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

TENS Unit Golfers Elbow: How It Works & How to Use

Woman holding her elbow

Golfer’s elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation on the inner side of the elbow. One of the effective ways to alleviate pain is through Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). A TENS unit for golfer’s elbow works by sending electrical impulses to stimulate the nerves. It involves placing electrode pads near the affected joint and adjusting the pulses to a comfortable level.

Having a golfer’s elbow can significantly impact sports activities and daily activities. Without treatment, the pain might spread into the forearm and wrist and even permanent damage. Using a TENS unit is one way to relieve pain without the need for medications. Individuals can use the device anywhere and anytime when needed. In this article, we will explore what a TENS unit is, how it works, and how to use it effectively.

What is a TENS Unit for Golfer’s Elbow?

A TENS unit is a small electronic device that uses low-voltage electrical currents to relieve pain. The device has controls to adjust the intensity and frequency of the currents according to individual pain levels. In addition, it is attached to adhesive electrodes through wires. However, some modern devices use wireless connectivity, reducing the hassle of managing cables.

Aside from natural pain relief, a TENS unit for golfer’s elbow also promotes recovery. The electrical impulses boost circulation in the area. The increase in blood flow delivers more oxygen and nutrients for faster recovery of healing of damaged tissues. It also helps to reduce inflammation and swelling, allowing the joint to heal properly.

A TENS unit can be used alone for the treatment of elbow pain or with other methods like physical therapy and ice packs. Moreover, consulting a healthcare professional is also advisable to determine the appropriate treatment option. Individuals with serious medical conditions like heart problems and epilepsy may require certain precautionary measures when using the device.

Causes and Symptoms of Golfer’s Elbow


  • Repetitive arm movements, such as swinging a golf club or other repetitive gripping motions.
  • Overuse of the forearm muscles without proper rest or recovery.
  • Improper technique or form while playing sports or performing activities that involve wrist and arm movements.
  • Weakness in the forearm muscles or poor conditioning of the muscles and tendons.
  • Injury in the tendons and the bony bump where the muscles are attached.


  • Pain and tenderness, usually felt on the inner side of your elbow.
  • Stiffness and limited range of motion of the elbow joint.
  • Weakness in the hands and wrists.
  • Numbness or tingling in the fingers.

A man moving his arm while wearing a small TENS machine near the elbow

How a TENS Unit for Golfer’s Elbow Works

A TENS unit for golfer’s elbow works by targeting the nerves and muscles near the affected joint. Firstly, the electrical stimulation induces sensory nerve fibres to disrupt pain signals travelling to the brain. Overriding the nerves responsible for transmitting sensory information can help provide temporary pain relief.

Secondly, the TENS unit also helps to stimulate the production of endorphins, which can further reduce discomfort. Endorphins are natural pain-relieving chemicals that bind to opiate receptors on the nerve cells to inhibit pain messages. This produces analgesic effects and also improves mood, lowers stress, and enhances well-being. In addition, this can provide lasting relief for hours.

Lastly, electrical stimulation can help increase blood flow to the affected area, reducing inflammation and promoting healing. This also relieves muscle tension, leading to an increase in the range of motion and flexibility. Overall, it can significantly reduce the intensity of elbow pain and other discomforts. Individuals may use TENS therapy as a natural alternative to drug pain treatments.

Frequency Modulation

The TENS unit settings include modifying the frequency and pulse duration to maximise its effectiveness. Users may set the pulses to high frequency (50-120 Hz) to stimulate the spinal nerves to block pain signals to the brain. It is ideal for acute pain, like injuries or severe symptoms.

On the other hand, low frequency (2-10 Hz) is best for triggering endorphin production. This stimulation level can provide longer-lasting relief, making it suitable for chronic pain management. It is important to note that individual pain threshold and response to TENS therapy may vary. It may take a few trials to find the optimal frequency.

Putting the TENS machine on the forearm or near the elbow

How to Use a TENS Unit for Golfer’s Elbow

Operating a TENS unit for golfer’s elbow is relatively simple. The first step is to clean the skin of the electrode site placement. Remove any oil, lotion, or sweat that may interfere with the adhesion of the pads. Next, apply the electrodes to the affected area and turn on the TENS machine.

Adjust the frequency and pulse duration to the appropriate levels. Start with a low-intensity setting and gradually increase it until reaching a comfortable level. The intensity should be strong to provide relief without causing further discomfort. Subsequently, set the treatment duration for 15 to 60 minutes. Most units have a timer function that allows users to set the duration of the treatment session.

During the treatment, it is vital to keep the electrodes in place and avoid any movement or contact with water. This ensures a consistent and effective delivery of electrical impulses. Furthermore, avoid placement on areas with skin irritation, rashes, broken skin, or open wounds. If there are unusual or worsening symptoms, it is advisable to discontinue use and seek guidance from a healthcare provider.

Electrode Placement Guide

There are a few key areas of electrode pad placement for golfer’s elbow. The first target area is the medial epicondyle, which is the bony prominence on the inside of the elbow. Place one electrode on each side of this area to stimulate the surrounding muscles and nerves.

The second placement is on the forearm to target the flexor muscles. Placing the electrode on the muscle on the inside of the arm near the wrist can help alleviate inflammation in the area. It is crucial not to place the pads directly on the elbow joint, as it may risk coming off during the session.


Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is a painful and debilitating condition. It often occurs due to repetitive motions of the arms. A TENS unit for golfer’s elbow can provide pain relief without the aid of medicines. It uses low-voltage electrical currents to stimulate the nerves, reducing pain signals to the brain and releasing endorphins. This treatment approach can be used alone or with other methods, such as manual therapy, massage, and light exercises.

Using a TENS unit is relatively simple. It involves proper electrode placement and adjustment of settings. Start with a low intensity and gradually increase it to an optimal comfortable level. Additionally, set the frequency depending on the severity of pain or preference. Individuals may use the device for 15 to 60 minutes at a time. It is also vital to avoid areas with skin irritation. Finally, consulting a healthcare professional can help determine the most effective treatment plan.

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