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

TENS Machine Arthritis Hands: A Guide on How to Operate the Unit

A person holding her hand due to arthritis pain

Hand arthritic conditions can be painful. Fortunately, there is a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS machine for arthritis in the hands. It is an electrical device that delivers electrical currents as a method of pain relief. Nevertheless, knowing how to operate the unit is crucial. Begin by preparing the skin in the hands. Then, place the electrode pads, following the proper electrode placement. Finally, turn on the device, adjust the settings, and initiate the electrical stimulation.

Arthritis pain can be debilitating, especially when it affects the hands. Hence, finding ways to manage it is crucial. Traditional methods of pain relief may include pain medicationscold therapy, and physical therapy. However, they may not always provide adequate relief. Thus, many individuals demand pain relief and look for other treatment options. One effective method is TENS therapy. This article will present the TENS unit for hand arthritic pain, how it works, and how to operate it.

What is a TENS Machine for Arthritis in the Hands?

Hand arthritic pain occurs when the joints in the hand become inflamed. This results in discomfort, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Subsequently, these arthritic diseases can be debilitating, impacting daily activities, such as gripping and bending the fingers. Individuals may experience discomfort when performing tasks that involve fine motor skills. This may include writing, typing, or cooking.

Fortunately, people can use a TENS machine for arthritis in the hands. It is a common form of electrotherapy that uses a small, battery-operated device. The unit sends electrical pulses to the body to alleviate discomfort. Furthermore, physical therapists and medical professionals commonly integrate TENS into their treatment plans for patients. Additionally, individuals with hand arthritis may use TENS at home.

TENS machines come in both wired and wireless configurations. Wired TENS units have lead wires connecting the device to adhesive electrodes. On the other hand, wireless TENS units utilise wireless technology for electrode pad connection. Nevertheless, both types can be beneficial for managing hand arthritis. This provides users with options that suit their preferences.

Symptoms of Arthritis in the Hands

  • Joint pain: Individuals may experience localised discomfort in the joints in the hands. This can range from mild to severe discomfort.
  • Swelling: Inflammatory arthritis can lead to visible swelling. This makes the hands appear large and feel tender to touch.
  • Stiffness: Hand arthritis can cause stiffness in the joints. This makes it challenging to move the fingers and grip objects.
  • Reduced range of motion: Individuals may notice a decreasing ability to move fingers and hands freely.
  • Warmth or heat: Affected joints may feel warmer than usual.
  • Weakness: Individuals may experience weakness in their hands. This affects their grip strength and dexterity.

A small and large wing iTENS and refill gel pads

How a TENS Machine for Arthritis in the Hands Works

The TENS machine for arthritis in the hands works through various analgesic effects. One of the primary mechanisms of TENS operation is triggering the release of endorphins. These are the natural chemicals of the body that act as natural painkillers. The electric currents from TENS can prompt the production of endorphins. Endorphins bind to opioid receptors. This results in a reduction in pain.

Another aspect of the functionality of TENS involves the Pain Gate Theory. According to this theory, non-painful stimuli can modulate the transmission of arthritis pain signals to the brain. This may include electric nerve stimulation. When this reaches the sensory nerve and travels to the spinal cord, it can effectively “close the gate”, blocking the transmission of pain messages. Hence, it can reduce the perception of pain intensity.

Furthermore, the electrical stimulation from TENS encourages vasodilation. This is the widening of blood vessels in the hands. Thus, it enhances blood flow to the arthritic joints. As a result, it delivers vital nutrients and oxygen. This activity can support overall arthritis pain relief, joint function, and complete rehabilitation.

Benefits of TENS Therapy

One of the primary benefits of TENS is its targeted pain relief. The electrical pulses can be precisely directly to specific areas of the hands. Moreover, TENS therapy is a non-invasive and drug-free option. It is a medical treatment that does not require surgical procedures, invasive interventions, and oral medications.

Also, TENS treatment offers customisability. Individuals can adjust the pulse rateintensity of stimulation, and pulse duration. Furthermore, using TENS is cost-effective. It eliminates the ongoing cost of medications or frequent visits to clinics. Additionally, the TENS unit for arthritis in the hands is portable. This makes it accessible to use whenever needed.

A guide on how to operate the iTENS app

How to Operate a TENS Machine for Arthritis in the Hands

Operating a TENS machine for arthritis in the hands involves several key steps. The first step necessitates the preparation of the device and accessories. Then, prepare the skin over the hands and place the adhesive pads. Adhering to the proper placement of electrodes is crucial in this step. This ensures that the electrical stimulation effectively reaches the underlying nerves and tissues.

Once the electrodes are in place, turn on the TENS machine. This activity may include adjusting the parameters. Hence, modify the pulse rate, intensity of stimulation, and duration. Additionally, some models may extend a massage function and pre-set programs. Thus, select the program for hand arthritis pain relief. Nevertheless, begin with the lowest setting and gradually increase it to a comfortable level.

With the TENS machine appropriately set up and the electrodes in position, individuals can activate the device to initiate the therapy. Throughout the therapy, closely monitor the response of the body to the treatment. The treatment duration may last 15 to 30 minutes. Once the treatment session is complete, turn off the device and carefully remove the electrodes from the skin.

Pad Placement Guide

Firstly, people should identify the areas of the hands where they experience arthritis-related pain. This may include the joint in the fingers, the base of the thumb, or other localised areas. Then, clean and dry the skin. Next, place the pads. For hand arthritis, they must place the electrodes on the skin over or around the affected areas. It is essential to position the pads in a manner that allows for optimal coverage of the painful regions.

Additionally, consider the appropriate distance between the pads. Furthermore, avoid placing the electrodes directly over bony prominences or areas with minimal tissue coverage.


In conclusion, hand arthritis is a common chronic pain conditionJoint pain, swelling, stiffness, and weakness are the common symptoms of hand arthritis. Fortunately, there is a TENS machine for arthritis in the hands. It is a wired or wireless device that delivers electrical pulses to the nerve fibres. Accordingly, TENS works by blocking the transmission of pain signals to the brain. Additionally, it triggers the release of endorphins. Also, TENS can promote increased blood circulation in the treatment area.

Furthermore, TENS therapy provides several benefits. It is non-invasive, drug-free, customisable, cost-effective, portable, and can provide targeted relief. Moreover, operating a TENS unit is easy. One needs to prepare the device. Then, prepare the skin in the hands and place the pads. Finally, turn on the device, adjust the settings, or choose a pre-set program. Nevertheless, adhering to the proper pad placement is crucial. This eliminates the potential adverse effects and gains the absolute benefit of TENS.

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