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

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How Many Times Can You Use TENS Electrodes?

TENS electrodes in large and long strip wings

The TENS electrode pad is an essential part of a TENS machine. It delivers mild electrical currents through the skin to reach the sensory nerves for pain relief. Depending on the quality of the TENS pads, it is reusable up to 20 times or more. Therefore, using a TENS machine is practical, especially for long-term pain management. In addition, there are several factors to consider to make the electrodes last for a long time.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a form of therapy utilising electrical impulses to reduce pain symptoms. It is used in various clinical situations, including chronic pain management and injury rehabilitation. Nowadays, individuals can facilitate TENS therapy at home and anytime through a portable TENS unit. It also enables continuous treatment through low-cost pads. This article will talk about the functions of TENS electrodes, pad types, and care guides. Regular maintenance ensures longevity.

What Are TENS Electrodes?

The TENS electrodes are adhesive patches that transmit electrical currents through the skin. The modulated currents stimulate the nerves to prohibit pain signals from going to the brain by closing the channels in the spinal cord. Additionally, it prompts the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. As a result, the person may feel lesser pain. For effective relief, the pads must be positioned near the pain area while sticking firmly to the skin.
TENS pads are single-person use but highly reusable. One set is applicable up to 30 times before needing replacement. Moreover, it comes in various shapes and sizes, depending on the type of TENS unit, like wired or wireless. Traditional devices have lead cables connecting the electrodes. On the other hand, wireless units, like the iTENS, have Bluetooth-capable electrodes. Some devices may have universal fittings for common replacements, while others require brand-specific pads.
The TENS electrodes vary in connectors, which may be a pigtail or snap-on. Furthermore, standard electrodes come in square, rectangular, and circular shapes. Users may also get different sizes, depending on the treatment area. Some devices have specialised pads for uneven body areas like joints. An example of this is the wireless iTENS from iTENS Australia. It has flexible wing-shaped pads that fit well in most body parts without the risk of coming off due to movement.

Types of Electrode Pads

The serviceability of TENS pads may depend on the materials used. The following are standard types of electrodes:

  • Metal –  offers good conductivity
  • Silicone – ideal for frequent use due to its durability
  • Gel – adheres well to the skin
  • Fabric – suitable for people with sensitive skin or who sweat profusely

Wireless TENS electrode reusable gel pad

Importance of a Good TENS Electrodes

It is vital to get a reliable and durable TENS device to manage pain efficiently and safely. Thus, an important aspect to consider is the quality of the TENS electrode. Effective pain relief starts with good TENS pad adhesion. The pads must stick firmly to the skin to allow safe and sufficient transmission of electrical currents. It is also crucial that they do not come off during the stimulation, as loose pads are likely to cause shocks.

Most TENS devices are interchangeable to switch from small to large pads easily. Small electrodes are ideal for pain areas like the hands, feet, and other joints. It allows adequate stimulation to the affected nerves without damaging nearby tissues and nerves. Meanwhile, large electrodes are suitable for wide treatment areas like the back and shoulder. It gives broad coverage, especially for pain that spreads outwards. Additionally, iTENS has long strip wings for pain that radiate downwards, like sciatica.

Having several options for TENS electrodes enables optimal pain management. In particular, iTENS utilises hypoallergenic gel pads. The pads are gentle on the skin, minimising the probability of developing harsh skin reactions. Furthermore, iTENS Australia offers low-cost refill gel pads. One pack contains three sets of reusable pads that may reach up to 60 uses in total. Therefore, a person may only need one device and get spare wings for different treatments.

TENS Usage Guidelines

  • Clean the skin dry before attaching TENS pads.
  • Treatment time lasts for 30-60 minutes. Do not leave the pads for too long to prevent burns.
  • The device should be off before placing and removing them.
  • Start with the lowest setting and gradually increase.
  • Gently pull the tip of the pad to remove them.

Refill TENS electrode pads good for 15 to 20 uses

TENS Electrode Care Guide

All TENS electrodes are reusable for up to certain applications before needing replacement. The number of uses may depend on the quality of the pads and the frequency of the treatment. In particular, self-adhesive gel pads are efficient because they do not need a conductive gel to stick them to the body. However, it requires care to prolong its life. After 20 sessions, the bond begins to diminish. You may add a few drops of water to rehydrate the gel.

Continuous use may also build up gel residue over time. To maintain its stickiness, regularly clean the pads by wiping them with a moist cloth. Also, avoid touching the adhesive surface of the pads directly with the fingertips. Excess moisture may also affect the pad’s ability to attach properly. Therefore, it is advisable to store them at room temperature. After use, cover the pads with a protective film that comes with the device or with thin plastic or wax paper.

Eventually, the pad’s adhesion will dry out. When it no longer firmly sticks despite moistening the gel, it is time to get a refill. Moreover, the efficiency of the TENS electrodes or wings will diminish due to wear and tear. Getting a replacement wing is best as soon as the stimulation begins to weaken. For standard devices, also check for any broken wires. Some may prefer a wireless TENS device to eliminate constant wire replacement.

Safety Precautions

Using TENS machines have the following precautionary measures:

  • Do not submerge the device in fluids
  • Avoid using TENS while showering, sleeping, or driving
  • Do not share the same electrodes with others
  • Do not place the pads on open wounds or broken skin
  • Consult a doctor if you have heart conditions, epilepsy, or metal implants

Conclusion

Many people use a TENS machine because it is a cost-efficient way to manage pain. Taking care of the device is vital in prolonging the life of the pads. Applications of the TENS electrode will vary based on the type of pad and handling. For self-adhesive gel pads, you may use them up to 20 times before needing replacement. iTENS Australia offers low-cost refills for the wireless iTENS in three sizes (small, large, and long strip wings).

The reusable electrode pads make TENS therapy a convenient and cost-efficient method for pain management. For people who need extensive treatments, a TENS machine is a worthwhile investment, as it minimises the need for oral medications, regular check-ups, or surgical procedures. It also helps manage pain without adverse risks or side effects. You may use a TENS machine as often as needed. For complete wireless TENS tools, you may visit iTENS Australia online.

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Note: iTENS wings should always be used with a gel pad.