skin can exacerbate the condition and delay the healing process. Ensuring the health of the skin is paramount. Also, allowing wounds or irritations to heal properly before using the device is advised.

Moreover, individuals with cardiac pacemakers or electronic medical devices must consult with a healthcare professional before using the machines. The electrical impulses from units like TENS can interfere with the proper functioning of the implanted device. This can potentially lead to severe complications.

When to Seek Medical Help

For people who are experiencing chronic or severe pain that is not relieved by pain relief methods such as TENS, it may be time to seek medical help. Chronic pain conditions can be complex and may require medical treatments or interventions that go beyond the use of digital pain relievers.

Additionally, if individuals are uncertain about the cause of their pain or other unusual symptoms accompany it, it is important to consult a doctor. They can conduct a thorough evaluation, including diagnostic tests if necessary. This is to determine the underlying cause of pain and develop an appropriate treatment plan.


Digital pain relief is a non-invasive method. It can provide an effective and drug-free alternative for managing chronic pain conditions such as neuropathic pain, movement pain, cancer pain, and osteoarthritis pain. The treatment method can also help manage acute conditions like menstrual pain and muscle aches. It works by sending electrical pulses to pain sites. When using the device, carefully follow the instructions for electrode placement and intensity levels to ensure safe and effective use.

Consultation with a medical professional is advisable for personalised guidance. In addition, it is to ensure the machine is suitable for individual needs. Incorporating the unit into a pain management routine can offer much-needed relief and contribute to an improved quality of life. People can find digital pain relievers like TENS devices online, or they can buy one at pharmacies. iTENS from iTENS Australia can be a good choice due to their portability and user-friendly design.

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