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TENS Digital Pain Relief Unit: How To Use, How It Works, and Where To Buy

A large wing electrode and two packs of refill gel pads

A Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) device uses low-voltage electrical currents to alleviate pain. Individuals apply electrode pads near or on the pain area and adjust between high and low-frequency stimulation using their controller. The use of high-frequency stimulation blocks pain messages from travelling to the brain. Meanwhile, low–frequency stimulation triggers the production of endorphins. Wired and wireless TENS digital pain relief units are available in online stores and pharmacies.

However, consulting a medical professional is vital to ensure safety. Some health conditions react negatively to electrical stimulations, like epilepsy or seizures. Moreover, improper application and overuse of the machine may lead to skin irritation and overstimulation. Additionally, a person must buy a reliable device that suits their lifestyle and health conditions. This article will present how to use a TENS machine, how it works, and where to buy one.

How to Use a TENS Digital Pain Relief Unit

A TENS digital pain relief unit uses externally applied electrodes to deliver electric currents for electrical nerve stimulation. To start, the user must clean and dry their skin to remove body oil. Next, place the adhesive electrodes near or on the pain area. People may refer to the guidelines provided by the product manufacturer or the advice of doctors and physical therapists. Additionally, they must avoid sensitive areas like the spinal cord and the top of the head.

Then, they may turn the machine on. During the start, it is best to use the lowest settings to avoid shock or discomfort. Afterwards, users may gradually increase the intensity and frequency of the device. Additionally, they may select preset treatment modes. These are tailored to specific body parts and conditions. Typically, sessions last between 20 to 60 minutes. This may depend on the condition, and people should avoid exceeding those durations.

After the treatment timer signals completion, the user should switch off the device. Then, they may carefully remove the adhesive electrodes. Lastly, they should clean the adhesives and store them for future use.

Benefits of Using TENS

There are many benefits to using TENS. Here are some of them:

  • TENS therapy may reduce or replace the intake of pain medication. It is an ideal alternative for those with allergies and those who wish to avoid the adverse effects of pain medication.
  • TENS trigger endorphin production, which reduces inflammation and movement pain of the individual.
  • Electrical stimulation from TENS also has a massage-like effect that relaxes the muscles and increases blood circulation in the area.
  • TENS may reduce the pain intensity of some conditions over time.
  • TENS therapy is not addictive and may be used up to four times daily for chronic pain.

A woman with a large wing electrode on her lower back

How a TENS Digital Pain Relief Unit Works

A TENS digital pain relief unit typically uses a controller to adjust the frequency and intensity settings of the electrical stimulation. By using these adjustments, people can relieve pain from various medical conditions. It is vital to place electrode pads in the correct areas and apply sufficient stimulation to alleviate pain.

High-frequency stimulation (50-120 Hz) is ideal for handling acute pain. This setting triggers spinal nerve cells to block pain signals from reaching the brain. This is the mechanism suggested in the Gate Control Theory of Pain. This setting takes effect within 30 minutes of the session. Moreover, it lasts a few minutes after. However, frequent use may result in the person building tolerance from the stimulation.

Meanwhile, low-frequency stimulation is often used for chronic pain. It triggers the production of endogenous opioids or painkilling hormones. Endorphins slowly build up to relieve the pain in the area. This process may take about 40 minutes. However, the reduction of pain lasts hours after the session.

Conditions that Can be Treated

TENS are effective for various chronic and acute conditions. First, diabetic neuropathy affects persons with diabetes and causes pain and numbness in the legs, hands, and feet. Second, fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain, tenderness, and fatigue.

Moreover, postoperative pain is typical after surgery and is felt throughout the body. Additionally, period pain is generally felt at the start of the menstrual cycle. It causes pain in the lower back, stomach, and legs. Furthermore, migraines are pulsating or throbbing headaches that last for days. Lastly, TENS are effective for knee, neck, and joint pain.

A long wing electrode and refill gel pads

Where to Buy a TENS Digital Pain Relief Unit

People may buy TENS digital pain relief units from online and physical stores. These devices are available for purchase without a medical prescription. Thus, it is easy to buy them from the local pharmacies. This allows individuals to consult staff regarding the unit. Moreover, it may allow them to test the device and use the device immediately after. This also allows them to avoid the cost of shipping to their address.

Moreover, many online platforms offer TENS machines for home. People may also search for websites that offer TENS units. Buying TENS units online provides the buyer with a vast selection of devices. This is an advantage against physical stores, which have limited product availability in comparison. Furthermore, it allows them to view previous customer reviews regarding the product. In addition, some online stores and platforms offer discounts.

Lastly, a medical professional may recommend a product to their patient available in their pain clinics. Ultimately, it is crucial to remember some factors before buying a TENS device. These allow users to get a suitable unit for their needs.

Factors to Search for When Considering Buying a Device

Firstly, people must consider the reliability of the device. It is best to get an FDA-cleared device to ensure the product has undergone rigorous testing. Secondly, they should check the frequency and intensity range of the device. They may view this from the product specification to ensure the device is suited to their needs.

Moreover, the person should determine if they prefer a wired or wireless TENS device. This may depend on the convenience and ease of use the individual seeks. Lastly, they should factor in the battery type of the machine. Some may prefer using rechargeable batteries.


A TENS digital pain relief unit is a helpful device that provides temporary pain alleviation. It uses electrodes to deliver electrical stimulation to induce the natural body processes to relieve pain. Moreover, it is a drug-free pain management method that helps improve blood circulation, reduces inflammation and improves moods. This is done by adjusting the frequency and intensity settings for optimal pain relief. Moreover, these devices are available in pharmacies and online stores.

TENS therapy is effective for many acute and chronic pain conditions. This is why many doctors and physical therapists use it as an alternative to pain medicines. It is helpful for those with allergies and those who wish to avoid the adverse effects of pain medication. However, it is essential to get a reliable device. An option is the iTENS from iTENS Australia. It is a wireless TENS device that uses Bluetooth to control the electrodes using a smartphone app.

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