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

TENS Machine Shoulder: The Need To Know

A man touching his shoulder due to pain

Shoulder pain is a common problem that affects many individuals. It can make it difficult for people to do everyday activities like carrying groceries or lifting weights at the gym. Fortunately, there are several treatments available, including Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). It is a non-invasive method that uses electrical pulses to block pain signals from reaching the brain. Using a TENS machine for shoulders is relatively safe and easy, as it does not involve drugs.

Traditional solutions for pain often involve painkillers, physical therapy, or surgery. However, some can have unpleasant side effects or be too costly. Thus, an alternative option like TENS is necessary. People can rely on it for short-term relief. The following sections will delve into the identification of pain, the operation of the device, and its safety precautions. This ensures that they have all the necessary information before trying to use it.

TENS Machine for Shoulder: Identifying the Pain

A TENS machine for shoulders has been proven effective in relieving pain by flooding the nervous system with mild electrical pulses. It can target the shoulder joint and surrounding soft tissues to provide relief and improve the range of motion. Common shoulder conditions such as adhesive capsulitis or frozen shoulder, rotator cuff injuries, and chronic shoulder pain can benefit from the therapy.

One way to identify shoulder pain is by gauging where the pain site is. If it is near the joint, it means that the pain is due to a tendon or muscle strain. On the other hand, neck pain may indicate that it is caused by a pinched nerve. Moreover, pain in the muscles and tendons around the joint may be due to an underlying problem such as arthritis or bursitis.

TENS helps alleviate discomfort and allows for better movement of the shoulder joint. It also helps relax the muscles by providing a gentle massage-like sensation. Individuals with shoulder pain can apply the pads strategically on the shoulder blades, shoulder muscles, and upper arm bones.

Common Causes of Pain in the Shoulder

Here are some of the most common causes of shoulder pain:

  • Poor posture – Incorrect alignment and positioning of the shoulders can lead to muscle imbalances and strain, resulting in pain.
  • Shoulder impingement – This is compression of the soft tissues in the shoulder. Repetitive overhead activities typically cause this.
  • Shoulder instability – Dislocation or subluxation of the shoulder joint causes pain and a sense of looseness or instability.
  • Neck pain – Issues with the cervical spine, such as herniated discs or nerve impingement, can cause referred pain in the shoulder.
  • Osteoarthritis – A degenerative condition that affects the cartilage in the shoulder joint, resulting in stiffness and decreased mobility.

A TENS kit with refillable gel pad pack and necessary information

TENS Machine for Shoulder: Operating the Device

People find a TENS machine for shoulders to be a valuable tool. It provides them relief and improves the quality of their lives. Operating it is relatively simple. First, place the electrode pads in the appropriate areas. Focus on the muscle knots and trigger points. It is essential to follow the instructions that come with the machine regarding pad placement.

Once the electrodes are attached to the skin, turn on the device. Then, modify the settings according to individual comfort level and the severity of pain. It is important to start with lower settings and gradually increase them if necessary. During a session, individuals may feel a mild tingling or pulsing sensation as the machine sends current to the shoulder muscles and surrounding soft tissues. This should not be painful but rather a gentle and soothing feeling.

It is important to remember that TENS is not a cure for shoulder pain but can be an effective complementary treatment option alongside other cures prescribed by doctors. Regular and consistent use as part of a comprehensive pain management plan can help reduce pain levels, improve range of motion, and promote healing.

Proper Pad Placement

Proper pad placement is crucial to the success of TENS. If the pain is on the shoulder joint, the electrodes should be around that area. If the pain is more widespread or encompasses the shoulder blades or upper arm bones, they should be placed accordingly to cover those regions.

portable TENS can have different shapes and sizes. People can choose one that fits their needs based on the size of the shoulder area they want to treat. Larger pads are for a wider area, while smaller pads are for more localised pain. Correct placement and good skin contact are important for effective pain reduction.

A man touching his painful shoulder

TENS Machine for Shoulder: Safety Precautions

It is generally safe for people to use a TENS machine for shoulders. However, it is important to follow certain safety precautions. One of which is to avoid placing the pads directly on any open wounds, irritated or broken skin, or over bony prominences. This prevents any discomfort or potential skin irritation and reduces the risk of infection.

Another factor is not to use the device with water. Otherwise, it can be extremely dangerous and presents a risk of electric shock. It is essential to ensure the device is completely dry before use since even the smallest amount of moisture can cause an electrical connection. Additionally, it is crucial to keep it away from high-humidity environments. Moreover, cover it when not in use.

Discussing the use of a TENS unit with a doctor is vital before undergoing therapy. This is especially true for people with medical conditions. For example, TENS can raise heart rate and blood pressure, which can be risky for those with heart diseases. Epilepsy is another concern because electrical stimulation may potentially cause seizures.

When to Seek Medical Help

It is important to consult a healthcare professional if people have any associated symptoms, such as limited range of motion, weakness, or numbness in the shoulder area. These could be indicative of a more serious underlying condition that requires proper diagnosis and treatment.

If individuals are experiencing chronic shoulder pain that persists for more than a few weeks or is worsening over time, it is also advisable to seek medical help. Receiving medical attention is crucial to identify the root cause of pain. Moreover, it allows them to receive the appropriate care for effective pain management and recovery.


The shoulder is a complex joint that is vulnerable to injury and degenerative conditions due to its multiple moving parts. Anything from bursitis to rotator cuff tears can cause shoulder pain. A TENS machine for shoulders can help. It decreases pain and encourages healing of the shoulder by sending electrical currents through the skin that stimulate nerve endings. This can block pain signals and reduce inflammation while releasing endorphins for natural pain relief.

Using a TENS unit is convenient and safe. However, it is important to follow safety instructions and consult a doctor if there are any associated symptoms or chronic shoulder pain that persists for more than a few weeks. With proper pad placement, electrical stimulation, and medical attention, people can find pain relief and improve their quality of life. To acquire a unit, they should choose one that is FDA-cleared and trusted by professionals like iTENS from iTENS Australia.

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