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12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

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Med TENS: What It Is, How It Works, And The Benefits

A muscular man holding his nape and lower back

Medical Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or Med TENS is a device that provides pain relief. It works by sending gentle electrical pulses that block pain signals, stimulate the release of endorphins, and improve blood circulation. One of its main benefits is a non-invasive treatment option. It does not require any surgical procedures. Additionally, it is drug-free, making it a safe alternative for pain management. The device also allows for customisable settings.

Many people suffer from acute or chronic conditions that cause mild to debilitating pain. It can severely impact the quality of life and cause stress and anxiety. For relief, many people use the traditional approach and take medicine or undergo surgery. However, these methods have a higher risk of complications and side effects. This article will provide information on medical TENS machines, their functioning, and the benefits they offer.

What is Med TENS?

A Med TENS is a portable device that can provide pain relief. It consists of a control unit and sets of electrodes. The adhesive electrode pads send electrical currents to stimulate the nearby nerves to reduce pain. Moreover, there are two types of TENS devices that individuals can use: standard and wireless.

A standard TENS machine typically includes a handheld push-button remote and wires that connect to the electrode pads. In contrast, a wireless TENS machine uses Bluetooth technology to connect with a smartphone app. It is popular among individuals who prefer convenient and on-the-go pain management. Nevertheless, both types deliver adequate electrical stimulation.

The TENS electrodes are interchangeable in different sizes and shapes. This can help fit different areas of the body and deliver appropriate stimulation levels. Additionally, the pads stick firmly to the skin but do not penetrate or leave permanent marks. It is worth noting that TENS is not a cure for pain but only provides symptomatic pain relief.

Conditions It Can Treat

  • Acute pain conditions: Sudden and intense pain that typically lasts for a short period of time. This includes postoperative pain, fractures, broken bones, labour pain, muscle sprain, and period pain.
  • Chronic pain conditions: It refers to ongoing pain that persists for more than three months, even after the initial injury or illness has healed. These include conditions such as diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia, ankle tendonitis, bursitis, peripheral neuropathy, and osteoarthritis.
  • Body aches: It can be a general feeling of soreness or localised pain in specific areas. This includes wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, ankles, hips, thighs, hands, or feet.

iTENS small wing kit with written features

How Does Med TENS Work?

A Med TENS works by using electrical impulses to stimulate the sensory nerves. It has adjustable settings that enable users to modify them depending on their comfort level and the medical condition they wish to treat. Some also offer preset modes, which enhance the convenience of TENS by reducing the need for experimentation.

Different settings can bring about various effects. High-frequency electrical pulses (50-120 Hz) are ideal for immediate pain control from sudden and severe discomfort. It triggers spinal nerve cells to block the transmission of pain signals to the brain. It also has a massage-like effect that can help relieve sore muscles and increase blood flow to the target area. This aids in healing, improving recovery speed.

On the other hand, low-frequency stimulation (2-10 Hz) works well for chronic pain in adults. Although temporary, its effects can last longer since it triggers the production of endorphins. They can improve moods and promote a sense of well-being. Furthermore, they can help reduce inflammation, increasing the range of motion.

Understanding Frequencies and Intensities

Frequency or pulse rate refers to the number of pulses of electrical current per second. The typical frequencies in TENS therapy range from 1 to 150 Hz. Lower frequencies, such as 1-5 Hz, are suitable for chronic pain. Meanwhile, higher frequencies, such as 80-150 Hz, are for acute pain.

Intensity or pulse amplitude is the strength or power of the electrical currents, measured in milliamps (mA). It influences how deeply the electrical signals penetrate the body. Generally, TENS therapy starts with a low intensity and gradually increases to a comfortable level. Finding the right intensity is essential for maximising the benefits of the therapy.

An elderly woman reading a book while wearing iTENS on her arm

Benefits of Med TENS

Med TENS offers numerous benefits for improving the quality of life for individuals experiencing pain. Firstly, it is non-invasive, meaning it does not require any incisions or invasive procedures. This makes it a safe and comfortable option for pain management.

Secondly, it provides drug-free pain relief. This is a significant benefit for individuals who prefer to avoid the potential side effects and risks associated with pain medications. Instead of relying on drugs, it uses electrical stimulation to block pain signals in the body, providing analgesic effects. Thirdly, it is portable, allowing individuals to receive pain relief on the go.

Fourthly, it offers customisable settings for frequency and intensity, as well as different sets of electrode placement. Lastly, a TENS device serves as an adjunctive treatment. It can be used in conjunction with other pain management strategies for even greater effectiveness. People can purchase this device through online stores. Another option is via in-store such as local pharmacies and medical supply stores.

Is It Safe?

TENS is generally a safe method of pain relief when used properly. For instance, consult a medical professional to determine if TENS is a suitable treatment for a particular condition. Secondly, ensure the skin is clean and dry before putting the electrodes to prevent skin irritation. Do not place the TENS pads on open wounds or broken skin.

Thirdly, it is crucial to avoid sensitive areas like the head, eyes, throat, spine, and near varicose veins. The electrical stimulation in these locations may worsen the condition or cause complications. Moreover, it is recommended to start with the lowest settings and gradually increase it.


In conclusion, med TENS is a handy device for managing pain effectively. By sending electrical impulses to nerves, it offers relief from various pain conditions. Users can adjust settings for personalised comfort and choose between standard or wireless options. High-frequency pulses swiftly alleviate acute pain, while low-frequency ones offer lasting relief for chronic conditions. While it does not cure pain, it provides valuable symptomatic relief, helping individuals lead more comfortable lives.

Furthermore, medical TENS offers valuable benefits for managing pain. It is non-invasive, drug-free, and portable. However, safety is paramount. Users should consult a medical professional, keep their skin clean, and avoid sensitive areas. Starting at low settings and gradually increasing is advisable. Overall, with proper use, medical TENS can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals dealing with pain. Individuals interested in wireless TENS devices may check iTENS Australia.

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