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12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

TENS Machine TENS: What are the Treatable Conditions?

A small and large wing iTENS and refill gel pads

A Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS machine TENS is a device with electrodes that delivers electrical currents to the body. Accordingly, this method of pain relief functions in various mechanisms. It blocks pain signals, triggers the release of endorphins, and improves blood flow. As a result, TENS therapy can treat many conditions. It can manage acute pain and chronic pain. TENS can also help address musculoskeletal pain, nerve pain, and muscular pain.

The feeling of pain is a complex and challenging experience. Fortunately, there are various forms of pain relief to improve the quality of life. Standard pain management techniques may include painkilling medications and surgeries. However, they may come with unfavourable effects. Conversely, TENS therapy has been gaining popularity in the medical field as a safe and effective pain relief solution. This article will present how TENS units work, their benefits, and the types of pain they relieve.

How Does a TENS Machine TENS Work?

At its core, the TENS machine TENS uses low-voltage electrical currents. It streams the electrical impulses via adhesive electrode pads placed on the skin. Accordingly, this electrical stimulation works in various ways. Foremost, the Endorphin Release Theory. The electrical pulses can stimulate the production of endorphins. These are the chemicals produced by the body that act as natural pain relievers.

Secondly, the Gate Control Theory of Pain. The TENS device ingeniously taps into the nervous system. It sends electric currents through the skin to stimulate nerve fibres. These pulses intercept and block the pain messages travelling to the brain. It essentially closes the “gate” to prevent the pain signals from passing through. Nevertheless, this action confuses or distracts the brain from perceiving discomfort.

Furthermore, TENS therapy helps in enhancing blood circulation. The electrical stimulation causes the blood vessels to expand, allowing more blood to flow. Subsequently, this increased flow brings oxygen and nutrients to the tissues while removing waste products. Such activity accelerates the healing process. It further contributes to the reduction of discomfort.

Frequencies and Intensities

TENS employs different frequencies and intensities.

  • Frequencies: Refers to the number of electrical pulses sent per second, measured in Hertz (Hz). Typically, there are two frequency settings: low and high. Low-frequency stimulation is between 1 to 10 Hz. It triggers the body to release endorphins. Meanwhile, high-frequency stimulation ranges from 50 to 120 Hz. It is more effective in blocking pain signals.
  • Intensities: Describes how strong the electrical pulses are, measured in Milliampere (mA). It is adjustable, allowing the user to find a comfortable yet effective level. The proper intensity should feel like a tingling or buzzing sensation without causing discomfort.

A person using a wearable and discreet TENS electrode on their thigh

Benefits of Using a TENS Machine TENS

A TENS machine TENS offers a multitude of benefits. Firstly, TENS therapy provides a non-invasive option for pain management. It eliminates the need for surgical interventions or invasive procedures. Hence, it is a safe choice. Secondly, TENS introduces a medication or drug-free pain relief. It is particularly appealing to individuals who prefer not to use drugs due to potential side effects or dependency issues.

Thirdly, TENS is a customisable therapy. Users can tailor the pulse rate, intensity, and duration. Thus, they can find the most effective and comfortable setup. Fourthly, TENS devices are typically compact and portable. It provides users with the flexibility to receive relief wherever they go. Nevertheless, individuals can maintain their pain management routines.

Moreover, TENS therapy is adaptable to various conditions. It can be used to manage a wide range of pain types. It makes it a valuable tool in the pain management arsenal for diverse patient needs. Additionally, TENS treatment is cost-effective. The TENS device can be used repeatedly without recurring excessive expenses. It also eliminates ongoing medication costs and frequent visits to health professionals.

Potential Risks Associated with TENS Therapy

While TENS is safe, there are potential minimal risks that can occur. One common issue is skin irritation. It can occur under the electrodes. Nevertheless, individuals can mitigate this by regularly checking the skin, cleaning and drying the electrode placement site, and adhering to proper settings.

Allergic reactions represent another potential risk. Some individuals might discover they are allergic to the material of the electrode pads themselves. Using hypoallergenic pads can eliminate this effect. Additionally, the therapy can cause unintended muscle twitching. It usually happens if the electrical stimulation is too high. Hence, it is crucial to adjust the settings to a comfortable level.

A man holding his lower back with both hands due to pain

Types of Pain Relieved by a TENS Machine TENS

TENS machine TENS efficiently addresses a broad spectrum of pain types. The device is particularly adept at managing acute conditions. It is a sharp discomfort that arises suddenly and often due to menstrual cramps, labour pain, and sports injuries. Accordingly, TENS therapy can help chronic conditions. It persists over long periods and usually stems from debilitating conditions like arthritis and backaches.

Furthermore, TENS is beneficial in aiding nerve pain. Sensations such as burning or shooting pains due to damaged or dysfunctional nerves characterise it. It may include sciatica, diabetic neuropathy, and nerve entrapment syndromes. Moreover, TENS is valuable in treating musculoskeletal pain. It is a condition that affects the bones, ligaments, or tendons. It may include tendonitis, bursitis, or joint pain.

Also, TENS therapy can alleviate muscular pain. It includes muscle spasms, strains, or cramps. The stimulation helps relax the muscles, reducing tension and discomfort. It is beneficial for athletes or individuals experiencing muscle fatigue. Overall, the versatility of TENS makes it an invaluable tool. It empowers individuals to manage their discomfort across various conditions actively.

Signs to See a Doctor

If an individual experiences increased discomfort following the use of TENS, it is a clear signal to see a medical professional. It could indicate improper use of the device or a misdiagnosis of the source of pain. Accordingly, consulting a healthcare professional is advisable if there is no noticeable improvement after consistent use of TENS therapy. It could suggest the need for different or complementary treatment approaches.

Additionally, any unusual reactions to TENS, such as burns, require immediate medical attention. Furthermore, individuals who are pregnant, have a heart condition, use a pacemaker or have epilepsy should consult their doctor before starting TENS therapy.


Overall, TENS machines TENS are a popular and effective form of pain relief. It is a battery-powered machine that emits electrical pulses. The device sends the currents to the body via electrodes placed on the skin. Accordingly, this electrical stimulation functions in many ways. It works based on the Pain Gate and Endorphin Release Theory. Also, TENS helps enhance blood circulation. Additionally, TENS therapy employs different frequencies (low and high) and intensities (adjustable to comfort level).

TENS treatment offers a multitude of benefits. It is non-invasive, medication-free, customisable, compact, portable, adaptable to various conditions, and cost-effective. Furthermore, TENS therapy can address multiple types of pain. It may include menstrual cramps, arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, tendonitis, and muscle spasms. However, while TENS is safe, knowing the potential side effects is crucial. Moreover, it is essential to recognise the signs when to see a doctor.

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