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12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

TENS Unit Treatment: How It Works to Improve the Quality of Life

A small and large wing iTENS, refill gel pads, and necessary information

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS unit treatment is a safe and effective method of pain relief. It is an electrical device that delivers electrical currents to the body. Accordingly, this electrical stimulation works in various ways to improve the quality of life. Foremost, it blocks pain messages travelling to the brain. Additionally, TENS prompts the release of endorphins. Furthermore, TENS therapy is versatile, non-invasive, drug-free, adjustable, cost-effective, and can complement other treatments.

Acute and chronic pain can significantly impact daily life. It makes simple tasks difficult and affects the overall well-being. Traditional pain management methods often involve physical therapy and medications. However, TENS therapy offers a safe and effective treatment. Physical therapists, pain clinics, and health professionals recommend it. The following sections will present how the TENS electrical device treatment works, including its benefits and how to use it.

How Does a TENS Unit Treatment Work?

TENS unit treatment works in various analgesic mechanisms. Foremost, the pain gate mechanism. It suggests that the electrical pulses from TENS can reach the brain faster than the pain signals. Essentially, the electric currents “crowd out” or “block” the pain signals travelling through the brain. Thus, it prevents the brain from perceiving discomfort, reducing the sensation of pain.

Beyond blocking pain messages, TENS therapy encourages the body to produce endorphins. Endorphins are the natural painkillers of the body. It acts similarly to opiates, reducing discomfort and promoting a sense of well-being. Nevertheless, the electrical impulses from the TENS device prompt the body to release these “feel-good” chemicals. It provides a double-layered approach to pain relief.

Furthermore, TENS stimulates blood flow to the targeted area. Improved blood circulation aids in healing by delivering oxygen and nutrients to body tissues. Also, it removes the waste products. Accordingly, this increase in blood flow can help reduce inflammation, encourage the repair of damaged cells, and further alleviate discomfort.

Low and High Frequencies

The electrical impulses can be administered in the following frequencies:

  • Low-frequency (acupuncture-like TENS): It typically operates below 10 Hertz (Hz). This mode closely mimics the principles of traditional acupuncture. Thus, it prompts the body to release its own natural painkillers. The low-frequency stimulation is particularly effective for chronic conditions.
  • High-frequency (conventional TENS): It is set at frequencies above 50 Hz. This approach targets the pain gate mechanism of the body. The rapid electrical pulses effectively saturate the pathways, limiting the transmission of pain signals to the brain. High-frequency stimulation is particularly useful for acute conditions.

A person using a wearable and discreet TENS near the ankle

Benefits of TENS Unit Treatment

TENS unit treatment offers numerous benefits to users. Foremost, TENS therapy excels in addressing various types of pain. Secondly, TENS can provide targeted relief. Individuals can place the electrode patches near or directly on the areas of the body experiencing discomfort. Thirdly, TENS is non-invasive and drug-free. It does not require surgical procedures or the intake of medications.

Fourthly, TENS electronic devices are highly customisable. It allows users to adjust the pulse rate, intensity, and pulse duration. Hence, this customisation ensures that each individual can find the best setting for them. Also, TENS therapy represents a cost-effective solution. It eliminates ongoing medication costs, surgical interventions, or frequent visits to healthcare providers.

Moreover, TENS treatment can be used as a complementary therapy. It complements other modalities such as physical therapy, massage, and medications. Additionally, with proper guidance from health professionals, TENS is safe for long-term use. It is particularly beneficial for those with chronic conditions. TENS is a reliable method of pain relief without the concerns of medication tolerance or dependency.

Treatable Conditions

TENS therapy can treat chronic conditions. It persists over long periods. It may include arthritis pain, fibromyalgia, and backaches. Accordingly, TENS can manage acute pain. It is a condition that is sudden and usually short-lived. It often results from postoperative pain, labour pain, primary dysmenorrhea, and injuries.

Neuropathic pain, characterised by nerve damage, responds well to TENS treatment. Conditions like diabetic neuropathy, phantom pain, and nerve entrapment syndromes can benefit from TENS. Additionally, TENS can address musculoskeletal pain. It affects the bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. It may include treating people with knee pain, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

A guide on how to use the iTENS app

How to Use a TENS Unit Treatment

Using a TENS unit treatment involves a few straightforward steps. It makes it accessible and simple for anyone seeking to alleviate discomfort. The process begins with preparing the skin where the electrode pads will be placed. Ensure the skin is clean and dry. Then, attach the electrode patches directly to the skin. Follow the proper electrode placement guide for effective therapy.

After securing the pads, attach the electrodes to the central machine via lead cables. Meanwhile, it can be connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth for wireless use. Accordingly, power on the TENS unit. Set up the parameters of the stimulation. It includes adjusting the frequency, intensity, and duration. Additionally, some advanced TENS devices have pre-set programs. Thus, select the program that targets the specific condition.

Nevertheless, start at a low setting and gradually increase it to a comfortable level. The intensity should feel solid yet comfortable. The duration of treatment can vary, but sessions typically last between 15 to 30 minutes. Regular sessions, sometimes several times a day (as recommended), can provide cumulative pain relief. After the treatment time, power off the TENS unit and remove the electrode pads.

Safety Precautions

Firstly, one must consult a healthcare provider before starting TENS therapy. It is particularly essential for individuals with medical conditions (such as heart problems and epilepsy) or those pregnant women. Accordingly, it is vital to inspect cuts, abrasions, or broken skin before applying the electrodes. Do not place the pads on the head, eyes, mouth, chest, and bony prominences.

Additionally, do not start the therapy with excessively high levels. It can cause overstimulation or discomfort. During the treatment, if any unusual symptoms such as increased pain or dizziness occur, one should immediately stop the session and consult a doctor.


In conclusion, TENS unit treatment is a safe and effective method for managing discomfort. It is a device that delivers electrical currents to the body. Accordingly, this electrical stimulation works through various mechanisms to improve quality of life. It interrupts pain signal transmission, encourages the body to produce endorphins, and stimulates blood flow in the treatment area. Additionally, the electrical pulses can stream in high (above 50 Hz) and low (below 10 Hz) frequencies.

Furthermore, TENS therapy offers numerous benefits. It is versatile, non-invasive, drug-free, customisable, cost-effective, and safe for long-term use. Also, it provides targeted relief and can complement other treatments. Moreover, TENS can treat acute and chronic conditions. It can also manage musculoskeletal and neuropathic pain. Nevertheless, using the device is easy. Place the electrodes, turn on the unit, and adjust the settings. However, knowing the safety precautions is essential for optimal therapy.

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