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

TENS Shock Therapy: What Can It Treat?

A wireless pain relief from iTENS with accessories

In the world of pain management, many options are available. Each can help address a wide range of health concerns. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS shock therapy is one such method. It is a form of therapy that uses mild electrical impulses through electrode pads. This stimulates the nerves, reducing the perception of pain. Nevertheless, it can treat various types of pain, whether acute pain, chronic conditions, sore muscles, or nerve pain.

For people suffering from different types of pain, finding an effective treatment for pain can be a challenge. Traditional treatment options, such as medication or seeking a physical therapist, may provide relief but are not cost-effective and long-lasting. However, TENS therapy offers a unique approach by utilising low-voltage electrical currents to alleviate aches and promote healing in the body. This article will present more about what the electrical device can treat and the safety guidelines for the therapy.

Using TENS Shock Therapy for Acute Pain

When it comes to using TENS shock therapy for acute pain, there are important things to consider. The condition is temporary or short-term aches that arise from many reasons. This includes muscle stiffness, injuries, postoperative ailments, labour contractions, and period pains. It typically lasts for a limited period of time and gradually subsides as the underlying cause heals.

Electrical nerve stimulation is generally safe for managing acute conditions. It can be particularly useful when other forms of pain relief may not be suitable or desirable. Nevertheless, the TENS works by streaming electric current in the body through electrode patches. Finding the right frequency and intensity of the electrical stimulation is vital for an effective treatment for short-term conditions.

For such conditions, a higher frequency setting, typically above 50 Hertz (Hz), is advisable. This range can stimulate the motor nerves, improving well-being. As such, it can trigger the release of endorphins, the natural painkillers of the body. For the intensity, it is suggested to begin at low levels, typically below 10 Milliampere (mA). It is advisable to increase the intensity gradually to a comfort level.


  • Non-invasive and drug-free – it eliminates the adverse effects of invasive medical procedures or the intake of over-the-counter medications.
  • Easy to use – TENS are portable and user-friendly. This allows people to use the device anywhere at any time of the day.
  • Customisable settings – TENS devices allow users to adjust the frequency, intensity, and duration of the electrical pulses.
  • Targeted pain management – the tool can particularly target the site of the acute condition by placing the electrode pads over or near the treatment area.
  • Contribute to other treatments – TENS therapy can be in conjunction with other methods for acute aches. These treatments include physical therapy or exercises.

A man holding his back with both hands due to pain

Applying TENS Shock Therapy to Treat Chronic Pain

Applying TENS shock therapy to treat chronic pain is generally safe and effective. The condition is a type of ailment that lasts for a long time, typically beyond three months. Unlike acute condition, which is temporary, chronic aches persist over a prolonged period of time. This includes conditions like musculoskeletal pain, neuropathic pain, weak kneesfibromyalgia, and arthritis.

The condition can also occur without an underlying cause. People may experience constant or intermittent discomfort, which can affect different parts of the body. Accordingly, TENS devices work by delivering electrical pulses with a certain advisable pulse rate. Hence, knowing the right frequency and intensity of the electrical shocks is important to address the condition effectively.

In the case of a chronic condition, a lower-frequency setting, generally below 10 Hz, is commonly advisable. This range can stimulate the sensory nerves, reducing the perception of aches. As a result, it can activate the Pain Gate mechanism, which is believed to block pain signals from reaching the brain. For the intensity, it is also advisable to begin at low levels and moderately increase it to a comfort level.

When to Avoid

While treating chronic conditions with TENS is safe, there are situations where it is vital to avoid it. The electrodes of TENS must not be placed over broken skin or wounds. The electric stimulation can interfere with the natural healing process. People with cardiac medical conditions should avoid using TENS. The electric nerve stimulation can cause irregularities.

If an individual has implanted devices such as pacemakers or defibrillators, it is advisable not to use the device. The impulses can affect the functioning of such tools. TENS should not be used directly over cancerous tumours. This can promote the growth of cancer cells.

An elderly woman using a TENS while sitting and reading

Safety Guidelines for TENS Shock Therapy

Knowing the safety guidelines can make TENS shock therapy safe and effective. Before starting the therapy, it is crucial to consult a professional to see if it is an appropriate treatment. It is also vital to follow the user manual to avoid any excessive electrical shocks. Prior to placing the electrode pads, clean and dry the treatment area with mild soap.

Follow the proper electrode placement. Correct positioning is important to target the specific area and achieve optimal relief. This also ensures that the therapy will not cause further discomfort. Avoid placing the pads over or near each other. Do not put the electrodes over broken skin, the mouth, eyes, throat, head, or bony areas. Accordingly, always start the treatment at the lowest settings.

In the treatment process, users may experience tingling sensations. Note that it should alleviate aches and not cause further discomfort. Furthermore, avoid continuous use of TENS devices for long periods. Take a 20-minute break after a one-hour session. Also, do not undergo therapy while sleeping, driving, or operating sensitive jobs.

Potential Side Effects

TENS is a popular treatment option for managing ailments. However, like any medical treatment, it is vital to be aware of potential side effects. While TENS therapy is generally safe, some individuals may experience skin irritation or redness at the electrode site. In some cases, TENS therapy may also cause muscle twitching or spasms.

Additionally, individuals with certain medical conditions, such as epilepsy or heart problems, may need to exercise caution when using TENS therapy. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment to discuss potential side effects and determine if it is the right option.


TENS shock therapy utilises low-voltage electrical currents to stimulate nerves with the use of electrode patches. The stimulation can aid as a form of pain relief for acute or chronic conditions. For short-term conditions, it is vital to use a high-frequency setting. On the other hand, for long-term conditions, it is advisable to incorporate a low-frequency setting. Hence, both are effective ways of providing temporary relief and reducing the perception of pain.

Nevertheless, users must know the safety guidelines and exercise caution. It is crucial to consult a healthcare provider, read the manual, and know proper pad placement and the correct settings. TENS therapy is not advisable for people with serious conditions like cancer, epilepsy, or heart ailments. Accordingly, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects of TENS. This is to maintain the efficacy and effectiveness of TENS.

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