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12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

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Electric Pain Relief: What It Is, the Treatable Conditions, and How to Use

A large wing TENS with refill gel pads

Electric pain relief or electrotherapy involves using a battery-powered device to deliver electrical currents to the body as a method of pain relief. This therapy for pain relief can treat various conditions. It can help manage both acute pain and chronic pain conditions. Accordingly, it aids musculoskeletal pain, neuropathic pain, and muscle discomfort. To use the electronic device, one needs to prepare the unit. Then, locate the treatment area, place the electrode pads, and adjust the settings.

Living with painful conditions can significantly impact the quality of life. It affects the physical well-being and takes a toll on the mental and emotional state. Traditional pain management methods like medications or physical therapy often fall short of providing long-lasting relief. Fortunately, electrotherapy has emerged as a promising effective treatment. This article will present the electrical pain relief, the treatable conditions, and how to use the electrical device.

What is an Electric Pain Relief?

An electric pain relief utilises a medical device to send electrical pulses to the body. One of the most common types of electrical stimulation is the Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). Accordingly, physical therapists and health professionals often utilise the therapy as part of their treatment plans for patients. Individuals can also apply the treatment at home or on the go.

TENS works by activating different mechanisms within the body. One way is through the pain gate mechanism. This theory suggests that the electric current can essentially close the “gate” that allows pain signals to reach the brain. Furthermore, TENS can stimulate the release of endorphins. These are the natural chemicals of the body that act as natural painkillers.

In addition, TENS may enhance blood flow in the treatment area. This action can deliver essential oxygen and nutrients to body tissues. Moreover, electric devices are available in wired and wireless functionalities. Both units offer a variety of features to enhance user experience. This may include adjustable settings, pre-set programs, portability, and more.

Types of Electrical Stimulation

  • TENS: a popular method that involves delivering low-voltage electrical signals to specific nerves through electrode patches placed on the skin.
  • Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS): it targets muscle tissue by providing electrical pulses to induce muscle contractions. This is often utilised for muscle rehabilitation, strengthening, and re-education.
  • Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES): it targets both nerves and muscles, aiming to elicit muscle contractions for therapeutic purposes. This method can be used for preventing muscle atrophy and enhancing blood flow.
  • Interferential Current (IFC): it utilises two-frequency electrical impulses that intersect and interfere with each other within the body.

A shirtless man holding his nape and lower back due to pain

Treatable Conditions When Using an Electric Pain Relief

The use of electric pain relief, especially TENS, can target a range of treatable conditions. Firstly, acute pain conditions are sudden discomforts. This may result from labour pain, postoperative pain, and primary dysmenorrhea. Secondly, the therapy can manage chronic pain conditions which persist for an extended period. This may include arthritis pain, fibromyalgia, and backaches.

Thirdly, the treatment can aid musculoskeletal pain, which affects the bones, ligaments, and tendons. Conditions like osteoarthritis pain and knee joint discomfort can benefit from the therapy. Fourthly, it can provide relief for neuropathic pain, which results from nerve damage or dysfunctions. This may involve treating sciatica, diabetic neuropathies, and nerve entrapment syndromes.

Furthermore, electrotherapy pain relief is valuable for managing muscular discomfort. This can arise from muscle tension, spasms, or injuries. Accordingly, the electrical stimulation can target specific muscles to promote relaxation, strengthening, and re-education. Overall, understanding the treatable conditions can empower health professionals and individuals to make informed decisions about incorporating this modality.

Potential Side Effects

One common side effect is skin irritation at the electrode placement sites. This can occur due to prolonged exposure to the electrodes or sensitivity to the materials. In some cases, individuals may experience muscle twitching. This is a normal response. However, care should be taken to ensure that it is appropriate for the tolerance level of the person.

Occasionally, individuals may report discomfort or a “pins and needles” sensation. Adjusting the settings can help mitigate these sensations. In rare instances, some people may experience allergic reactions to the adhesive electrode pads. Hence, it is important to monitor the skin for any signs of allergic dermatitis.

A woman manually operating TENS on her back

How to Use an Electric Pain Relief

When using electric pain relief, it is essential to follow certain steps. Depending on the type of discomfort and location, a suitable device needs to be selected. Then, prepare the device by attaching the electrodes to the central unit using lead cables. For wireless devices, connect it to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth technology. After that, identify the treatment area and prepare the skin.

Next, position the electrodes following the proper pad placement. Once the electrodes are in place, turn on the device. The unit may allow the individual to adjust the settings. Hence, modify the pulse amplitudes, pulse widths, and pulse duration. Some models may offer pre-set programs. Thus, choose or select a program that targets the specific condition.

Start the therapy with the lowest settings and gradually increase them to a comfortable level. During the application of electric stimulation, individuals should be mindful of any sensations experienced. Accordingly, the duration may last between 15 to 30 minutes. After the treatment session, turn off the device and carefully remove the electrodes from the skin.

Safety Guidelines

Before starting electrical stimulation for pain relief, individuals should seek professional guidance. This consultation is crucial to ensure the therapy is a suitable treatment option. Accordingly, before applying the electrodes, users should ensure that the skin is clean and dry. Also, avoid positioning the electrode pads on the head, eyes, mouth, chest, throat, or broken skin.

Additionally, do not start the therapy with high settings. This may cause electrical shock and further discomfort. Moreover, if any adverse sensation occurs, it is vital to discontinue use and seek professional help. Do not use electrical devices while sleeping, driving, operating machinery, or in water.


In conclusion, electric pain relief is a viable option for individuals seeking relief from various types of pain. It uses an electronic device to deliver electrical currents to the body as a form of pain relief. Accordingly, there are different types of electrical stimulation. This may include EMS, NMES, IFC, and the most popular TENS. Moreover, the therapy can treat various conditions. This may involve managing labour pain, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, diabetic neuropathies, and muscle tension.

Furthermore, using the device is easy. One needs to choose a suitable unit and prepare it. Then, locate the treatment area, clean and dry it, and place the pads. Lastly, adjust the settings or select a pre-set program. While the use of the devices is safe, it is crucial to recognise the potential side effects and the safety guidelines. People seeking a pain relief device may check out iTENS Australia, which offers a combination of TENS and EMS functionalities.

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