Australian Registered Medical Device

Same day dispatch

12-month warranty

Professionally endorsed

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

Best Sellers

$224.99 USD $174.99 USD

$156.99 USD $126.99 USD

Ultrasound and TENS Machine: How Do They Differ?

A TENS machine kit with a pack of refillable gel pads and necessary information

When it comes to pain relief and therapy, there are various options available. Two popular methods are ultrasound therapy and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy. While they both aim to alleviate pain, they work in different ways. The differences between ultrasound and TENS machine lie in the way people apply them, their respective mechanisms of action, and the type of pain relief that they provide. Generally, the former focuses on deep-seated pain while the latter manages surface-level pain.

For individuals suffering from chronic pain or recovering from injuries, finding effective pain relief methods is crucial. Fortunately, there are many non-invasive and drug-free options available. Some treatments may seem similar to each other, but they have unique characteristics. Thus, it is important to know how to tell them apart. The following sections will explore the distinctions between the two well-known choices regarding their definition and settings.

Ultrasound and TENS Machine – Definition and Functions

Ultrasound and TENS machine has differences in terms of their definitions and functions. The ultrasound involves the use of high-frequency sound waves to create a deep heat sensation in the area being treated. This helps to reduce inflammation, relax muscles, and improve circulation. Professionals typically use it for conditions such as tendonitis and bursitis.

On the other hand, TENS therapy is a form of electrical stimulation that is designed to reduce pain. It sends mild electrical signals by placing electrodes on the affected area. The way it works is by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain. In addition, it stimulates endorphin production, which helps reduce feelings of discomfort. This is beneficial for postoperative pain relief as well as arthritis, muscle spasms, and fibromyalgia.

When comparing the two treatment methods, they offer unique benefits. Ultrasound focuses on tissue repair and deep heat effects. This promotes faster healing and reduces inflammation. Meanwhile, TENS targets pain receptors and provides immediate pain relief. The former requires longer treatment times and the use of ultrasound or transmission gel, while the latter provides quick relief without the need for any additional substances.

Benefits of the Devices

Here are the benefits of ultrasound and TENS devices:

  • Versatile: People can use ultrasound as an imaging tool. It can also diagnose and treat many conditions. Meanwhile, they can use some TENS units for pain relief, muscle stimulation, and massage.
  • Ergonomic Design: Professionals and individuals alike can use them comfortably because of their portability.
  • Non-Invasive: The two procedures do not involve surgery or other intrusive techniques.
  • Cost-Effective: They are usually cheaper than many other treatments.
  • Fast-acting: Both devices produce results quickly. People can feel relief within minutes of the treatment.
  • Customisable: Physicians or therapists can adjust the settings to fit the needs of the patient.

A woman pressing a button of the TENS machine on her arm

Ultrasound and TENS Machine – Levels of Intensity

Ultrasound and TENS machines are advanced devices used to manage various levels of pain and discomfort. These machines offer a wide range of treatment methods that individuals can tailor to their needs. Pains that they can help with include knee pain, joint pain, and severe pain.

Ultrasound therapy utilises different levels of intensity to penetrate deep into the soft tissues. As a result, it provides deep heat and promotes tissue repair. Moreover, it allows for precise treatment and the ability to alleviate different types of pain, from acute to chronic. The common intensity level of an ultrasound ranges from 0.5 to 3 W/cm2.

Similarly, TENS offers varying levels of intensity that people can adjust. Its intensity level typically ranges from 1 to 100. The higher it is, the more powerful the electrical pulses the device produces. Patients can adjust this setting gradually until they find a level that is most comfortable for them and provides relief from their pain. They can manually control it using the device itself.

How Stimulators Work

Some examples of stimulators are electrical stimulation (e-stim) devices and TENS machines. They work by delivering gentle electrical currents to targeted areas of the body. These electrical impulses help to disrupt and block pain signals from reaching the brain. As a result, it provides relief from chronic pains.

By stimulating the nerves, a unit can trigger the release of endorphins, natural painkillers that promote pain relief and relaxation. This therapeutic mechanism allows for effective pain management. It minimises the reliance on medications and improves the overall quality of life for people suffering from various types of pain.

A step-by-step process on how to operate an app for TENS machines

Ultrasound and TENS Machine – Modes and Adjustable Settings

People can adjust ultrasound and TENS machines to different settings and treatment times. This allows for a customised approach based on the needs of patients. They can change them by clicking on the buttons of the units. However, some devices, like the iTENS units from iTENS Australia, are wireless. They can connect to Bluetooth so that they can operate TENS through a mobile application.

An ultrasound machine generally has various modes. Firstly, there is the continuous mode. This allows for a steady flow of ultrasound waves throughout the treatment. Secondly, there is a pulsed mode where the waves are in pulses. This helps to reduce heat build-up and discomfort. Lastly, there is frequency modulated mode. This enables practitioners to adjust the frequency.

TENS machines have adjustable settings as well, such as frequency and pulse width. Frequency refers to the rate at which the electrical pulses are sent out, while pulse width is the amount of time that each pulse lasts. People can adjust these based on their comfort level or the suggestion of a doctor. For example, higher frequencies with shorter pulse widths may be used to relieve chronic pain.

Potential Side Effects

It is important to be aware of the potential side effects of the ultrasound unit and TENS device. With ultrasound therapy, the most common one is mild skin irritation. This can manifest as redness or itching at the application site. In rare cases, more severe allergic reactions may occur. It is also essential to ensure the proper use of ultrasound gel to prevent thermal burns.

TENS units are generally considered safe but may cause some side effects such as skin irritation or an allergic reaction to the electrode pads. In rare cases, some individuals may experience muscle twitching or discomfort during the treatment.


Understanding the differences between ultrasound and TENS machines can help people decide which one is right for them. Both treatment methods provide unique benefits, but they also have their limitations. It is important to discuss possible options with a licensed healthcare provider before engaging in any form of therapy. They will be able to provide an accurate assessment. In addition, they can recommend the best course of action based on personal medical history.

Professionals primarily use ultrasound to provide deep-tissue heating, whereas they and other individuals use TENS as a more surface-level therapy designed to manage pain. Ultrasound may be used to reduce stiffness, loosen tight muscles, and improve circulation. On the other hand, TENS is used primarily for pain management and can help in reducing muscle cramps or spasms. Nevertheless, both are non-invasive treatments that are valuable to the healthcare industry.

Best Sellers

$109.99 USD $79.99 USD

$109.99 USD $79.99 USD

Shopping Cart
Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop
Calculate Shipping

We have detected you are from the United States

We ship to all locations within the United States.
Prices will be automatically converted into USD.

Would you like to add extra Gel Pads?

Would you like to add extra Gel Pads?

Would you like to add extra Gel Pads?

Would you like to add extra Gel Pads?


The item you’re adding to your cart doesn’t have any gel pads.

Note: iTENS wings should always be used with a gel pad.