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12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

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Professional TENS Unit: What It Is, How To Use, And What It Can Treat

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

A professional TENS unit is a device that uses low-voltage electrical currents to alleviate pain. It can also aid in muscle recovery. Thus, people with chronic pain or athletes find it beneficial. Medical practitioners originally used it for clinic patients, but it is also available for personal use. They simply need to attach the electrodes firmly to the skin. Once they feel more comfortable, they can adjust the settings. It can manage various conditions, ranging from labour pain to sciatica.

Going to therapy centres for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) treatment is one of the ways to get relief from discomfort. Healthcare providers know proper pad placement and correct adjustments to enhance the well-being of individuals significantly. However, it may not be suitable for everyone. Hence, they must consult a doctor for personalised advice. The article will explore what a professional machine is, how to use it properly, and the various conditions it can treat.

What is a Professional TENS Unit

TENS is a type of electrotherapy. Medical providers have been using a professional TENS unit in physical therapy and rehabilitation for decades. It helps patients with their pain management. The device utilises low-voltage electrical currents. They can adjust the pulse of electricity flowing to the body through self-adhesive electrodes.

A professional machine is designed with features like an asymmetrical bi-phasic square pulse. It offers an alterable peak intensity of up to 80mA, ensuring flexibility and control of pain relief. Moreover, it is typically powered by a 9V battery. It often comes with a built-in timer for accurate treatment duration. Its dual channel feature allows for simultaneous treatment on multiple body areas.

TENS units are generally portable. Thus, people can easily bring one anywhere. This makes them convenient for home use or during travel. In addition, they often come with extra electrodes for extended use. With a range of available features and options, TENS devices are a valuable tool in the control and management of pain.

How it Works for Pain Relief

  • Motor-level stimulation: Low frequencies, not greater than 10 Hz, increase endorphin production. This stimulates nerve endings, thereby inducing a feeling of relaxation. Using this is substantial for mild pain relief. It is especially beneficial for people who suffer from chronic pain. Moreover, low-frequency stimulation helps to reduce inflammation.
  • Sensory-level stimulation: High frequencies, usually in the range of 50 to 90 Hz, trigger Gate Control Theory. This overrides and blocks pain signals from reaching the brain. Hence, it helps to relieve sensations of persistent pain. Furthermore, high-frequency TENS is beneficial for reducing muscle spasms and improving circulation.

A person placing a TENS unit on the wrist of a sitting elderly woman

How to Use a Professional TENS Unit

To use a professional TENS unit, begin by selecting the desired settings on the device. It has adjustable pulse rates ranging from 2 Hz to 120 Hz and adjustable pulse amplitudes. People can customise the treatment to suit their specific needs. The unit typically operates using a battery, providing a constant current for accurate stimulation.

Ensure that the skin is clean and dry. Then, connect the TENS device to the self-adhesive electrodes and apply them to the area of pain. It is important to place the electrodes symmetrically for balanced and effective treatment. Once the electrodes are securely in place, adjust the settings to a comfortable level. Start low and slowly increase until a tingling sensation is felt.

Once the desired parameters are in place, activate the built-in timer to control the duration of the treatment. It is recommended to start with shorter sessions, around 20-30 minutes. During a personal session, people can go about their daily activities, as TENS therapy is portable and discreet. Remember to follow the instructions for optimal results and safety.

Areas to Avoid

When using TENS, people should avoid certain areas of the body. These include the eyes, mouth, throat, head, and the front of the neck. It is important to keep the electrodes away from these sensitive areas to prevent potential harm.

Additionally, it is advisable to avoid placing the electrodes directly over areas with open wounds, broken skin, or rashes. The electrical stimulation may further irritate these areas and impede the healing process. It is best to speak with a doctor for any concerns. Following guidelines will help ensure that TENS is safe and effective for pain management and relief.

A man sitting on a couch while touching aching knee and foot

What a Professional TENS Unit Can Treat

One of the key advantages of a professional TENS unit is its versatility. It can help with a variety of pain conditions. Acute pain is a type of pain that typically occurs in response to an injury or illness. It is short-term, lasting anywhere from a few seconds to several weeks. Common causes of acute pain that TENS can manage include sudden falls, sprains, muscle strains, fractures, and surgery.

On the other hand, chronic pain is long-term pain that lasts for more than three months. Conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and nerve damage can cause this. Many people find relief with a TENS unit after other treatments have not been successful.

Using TENS is a safe and effective method for managing more pains such as knee pain, neck pain, cervical pain, epicondyle pain, foot pain, and cancer pain. It provides adjustable and targeted relief. However, always seek medical advice before starting TENS therapy to ensure proper usage. This is also to determine if it is suitable for specific conditions.

Who Cannot Use the Device

TENS is a widely used pain management tool. Some individuals should refrain from using it unless approved by a doctor. Those with pacemakers or other implanted electronic devices should not use TENS. Otherwise, the electrical currents can interfere with the functioning of these devices.

Additionally, people who have epilepsy or are prone to seizures should steer clear of TENS, as it may trigger seizure activity. Moreover, pregnant women, individuals with known or suspected heart conditions, or those who have a history of heart problems should ask for professional advice first. Safety should always be the top priority when utilising any form of pain management techniques.


A professional TENS unit is a reliable and effective tool for the control and management of pain. Its versatility, portability, and beneficial features make it an ideal choice for both individuals seeking pain relief and medical practitioners treating their patients. It floods the nervous system and provides an adjustable electric current. The device then offers a non-invasive and drug-free relief. Consequently, people suffering from chronic or occasional pain can experience a better quality of life.

While TENS is generally safe, it is important to follow precautions and guidelines for maximum effectiveness. People with certain medical conditions need to exercise more caution. They must consult with their healthcare professionals before using the device. There are various kinds available in the market. The machine or the pads can be smaller than others. Also, some are wireless, while others are handheld. Those who want to acquire a personal unit can check online or visit pharmacies.

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