Australian Registered Medical Device

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12-month warranty

Professionally endorsed

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

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TENS Medical Device Overview

A TENS unit showing its features

TENS medical devices relieve pain by sending electric impulses through the skin to stimulate nerves and block pain signals. People can utilise Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) to treat various pain conditions, including acute pain and chronic pain. They find them popular because they are portable, easy to use, and can complement other treatment methods. Moreover, individuals can use TENS devices alongside other treatment methods.

Body pain is a common ailment that can affect individuals of all ages and backgrounds. It refers to any discomfort or soreness experienced in different parts of the body. Body pain can be caused by various factors, including physical exertion, injury, inflammation, or underlying medical conditions. Fortunately, people can use TENS machines to reduce pain and discomfort in those areas. This article will present the uses of TENS devices for pain relief, including their benefits and safety guidelines.

Functions Of A TENS Medical Device

TENS medical devices function by utilising electrical currents to provide relief from pain. According to the Pain Gate Control Theory, electrical impulses can block the transmission of pain signals to the brain. This theory suggests that the electrical stimulation overwhelms the nerves and prevents the brain from perceiving the pain sensation.

Additionally, TENS devices stimulate the release of endorphins, which are hormones produced by the body when it feels pain. The electrical pulses stimulate the sensory nerves, causing the release of endorphins. Endorphins bind to the opioid receptors in the brain. Hence, they reduce the intensity of pain felt by the individual. This mechanism offers a natural and non-pharmacological intervention for pain relief.

Moreover, TENS machines have been found to stimulate the production of serotonin. This neurotransmitter plays a crucial role in regulating mood, sleep, and pain perception. Furthermore, increased serotonin levels can help in reducing the pain experienced by individuals suffering from various types of pain. Some include musculoskeletal pain, joint painperiod pain, postoperative pain, and neuropathic pain.

TENS Stimulation Modes

  • Burst mode: delivers bursts of rapid pulses followed by periods of no stimulation.
  • Modulation mode: automatically varies the stimulation intensity and frequency to prevent adaptation.
  • Pulse width modulation mode: adjusts the pulse width to target different types of nerve fibres.
  • Frequency modulation mode: varies the stimulation frequency to prevent nerve habituation.
  • Preset mode: simplifies the process, as people can simply choose the appropriate mode and let the device do the work
  • Brief intense mode: delivers high-intensity pulses for short periods to induce endorphin release.
  • Strength-duration mode: combines short, high-intensity pulses with longer, low-intensity pulses to stimulate different nerve fibres.


Smartphones displaying the workflow on how to operate an app.

Benefits Of Using TENS Medical Device

TENS medical devices offer several benefits that make them a preferred method of pain relief for many individuals. Firstly, TENS devices are cost-effective in the long term compared to repeated medication. Instead of relying on analgesic medications that need to be purchased frequently, TENS offers a one-time investment. This can significantly reduce healthcare expenses.

Secondly, TENS is a non-invasive treatment approach. Unlike invasive procedures or surgeries, TENS does not require incisions or medication ingestion. Hence, this minimises the risks associated with those options. Moreover, TENS utilises electrical currents to disrupt pain signals, offering a non-pharmacological alternative to the relief of pain.

Thirdly, TENS allows for personalised treatment. The electrode placement and adjustment of settings can be tailored to target specific areas of pain. Thus, this ensures an individualised approach based on the unique needs of each patient. Furthermore, the personalised treatment approach improves the effectiveness of pain relief and enhances patient satisfaction. Overall, these benefits make TENS an effective and convenient treatment option for individuals suffering from pain.

Pain Conditions It Can Treat

TENS devices have demonstrated their effectiveness in providing pain relief for a range of pain conditions. In acute pain situations, like postoperative or labour pain, TENS machines decrease the transmission of pain messages to the brain. For instance, TENS can alleviate neck pain resulting from muscle strain after an injury.

Besides addressing acute pain, TENS holds benefits for managing chronic pain conditions as well. Conditions like musculoskeletal pain, neuropathic pain, and cancer pain frequently present treatment challenges. Fortunately, TENS can play a role in these situations by reducing pain intensity and enhancing overall quality of life.


A person peeling off the plastic from a TENS pad.

Safety Guidelines For Using TENS Medical Device

People should follow safety guidelines to ensure the proper and safe use of TENS medical devices. Firstly, they need to consult a health professional before using TENS devices. This professional can provide medical advice on electrode placement, the appropriate intensity and frequency, and the duration of each session. Additionally, they can recommend the best type of TENS units tailored to individuals’ needs.

Secondly, proper storage and maintenance of TENS devices are essential. These electronic devices should be kept away from moisture and extreme temperatures. Moreover, users should regularly check the condition of the electrical devices and their electrode patches. If there are any signs of damage or wear, replace them promptly to avoid complications.

Thirdly, individuals should start with comfortable intensity levels and gradually increase if needed. It is important to note that higher intensity does not necessarily equate to better pain relief. Inadequate intensities may not provide effective analgesia, while too high intensities can lead to discomfort or the development of tolerance.

Proper Pad Placement and Areas To Avoid

Achieving effective pain relief with a TENS device hinges on proper pad placement. Begin by placing the pads on both sides of the painful area. This even distribution guarantees the uniform delivery of electrical currents, precisely targeting the intended nerves.

However, there are specific areas where pad placement should be avoided. Firstly, individuals should steer clear of positioning the pads over the front or sides of the neck. The neck houses vital structures and is sensitive, potentially leading to adverse effects from electric current. Equally important is avoiding pad placement over the temples, mouth, or eyes.


TENS medical devices function through electrical impulses that block pain signals and promote the release of endorphins and serotonin. This natural and non-pharmacological approach offers relief from various types of pain. The benefits of TENS include cost-effectiveness, non-invasiveness, and personalised treatment. Moreover, adhering to safety guidelines is crucial. These include consultation with a healthcare professional, proper device maintenance, and gradual intensity adjustment. These combined aspects underscore TENS devices, like iTENS, as effective, safe, and patient-centric solutions for pain management.

Furthermore, TENS devices offer versatile pain relief, proving effective for both acute and chronic pain conditions. They address acute pain situations like postoperative or labour pain. Additionally, TENS shows potential in managing chronic conditions such as musculoskeletal pain, neuropathic pain, and cancer pain. However, users have to follow the proper pad placement to maximise TENS benefits. Avoiding sensitive areas like the neck, temples, mouth, and eyes also ensures the safe and effective application of TENS devices.

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