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TENS Transcutaneous: Definition, How It Works, and the Conditions It Can Treat

A news pertaining to a new faster way for pain relief using TENS therapy

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, or TENS transcutaneous, is a therapy that uses low-voltage electrical currents to provide pain relief and treat a range of conditions. It works by delivering electrical impulses through the skin to the underlying nerves. Accordingly, this electrical stimulation helps to block pain messages or prompt the release of endorphins. With such mechanisms, electrotherapy can address a wide range of painful conditions. From acute pain to chronic pain, they can benefit from TENS.

In the world of pain management, there are numerous treatment options available. This ranges from medications to physical therapy. However, TENS emerges as a promising alternative that offers relief without the need for drugs or invasive procedures. With its growing popularity, it is important to understand what exactly TENS is and how it can benefit those suffering from specific conditions. This article will present TENS, including how it works and the conditions it can treat.

Definition of a TENS Transcutaneous

TENS transcutaneous is an electrotherapy that uses a small electrical device to send electrical pulses to specific areas of the body. With clinical trials and clinical evidence, TENS provides quality evidence of its effectiveness as a method of pain relief. Before, TENS therapy was only available in healthcare facilities and pain clinics. Fortunately, the advancement in technology allows for more portable current devices.

In the market, there is a wide range of TENS available. The most common is the traditional or handheld devices. This uses lead cables to connect the electrode patches to the main unit. Accordingly, wireless devices are also available. These eliminate the need for wires, providing greater freedom of movement. People can control the therapy manually or with the use of a smartphone through Bluetooth.

Some TENS may also offer adjustable settings. This allows individuals to modify their therapy to meet specific needs. Therefore, they can adjust the frequency and duration and achieve adequate intensities. Moreover, some units extend pre-set programs. These pre-existing therapy choices allow a more direct treatment for a specific condition.

How to Use a TENS Device

  • Clean and dry the skin of the treatment area.
  • Attach the electrodes using wires or connect them to a smartphone via Bluetooth.
  • Carefully place the electrodes, following the proper electrode placement.
  • Once the pads are securely in place, turn on the TENS unit.
  • Depending on the machine, the user may need to adjust the settings or choose a program. Nevertheless, it is advisable to start with the lowest intensity and gradually increase it to a comfortable intensity.
  • The duration of the session typically lasts between 15 to 30 minutes.
  • After the advisable duration of use, turn off the unit and carefully remove the electrodes.

A woman using small wing TENS on her arms while a large wing on her thighs

How Does a TENS Transcutaneous Work?

Mainly, TENS transcutaneous sends electric current to the skin via the electrodes. These electrical impulses travel through the skin and into the underlying nerve fibres, where they have several effects on the body. One of the main ways TENS works is by stimulating the production and release of endorphins. These are the natural chemicals of the body that act as natural painkillers, enhancing the quality of life.

Another way TENS functions is by using the pain gate mechanism. It suggests that the electric stimulation from the unit can effectively close the gate in the spinal cord. As a result, it prevents the transmission of pain signals to the brain. By doing so, TENS can offer a reduction in pain intensity, providing a treatment of pain to the individual.

TENS can also have an impact on blood circulation. The electrical pulses from the machine can cause the blood vessels in the treatment area to dilate. This, in turn, can improve blood flow to the area. Improved blood circulation can help promote the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. Accordingly, it aids in the natural healing process of the body.

Advantages of the Therapy

The electrotherapy is popular due to its potential benefits. TENS is a non-invasive therapy. This means that it does not require any surgical incisions or invasive procedures. Also, the treatment approach offers non-pharmacological interventions. This makes it an attractive option for people who prefer to avoid the use of medication or seek complementary therapies.

Additionally, TENS therapy is adjustable and customisable to meet the specific needs of each individual. The settings on the device can be personalised to deliver the suitable frequency, intensity, and duration. Moreover, it is portable and easy to use. Making it accessible whenever and wherever needed.

A man holding the back of his neck and lower back due to pain

What are the Conditions a TENS Transcutaneous Can Treat?

The stimulation parameters of TENS transcutaneous can help manage different types of pain in people. TENS can effectively treat acute conditions, which are often sudden and sharp in nature. This may include postoperative pain, labour pain, primary dysmenorrhea, and headaches. Also, TENS can manage chronic pain conditions that persist over an extended period. This may involve arthritis, fibromyalgia, and backaches.

Individuals experiencing neuropathic pain, which arises from dysfunctional nerves, can benefit from TENS therapy. This condition may occur due to diabetic neuropathy, phantom pain, sciatica, and postherpetic neuralgia. Accordingly, TENS has been found effective in managing musculoskeletal pain, which encompasses discomfort in tendons and ligaments. An example of this is osteoarthritis pain.

Moreover, TENS can also address muscle discomfort. This may be due to overexertion, injury, or tension. Nevertheless, by applying electrical stimulation in the treatment area, TENS may help reduce the perception of ailment. As a result, this promotes a sense of comfort and facilitates pain control over different types of conditions.

Are There Risks of Adverse Effects?

When using TENS, there are minimal, tolerable risks of side effects. One potential effect of TENS therapy is skin irritation at the electrode placement. This can manifest as redness, itching, or mild discomfort. To mitigate this risk, it is essential to follow proper skin preparation and the proper pad placement.

During TENS application, some people may experience mild muscle twitching or discomfort. This can be addressed by adjusting the intensity settings to a comfortable level. While rare, there is a minimal risk of allergic reactions. This may be due to the adhesive used in the electrode pads.


In conclusion, TENS transcutaneous is a valuable and effective treatment option for individuals experiencing pain. TENS is a safe option as it works by sending electrical currents through the skin to stimulate the nerves and provide pain relief. Accordingly, this electrical stimulation functions in different ways: the pain gate mechanism, the release of endorphins, and blood circulation. Hence, it is beneficial in managing whether acute or chronic conditions.

Furthermore, TENS can be used to address various conditions. This may include primary dysmenorrhea, arthritis, phantom pain, and osteoarthritis. Additionally, TENS devices are portable and easy to use, allowing individuals to manage their pain on the go. Also, the electrotherapy is non-invasive, drug-free, and customisable. However, it is vital to know the potential side effects. This is to mitigate the risks before they can occur. TENS is available in numerous stores, such as the online retailer iTENS Australia.

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