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

TENS for Nerve Pain: Can It Help Improve the Quality of Life?

A man touching his left hand due to pain

Nerve or neuropathic pain results from damage or dysfunction in the nervous system. Chronic pain conditions like diabetes or regional pain syndrome can be the cause. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS for nerve pain can manage this type of pain in adults. It can help improve the quality of life by delivering electrical impulses through electrode pads. The electrical pulses can block pain messages from reaching the brain. Also, it can boost endorphin release for further pain control.

Neuropathic conditions are types of pain that can be challenging. They can cause sharp, shooting, burning, or tingling sensations that may be constant or intermittent. These symptoms can make it challenging to perform daily activities. Moreover, they can lead to insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Treatments like medications can result in the development of tolerance, making them less effective over time. Hence, alternatives like TENS are beneficial. The article will present what TENS is, how it works, and its benefits.

What is TENS for Nerve Pain?

TENS is a popular non-invasive therapy for managing acute and chronic pain conditions. Also, people can utilise TENS for nerve pain. Treatment sessions involve using a portable unit. It emits low-voltage electrical pulses to stimulate the nerves. Consequently, those with sciatica, diabetic neuropathy, and other neuropathic conditions can find relief from their symptoms.

Typically, nerve pain in adults is treatable with pain medicines. Drug intervention is beneficial, but it may come with adverse events. Thus, they can use TENS as an adjunct therapy to manage their discomfort effectively. They can buy an electrical nerve stimulation device from online or physical stores nationwide. Also, they can choose from wired or wireless units. Nevertheless, these machines are generally user-friendly. Hence, they can operate one at home.

TENS treatment for pain is safe. However, individuals should be careful to avoid complications, such as skin irritation and burns from prolonged use or misuse of the machine. It is advisable to consult a healthcare professional before administering TENS therapy to ensure proper usage. Moreover, practitioners can determine if it is suitable for specific conditions.

Causes of Nerve Pain

  • Injury – Neuropathic pain can occur due to physical trauma or injury, such as a car accident or fall. The nerves send abnormal signals to the brain when damaged, resulting in pain.
  • Infections – Certain viral or bacterial infections, such as shingles or Lyme disease, can cause pain. These infections can directly damage the nerves or lead to inflammation.
  • Autoimmune disorders – Conditions like multiple sclerosis or lupus can cause the immune system to attack the nerves. This immune response can result in pain.
  • Diabetes – High blood sugar levels can damage the nerves over time. Diabetic neuropathy often causes sharp or burning pain in the feet and hands.

A TENS kit with refillable gel pad pack and necessary information

How TENS for Nerve Pain Works

Pain in adults is manageable with electrical nerve stimulation. TENS sends gentle electrical currents through electrode pads users place on the skin. Then, the effects lead to the interruption of pain signals going to the brain. Subsequently, people experience temporary relief. By altering how pain messages are transmitted, TENS for nerve pain can help alleviate aches and increase comfort levels.

One way TENS works is by stimulating the production of endorphins. These are natural pain-relieving chemicals the body produces when it is under duress. The natural painkillers of the body provide an analgesic effect and reduce the sensation of pain. As a result, individuals with diabetic neuropathy or phantom limb pain can benefit significantly from using TENS for pain management.

In addition, users can adjust the pulse rate, intensity, and duration to customise their pain relief experience. Also, they can operate it for not more than multiple hours per day to stimulate the nerves. Consequently, the electrical pulses from TENS can block pain receptors. Ultimately, TENS helps relieve a variety of nerve-related pain conditions.

Mechanisms of Action

The mechanisms of action underlying electrical nerve stimulation involve two primary principles. First, the Gate Control Theory of Pain states that nerve impulses transmitting pain signals travel through a series of “gates” in the spinal cord. Through TENS, the currents stimulate the larger, faster-moving nerves. Subsequently, these close the gates, lessening pain perceptions.

Second, TENS triggers the release of endogenous opioids, such as endorphins, in the body. They bind to specific receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Then, they inhibit the transmission of pain messages. This mechanism contributes to the analgesic effects of TENS and explains why it is safe and effective.

A woman pressing the button of the TENS machine on her hand

Benefits of Using TENS for Nerve Pain

Using TENS for nerve pain offers many benefits. One of these is that electrical nerve stimulation provides natural pain relief. It does not require drug intervention or intrusive procedures to alleviate different types of pain, including neuropathic conditions. The medication-free and non-invasive nature of TENS adjunct therapy makes it a popular choice for people seeking alternative pain management options.

Moreover, TENS treatment sessions are hassle-free. Individuals can operate the device at home. This is especially true for those with wireless electrical stimulation machines. The reason is that they can use the unit manually or through a mobile app, allowing for easy and convenient pain relief whenever needed. Also, TENS can personalise the treatment for pain conditions to individual needs.

Furthermore, TENS offers versatility. Aside from diabetic neuropathy and other neuropathic conditions, TENS can also manage different types of pain in people. These include muscle pain, backaches, joint pain, sports injuries, and post-operative pain. Hence, this makes TENS a versatile option for individuals dealing with multiple types of pain at once.

Types of Nerve Pain that Can be Treated with TENS

TENS can treat various nerve pain conditions, including peripheral neuropathy and phantom limb pain. Diabetes or chemotherapy often causes peripheral neuropathy. TENS therapy can help reduce the tingling, numbness, and burning sensations associated with peripheral neuropathy by stimulating the nerves and blocking pain signals.

Phantom limb pain, on the other hand, is a type of nerve pain that occurs in individuals who have undergone an amputation. This type of pain can be challenging to treat, as it originates from the perception of the brain that a limb is no longer there. Nevertheless, TENS can help manage the condition.


TENS for nerve pain is a pain management method with a drug-free and non-invasive nature. People can use a portable device to deliver mild electrical currents to the affected area. Then, TENS stimulates the nerves and interferes with pain signals. Additionally, it can boost the release of endorphins. Users can activate these mechanisms by adjusting the pulse rate and intensity of the electrical nerve stimulation machine. Despite its general safety, they should be cautious by following guidelines.

TENS offers different benefits to individuals. One of these is its natural approach to pain relief. It does not require painkillers, which can have unwanted side effects or interactions with other drugs. Moreover, TENS is easy to operate. Furthermore, TENS can help treat more conditions aside from nerve pain. Some examples are migraines, arthritis, and muscle soreness. All in all, electrical nerve stimulation therapy is a versatile and efficient option for managing discomfort.

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