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12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

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TENS Therapy Device: A Guide on How to Use the Unit

Two wireless TENS devices with refill gel pads from iTENS Australia

A Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS therapy device is a battery-powered device that uses electrical current to provide relief. As more people turn to TENS as a method of pain relief, usage guidelines become crucial. Firstly, the user needs to connect the electrodes to the unit. Secondly, the individual will identify the treatment area and place the electrode pads. Then, the TENS unit may allow the user to adjust the settings, choose a pre-set program, and start the therapy.

Chronic pain or acute pain affects millions of people worldwide, significantly impacting the quality of life. Traditional methods of pain management, such as painkilling medication, may offer temporary relief but often come with side effects and dependency issues. TENS therapy, on the other hand, has gained popularity as a non-invasive and drug-free alternative for pain relief. This article will present how TENS medical devices work, how to use them, and the safety guidelines.

How a TENS Therapy Device Works

The TENS therapy device works by delivering electrical impulses to the body via electrodes placed on the skin. This electrical stimulation can help alleviate discomfort by tapping into the natural pain relief mechanisms of the body. Accordingly, the electrical pulses can lead to the production and release of endorphins. These are the natural painkillers of the body that can create a sense of well-being.

Furthermore, TENS also operates on the principle of Pain Gate Theory. According to this theory, the electric current from the TENS unit can override the pain signals. Hence, it can effectively close the gate in the spinal cord that allows these pain messages to reach the brain. By doing so, the TENS pain relief therapy can help reduce the sensation of discomfort in the treatment area.

In addition, the electric nerve stimulation can impact blood circulation. The stimulation of nerves and muscles by the TENS unit can lead to an increase in blood flow to the treatment region. This enhanced circulation can help deliver oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. As a result, it contributes to reducing inflammation and boosts the healing process and overall well-being.

Manageable Conditions

The following are the types of pain that TENS can help manage:

  • Acute conditions: TENS is beneficial in addressing sudden ailments. This may include menstrual cramps, headaches, postoperative discomfort, and injuries.
  • Chronic conditions: the unit is valuable for treating ongoing or persistent discomfort. It may involve managing health issues like arthritic pain, fibromyalgia, neck, shoulder, and backaches.
  • Neuropathic pain: it stems from damage or dysfunction to the nervous system.
  • Musculoskeletal pain: this may include osteoarthritis, joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and more.
  • Muscular pain: individuals experiencing muscle-related pain, such as sore muscles or tension, can benefit from the use of TENS.

A guide on how to operate the iTENS application

How to Use a TENS Therapy Device

Using a TENS therapy device involves several steps to ensure safe and effective application. Start by attaching the electrode cord to the central unit or connecting the electrodes to a smartphone via Bluetooth for wireless. Then, identify the treatment area and prepare it before applying the pads. It is crucial to follow the proper pad placement for the effective transmission of electrical impulses.

Once the electrodes are on the skin, turn on the TENS unit. Most devices offer adjustable settings for the intensity, frequency, and duration of electrical stimulation. Hence, users can modify these settings based on needs. Also, some TENS may allow individuals to choose a pre-set program. Therefore, select the appropriate program for the specific condition.

Nevertheless, it is vital to start with the lowest settings and gradually increase them to a comfortable level. After setting the parameters, activate the device to begin delivering the electrical pulses. During the TENS medical treatment, it is important to monitor any sensations. Once the therapy session is complete, turn off the unit and gently remove the electrodes from the skin.

Benefits of Electrotherapy

TENS treatment offers numerous benefits. One of the key advantages of TENS is its portability. These units are often compact and lightweight. Hence, it allows users to easily transport and use them on the go. Also, TENS offer customisable settings. It enables individuals to adjust the frequency, intensity, and duration of electrical stimulation based on specific needs.

Additionally, TENS is a non-invasive approach to managing pain. It does not involve surgical procedures or the insertion of needles. Moreover, TENS provides drug-free pain relief. This aspect is particularly beneficial for those who prefer to minimise reliance on medication.

A woman using four iTENS on her thigh to foot

Safety Guidelines When Using a TENS Therapy Device

When using a TENS therapy device, it is important to adhere to safety guidelines. Before undergoing TENS therapy, individuals should consult with a health professional. This is to determine if TENS is appropriate for their specific condition. Accordingly, when applying electrodes to the skin, it is essential to follow the instructions of the practitioner or the manufacturer for proper pad placement.

Do not position the electrodes on the sensitive areas. This may include the eyes, mouth, head, throat, chest, broken skin, or open wounds. In the treatment, it is important to avoid using excessively high-intensity levels. This could lead to discomfort or adverse effects. Also, individuals should routinely monitor their skin for any signs of skin irritation and any sensations from the treatment.

Moreover, avoid using TENS units while doing safety-sensitive activities like driving or operating machinery. The electrical currents can diminish focus and alertness, leading to accidents. Furthermore, proper maintenance and storage of TENS are essential for ensuring its longevity and safe use. Users should follow the guidelines for cleaning and storing the device in a safe and dry environment.

Signs to Seek a Medical Professional

If an individual experiences heightened discomfort while using TENS, despite adjusting the settings, it is essential to consult a medical practitioner. This may indicate underlying issues that require evaluation by a healthcare provider. Also, persistent skin irritation, redness, or itching at the electrode placement are significant indicators to seek medical attention.

The prolonged numbness or tingling sensation could indicate a need for medical evaluation. Such sensations may signal nerve-related concerns that necessitate the expertise of a healthcare professional. If the TENS therapy induces unintended muscle contractions that persist or cause discomfort, it is essential to seek medical guidance.


A TENS therapy device is a highly effective and convenient solution for managing chronic and acute pain. These devices provide targeted electrical stimulation to the nerves, helping to alleviate pain and promote healing. Accordingly, it works by blocking the pain signals, prompting the release of endorphins, and improving blood circulation. As a result, it is valuable in managing different types of conditions. This may include menstrual cramps, headaches, shoulder pain, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis.

Moreover, TENS provides numerous benefits. It is portable, customisable, non-invasive, and drug-free. With such mechanisms, TENS units are easy to use. One needs to identify the treatment area, place the electrodes, adjust the settings, and activate the stimulation. Nevertheless, it is crucial to follow the safety guidelines and know the signs when to seek medical help for optimal use. TENS are available in the marketplace, including the online retailer iTENS Australia.

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