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12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

Digital TENS Unit – What It Is, How It Works, and How To Use

A wireless pain relief from iTENS with accessories

Living with intractable pain can be incredibly challenging. Fortunately, one approach to pain management is the use of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or digital TENS unit. It is a non-invasive, natural pain relief device that sends electrical impulses to stimulate the nerves. It works using self-adhesive electrodes placed on the skin. The device is simple to use and involves a few steps. Identify the correct electrode placement and adjust the settings.

Pain sufferers find it challenging to look for an effective pain relief method. This is because traditional medications often involve undesirable side effects. Nevertheless, the digital TENS machine offers a non-invasive and drug-free alternative and an approach to personalised therapy. Such an approach helps people to have treatment for acute, nerve, or chronic pain relief. This article will present more about the device, how it works, and how to use the digital TENS machine.

What is a Digital TENS Unit

digital TENS unit is a small electronic device that helps to relieve different types of aches. It is a beneficial tool for people who are looking for a less invasive pain management option. Such an approach is possible due to the delivery of low-voltage electrical currents to specific areas of the body. Thus, it can treat a wide range of conditions, whether short-term or long-term aches.

The device typically consists of a handheld control panel and electrode pads. It is battery-operated, using disposable or alkaline batteries. In particular, iTENS Australia offers a wireless tool that controls the device with a smartphone through Bluetooth. This eliminates the use of wires and has extensive battery life, making it more compact and lightweight.

Moreover, the tool has customisable programs. Users have access to adjustable intensity, modifiable frequency, and versatile treatment time. Many digital TENS machine also comes with preset programs to precisely target specific areas of the body or certain types of aches. Also, some have adjustable TENS modes like continuous, burst, or massage-like patterns. This allows users to choose the suitable settings.

Conditions that Can be Treated

  • Chronic pain – the device can manage aches that are persistent, usually for about three months. This includes fibromyalgia, arthritis, back, shoulder, and neck pain.
  • Acute conditions – an ailment that occurs suddenly and typically for a short time. These are injuries, labour contractions, menstrual cramps, or post-operative pain.
  • Joint ailments – people experiencing joint aches in knees, shoulders, or wrists may find relief with the device.
  • Nerve-related aches – these are neuropathic conditions, particularly diabetic neuropathy, post-herpetic neuralgia, and sciatica pain.
  • Muscle tension – TENS can aid in relieving muscle strains or muscle spasms by improving blood flow and muscle relaxation.

An elderly with TENS in her arms while sitting and reading

How a Digital TENS Unit Works

Generally, a digital TENS unit works by generating electrical pulses that travel from the electrode pads to the skin. The electrical currents reach and stimulate the underlying nerves. Nevertheless, it functions in two mechanisms. One way is the Pain Gate Theory. This suggests that the stimulation reaches the nerves faster than the pain signals. As such, it can close the gate and block the messages from reaching the brain.

Another way the device works is by stimulating the release of endorphins. Endorphins are the natural pain relievers in the body. The electrical impulses from the device can trigger the production and release of such chemicals. This process can help alleviate aches and promote a sense of well-being. Also, the stimulation can improve blood flow or circulation.

The delivery of electrical currents can also run in low-frequency or high-frequency settings. HF or conventional TENS, sends a rapid stream of pulse rate. It usually delivers impulses at above 50 Hertz (Hz). Thus, it is vital for acute aches. LF delivers pulses with longer intervals, usually below 10 Hz. This is beneficial in treating chronic conditions.


Aside from the effectiveness of TENS to provide relief, there are several benefits it can offer. Unlike many other treatment options, it is non-invasive and drug-free. Therefore, it eliminates the adverse effects of undergoing a medical operation or taking prescription drugs.

Additionally, it is portable and compact. This allows users to carry the device and use it anywhere at any time of the day. The tool also offers adjustable settings. This allows people to customise the intensity, frequency, and duration of the TENS therapy. It is also cost-effective as it eliminates frequent visits to medical providers or professionals.

TENS having a simple to operate app

How to Use a Digital TENS Unit

Using and operating a digital TENS unit is relatively straightforward. Start by ensuring that the device is fully charged or has fresh batteries. Make sure the tool is off before doing other steps to avoid shocks. Clean the skin area experiencing the pain to remove any oils, lotions, or dirt that could interfere with the effectiveness of the therapy.

Next, attach the electrode pads to the unit or connect it to a smartphone. Accordingly, the number of pads depends on the size and location of the treatment area. Gently position the electrodes on either side of the pain. Make sure to avoid the sensitive areas. Also, ensure that the electrodes adhere firmly to avoid interruption.

Once it is all set, turn on the device. Depending on the unit, there are different settings to choose from. It is advisable to start with the lowest setting and moderately increase it to a comfort level. Experiment with the frequency, modulation, and duration options. The treatment duration is advisable to last for 15 to 30 minutes and have a break for longer sessions.

Potential Side Effects

While TENS can be effective in managing aches, it is important to be aware of potential side effects. Some common side effects of TENS include skin irritation or redness at the electrode placement. Also, some users can experience muscle twitching and discomfort during the electrical stimulation. This sensation must go away after the treatment.

In rare cases, individuals may experience an allergic reaction. This is possible because of the adhesive in the electrode pads. The device can also interfere with certain electrical devices, such as pacemakers or implanted defibrillators. Thus, it is crucial to consult a medical provider before using TENS.


A digital TENS unit is a helpful method for managing different pain conditions. People with acute, chronic, or nerve-related aches can incorporate TENS to alleviate pain. Accordingly, it is non-invasive and drug-free as it delivers electrical stimulation to the body. This eliminates the risk of any invasive medical procedures and oral medications. Also, the portability and user-friendliness of the device contribute to its popularity. This also allows people to adjust the settings to suit specific needs.

TENS therapy is an effective way to manage aches. It functions in two mechanisms: the Pain Gate Theory and the release of endorphins. These approaches contribute to blocking pain signals and producing natural painkillers. iTENS Australia offers a wireless and rechargeable TENS unit. This allows people to have an accessible way of treating ailments. Nevertheless, it is vital to recognise the minimal side effects to maximise the benefits.

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