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AU Registered Medical Device
12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

Pulse Machine For Pain: What is It and How Does It Work?

A person wearing a wireless TENS machine while reading a book

One promising option in healthcare is the pulse machine for painPulse machines, also known as Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), are small, battery-operated devices. These electrical devices work by streaming low-level electrical current through electrode pads that are placed in the skin. It functions by stimulating the nerves and interfering with pain signals or inducing the production of endorphins. This provides a method of pain relief and improves the sense of well-being.

Dealing with chronic pain or acute pain can be a daily struggle. This can impact the quality of life and overall well-being. Traditional forms of pain relief or pain medications often come with their own set of drawbacks, such as potential side effects. However, advancements in medical technology have paved the way for alternative solutions. One of which is the pulse or TENS units. This article will present the pulse machines, including how they work and how to use them.

What is a Pulse Machine for Pain

With advancements in medical technologies, many people opt to use a pulse machine for pain as a drug-free approach. A TENS unit is a battery-powered device that utilises electrical pulses to alleviate chronic pain and acute pain conditions. These therapy devices are common in pain clinics and are typically used by healthcare professionals. Fortunately, they are now available in physical and online stores.

In the market, TENS are obtainable in a wide range of models. The most common have wires, such as lead cables, which are usually operated with disposable batteries. Meanwhile, some units have wireless and rechargeable battery capabilities. This eliminates the need for cables by using a smartphone via Bluetooth. As a result, it is becoming popular in the medical settings.

Furthermore, the electrical stimulation in the machines has a frequency range of 1-150 Hz and an intensity range of 0-80 mA. These are usually adjustable, enabling people to have a customisable level of pain relief. Also, some pulse electronic devices have preset program settings. This allows users to select pre-programmed therapy for more direct body pain relief.

Conditions that Can Be Treated

The following are the types of pain TENS therapy can treat:

  • Chronic pain – it is a condition that persists for an extended period, usually at least three months. This may include arthritis painfibromyalgia, shoulder, neck, and backaches.
  • Acute pain – these are intense and sudden in onset. It may involve conditions like period painlabour painpostoperative painabdominal pain, and sports injuries.
  • Nerve-related ailment – it is usually caused by conditions like sciatica, diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage.
  • Musculoskeletal pain – this affects the muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues in the body.
  • Muscular pain – this results from tension, overuse, or injury.

A woman using wireless TENS in her back and arms while using a smartphone

How a Pulse Machine for Pain Works

pulse machine for pain works by sending a gentle electric current to the body, which can help manage and relieve aches in several ways. One way is by activating the pain gate mechanism. According to the Gate Control Theory of Pain, the body has a gate in the spinal cord that controls the transmission of pain signals to the brain. The electrical pulses can then close the gate.

This prevents the pain messages from reaching the brain. As a result, the individual may experience a reduction in their perception of pain. Another mechanism through which the machine works is stimulating the release of endorphins. These are the natural pain relievers of the body that can help promote mood wellness and a sense of well-being.

Moreover, the electrical signal can also improve blood flow in the treatment area. This action can support the natural healing process of the body. Therefore, it can reduce inflammation and promote tissue repair. By enhancing blood circulation, TENS can contribute to alleviating aches and support the recovery process.

Benefits of Using the Device

There are many benefits of using TENS. The unit provides drug-free and nonsurgical pain treatment options. As such, it eliminates the need for invasive operations and the need for oral medications. Accordingly, TENS are customisable and adjustable. It allows people to modify the pulse rate and pulse duration to conform to specific treatment needs.

Additionally, the machines are usually portable and convenient. This enables individuals to use it whenever and wherever needed. Also, it is cost-effective. It eliminates the frequent visits to pain specialists, health professionals, or clinics. TENS also provides more tolerable side effects than adverse reactions in surgeries or medications.

A woman manually operating TENS without the use of phone

How to Use a Pulse Machine for Pain

Using a pulse machine for pain is straightforward and can be done with ease. Firstly, the user must ensure that the unit is fully charged or has fresh batteries. Secondly, clean and dry the treatment area and gently place the electrode pads. The electrodes should be firmly attached to the skin but not excessively tight to ensure comfort during the therapy.

Next, turn on the device. For wireless machines, connect the unit to the smartphone app via Bluetooth. Then, adjust the settings or choose the applicable program or preset modes. Nevertheless, medical professionals recommend starting with the lowest level and gradually increasing it to a comfortable level.

After modifying the settings, the electrical stimulation will start immediately. The machine will deliver gentle electrical impulses, which feel like tingling sensations, through the electrode pads. While using TENS, it is vital to pay attention to the reaction of the body to the treatment. Also, the advisable time for the therapy is 15 to 30 minutes.

Safety Considerations When Operating the Device

Before using TENS, it is always important to consult a medical practitioner. They can give the right recommendations about the treatment. In placing the electrodes, it is vital to avoid sensitive areas of the body. This includes the eyes, mouth, head, throat, chest, or broken skin. Also, put the electrodes with at least a one-inch gap between each other to avoid unbalanced treatment.

In addition, avoid starting with high settings. This may lead to sudden discomfort. Accordingly, do not use TENS while driving, sleeping, operating machinery, or in contact with water. The stimulation can disrupt concentration, or the water can cause shocks.


Pulse machine for pain is a popular device that provides a method of pain relief. It works by delivering electrical pulses to the underlying nerves through electrode pads. Accordingly, it functions based on the Theory of Pain Gate, the release of endorphins, and improving blood circulation. Also, the electric impulses are adjustable to low or high frequencies. Additionally, operating a TENS machine is easy. It involves placing the electrodes on the pain area and modifying the settings.

The tool can treat various conditions. This includes chronic, acute, nerve-related, and musculoskeletal pain. Furthermore, the TENS unit provides numerous benefits. It is non-invasive, drug-free, portable, versatile, and cost-effective. Nevertheless, it is crucial to recognise the safety considerations when using the unit. It is always advisable to consult a doctor, avoid placing electrodes in sensitive areas, and use low settings. Also, do not use TENS while driving, sleeping, or operating machinery.

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