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12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

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Shock Machine for Back Pain: The Need to Know

iTENS large wireless TENS machine from iTENS Australia

A shock machine for back pain is one of the most effective treatments available today. This device delivers low-voltage electrical currents to the body through electrodes placed on the skin. It is a drug-free and non-invasive method that helps relieve pain symptoms from various conditions. In addition, using this machine is safe and does not require professional supervision. Nevertheless, it is important to follow the usage guidelines for effective pain relief.

Back pain is one of the common debilitating issues that many experience. The common causes are arthritis, sciatica, fibromyalgia, and spinal cord injury. These conditions can be acute or chronic, causing many to seek pain management treatments. Additionally, many prioritise natural methods to avoid side effects and other risks. Fortunately, there are several portable devices that can help. In this article, we will explore what is a shock machine, how it works, and the operation and safety guide.

What is a Shock Machine for Back Pain?

A shock machine for back pain is an electrical device that provides temporary relief from acute and chronic pain. It uses mild electrical pulses to stimulate the nerves to reduce pain and other discomforts. This helps reduce inflammation, muscle spasms, and tenderness associated with back pain. Moreover, it is a nonsurgical pain treatment option that does not need drugs.

The device is portable, with a handheld control unit and adhesive electrode pads. The unit allows users to customise the stimulation level by adjusting the pulse rates or frequency and intensity. Likewise, the electrodes enable targeted pain relief by placing them directly or near the area of pain. This helps provide the right amount of electrical stimulation to the affected muscles or nerves.

Furthermore, shock machines come in various styles and features. The common kinds are standard (wired) and wireless units. For wireless devices, the electrode pads attach directly to the central controller. It incorporates Bluetooth technology to connect to a wireless transmitter or smartphone app. Some of their features include timers and preset modes for specific conditions.

Types of Shock Machine Devices

  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS): it stimulates the peripheral nerves by blocking pain receptors. It is ideal for mild to moderate types of acute and chronic pain conditions.
  • Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS): it works on muscle groups to induce involuntary contractions. It helps improve blood circulation, muscle functions, and flexibility.
  • Interferential Current (IFC): it utilises medium frequency signals to stimulate deeper tissues. This is valuable for reducing swelling or oedema and pain from injuries.
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS): it targets the spinal nerves to reduce chronic pain. It is usually for severe conditions such as failed back surgery syndrome, neuropathy, and regional pain syndrome.

A woman using iTENS on her arm and lower back

How Does a Shock Machine for Back Pain Work?

The shock machine for back pain works based on the principles of electrical stimulation or shock therapy. When the electrodes are placed on the skin, the device delivers electrical pulses to stimulate the nerves in the affected area. This causes the body to activate its natural mechanisms against pain. The first method is known as pain gating. It interferes with the transmission of pain signals from reaching the brain.

Another method is endogenous opioid release. It uses low electric currents to trigger the release of natural painkillers like endorphins. These hormones bind to opioid receptors, preventing them from processing pain messages. Therefore, the person may feel a significant reduction in pain.

Additionally, EMS uses high-frequency ranges to stimulate muscle contraction and relaxation. This helps increase blood flow and promote healing. The therapy is ideal for people with injuries or postoperative pain. It is best to consult a pain specialist or physical therapist to determine the right type of electrotherapy device to use for a specific condition.

Is It Safe?

Electrical stimulation is a safe practice of pain management. It has been used for decades for the treatment of chronic and acute pain without adverse risks. In addition, the portable devices deliver electrical pulses at a safe and tolerable level. Small currents mimic the body’s natural electrical charges that help relieve pain.

However, certain people may experience minor side effects like skin irritation. This often goes away after the use or removal of the electrode pads. Moreover, slight muscle twitching can be expected due to the flow of the currents. The intensity should be at a comfortable level to not cause further pain.

App usage guide for setting the electrical stimulation

How to Operate a Shock Machine for Back Pain

Operating a shock machine for back pain involves a few simple steps. Before use, it is important to read the instructions of the device or seek professional advice. Likewise, individuals should clean the treatment area and remove any lotion, oil, or dirt. Once the skin is clean and dry, place the electrodes on the back and turn on the unit.

Users then set the frequency and pulse duration according to their types of pain. It is advisable to start at the lowest intensity and gradually increase until the tingling sensations feel strong but comfortable. Furthermore, the treatment sessions for chronic back pain range from 30 to 45 minutes at low-frequency levels. However, individuals may continue the therapy after a 20-minute break.

The proper placement of the electrodes is vital for effective relief. Generally, individuals may position the pads on either side of the most painful spot. For widespread back pain, place the electrodes on both sides of the spinal column. They must be one to two inches apart and should never overlap. After the session, turn off the device before removing the electrodes.

Safety Precautions

Following safety precautions is essential to prevent any risks. Firstly, avoid placing the electrode pads on open wounds or irritated skin, as this may cause further discomfort or damage. Secondly, always set the intensity according to the level of pain relief. Extreme levels may cause overstimulation or skin burns.

Thirdly, do not use the device for more than one hour at a time. Prolonged usage may also lead to adverse skin reactions and muscle fatigue. Additionally, people with serious medical conditions must seek advice before using a shock machine for pain. It may not be suitable for those with heart problems, epilepsy, or pregnant women.


A shock machine for back pain is a small, battery-operated device with electrodes to stimulate the nerves or muscles. It offers a drug-free and non-invasive method of pain relief and relaxation. The device sends electrical impulses through the skin to alleviate various conditions, such as muscle pain, nerve pain, and joint pain. Furthermore, the portable device is easy to operate with minimal side effects. However, it is important to follow safety precautions to prevent any risks.

To operate the device, one must know the proper pad placement and stimulation adjustment. The ideal placement for back pain is on either side of the spine. Moreover, users should avoid turning the intensity too high to avoid any risks or side effects. For best use, a healthcare provider can guide patients on what type of device is appropriate and the settings guide. Overall, a shock machine helps manage pain and reduces the need for pain medications or invasive procedures.

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