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12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

TENS Machine for Spinal Stenosis: How It Helps in Alleviating the Condition

A man holding his lower back due to pain

Living with spinal stenosis can be a constant struggle. Fortunately, there is a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS machine for spinal stenosis. It is a method of pain relief that deliver electrical currents to the body through electrode pads. Accordingly, this electrical stimulation helps by blocking the pain signals travelling to the brain. Also, the electrical signal can trigger the production of natural painkillers in the body. Additionally, the activity can lead to an increase in blood flow.

Spinal stenosis is a common condition that occurs when the spinal canal narrows. This can happen due to the growth of bone spurs or thickening of ligaments in the spinal cord segments. Subsequently, this can lead to limited walking ability and pain sensations. While there are various treatment programs available like physical therapy and pain medications, many people are turning to TENS. This article will present TENS for spinal stenosis, including how it helps and how to use it.

What is a TENS Machine for Spinal Stenosis?

Individuals experiencing spinal canal stenosis, whether chronic pain or acute injury, may benefit from a TENS machine for spinal stenosis. It is a small, battery-operated device that sends electrical pulses to spinal nerves. Before, this is commonly used by pain specialists and healthcare providers. However, due to technological advancements, people can utilise the unit at home or on the go and be part of their daily routine.

Accordingly, people may opt for either a wired or wireless TENS unit. Devices with wires require the use of lead cables to attach the electrodes to the unit. On the other hand, wireless TENS use Bluetooth technology, thus, eliminating the need for connecting wires. Nevertheless, users may control pain management manually or with the use of a smartphone application.

TENS units offer various features. Most devices have adjustable settings. This allows people to modify the therapy, particularly the pulse rate, intensity, and duration of electrical stimulation. Additionally, some devices extend a range of pre-set programs. This offers direct stimulation patterns designed to target specific types of pain and provide treatment effects.

Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis

  • Intense pain: people with the ailment often experience chronic pain or acute pain conditions in the back, neck, and legs.
  • Numbness or tingling: paresthesia can occur in the legs, feet, arms, or hands. This symptom can lead to limited walking ability or inability to perform daily activities.
  • Weakness: the condition can cause weakness in the legs or arms, making it difficult to perform tasks.
  • Bowel or bladder dysfunction: in severe cases, individuals may experience issues with bowel or bladder control due to nerve compression.
  • Radiating sensations: this travels from the back or neck into the arms and legs.

A woman using a large wing TENS on her lower back

How a TENS Machine for Spinal Stenosis Helps in Alleviating the Condition

TENS machines for spinal stenosis can help alleviate it in various ways. When a person uses a TENS device, it stimulates the nerves through an electric current. These impulses can lead to the release of endorphins, which are the natural painkillers of the body. The endorphins work by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. As a result, it helps to promote a sense of well-being.

The utilisation of TENS can also activate the pain gate mechanism in the body. This mechanism works by blocking the transmission of pain signals to the brain. Hence, when the electrical pulses from the TENS are applied to the skin, they travel along the fibres and can interfere with the pain signals. This can effectively reduce the sensation of the ailment, providing relief.

Furthermore, the electrical stimulation from TENS can help improve blood circulation. In individuals with spinal stenosis, restricted blood flow can contribute to discomfort. By enhancing blood circulation, the TENS can help deliver oxygen and nutrients to body tissues. As a result, it promotes healing and reduces inflammation.

Benefits of Electrotherapy

Electrotherapy offers a range of benefits. Firstly, TENS provides a nonsurgical treatment for managing the symptoms of the condition. This is particularly beneficial for people who may not be suitable for surgery or who prefer non-invasive solutions. Secondly, the drug-free nature of TENS eliminates the adverse effects of oral pain medications.

Additionally, the portability and ease of use of TENS make them accessible and convenient for people. This allows users to incorporate the therapy into their daily activities. Also, the customisable nature of TENS allows for personalised treatment tailored to individual needs. This includes modifiable frequency, intensity, and duration of electrical stimulation.

An instruction guide in using TENS on a smartphone app

How to Use a TENS Machine for Spinal Stenosis

Using a TENS machine for spinal stenosis is a straightforward process. Start by connecting the electrodes to the device using wires or to a smartphone via Bluetooth. Then, identify the areas of discomfort. These areas may include the lower back, hips, or legs. Once the areas for electrode placement have been identified, clean the skin thoroughly and dry it completely.

Next, remove the protective backing of the electrode pads to expose the sticky side. Carefully apply the pads to the treatment area. Nevertheless, it is important to follow the proper pad placement. Once the electrodes are in place, turn on the machine. TENS devices may allow the user to adjust the settings or choose a pre-set program for the therapy.

Pain management professionals recommend starting with the lowest settings and gradually increasing it to comfort level. During use, it is important for the individual to take note of any sensation or discomfort. Adjustments to the settings may be necessary in the process. After the treatment session, turn off the unit and carefully remove the electrodes from the skin.

When to See a Doctor?

Foremost, when the symptoms of spinal stenosis worsen despite using TENS, it is crucial to consult a doctor. Progressive symptoms may indicate the need for a comprehensive evaluation to assess the underlying causes. Moreover, if the individual experiences sudden onset bladder or bowel control issues, it is essential to seek medical attention promptly.

If the use of TENS exacerbates existing symptoms and causes excessive discomfort, the user should discontinue its use and see a doctor. Furthermore, if the symptoms interfere with daily activities or movement, it is advisable to seek medical advice, Functional impairment may indicate the need for targeted interventions.


In conclusion, a TENS machine for spinal stenosis is a beneficial treatment option for individuals. This condition involves the narrowing of the spinal canal and can cause discomfort. Fortunately, there is a TENS, which is a small, battery-powered medical device. TENS therapy works by sending electrical impulses through the skin to the sensory nerves. This can help alleviate pain in various ways, including blocking the pain signals, triggering the release of endorphins, and increasing blood flow.

Individuals can use TENS in simple ways. The user needs to identify the treatment area, place the electrodes, adjust the settings, and activate the stimulation. TENS also offers benefits like non-invasive, drug-free, portable, and customisable. Nevertheless, it is crucial to know the symptoms of the condition. This may include intense pain, numbness, weakness, and bowel dysfunction. Also, it is important to know when to seek medical help. People can buy TENS in numerous stores, including iTENS Australia.

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