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

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What Does A TENS Machine Do?

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

Musculoskeletal pain, neuropathic pain, period pain, and sports injuries are some examples of pain in adults. Pain medication may not always work to relieve discomfort. Fortunately, alternative treatment options are available. One of these is a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) device. People may ask what does a TENS machine do, and the answer is it reduces pain perceptions naturally. It stimulates the nerves using mild electric currents. Subsequently, this blocks pain messages and triggers endorphin production.

Chronic and acute pain conditions can significantly affect the quality of life of individuals. They can hinder them from performing daily activities, exercising regularly, and enjoying their hobbies. Thus, finding a form of pain relief, like TENS, is essential. They can undergo TENS therapy in pain clinics. Moreover, they can buy a personal unit in-store or online. To learn more about TENS, the following sections will present what it does for general pain relief, labour, and physical therapy.

What Does a TENS Machine Do for General Pain Relief?

Many people are interested to learn the answer to what do TENS machines do. First, they must know what it is. It is an electronic device that consists of adhesive electrode pads. Individuals can choose from wired or wireless units, depending on their needs. TENS produces low-voltage electric currents. These stimulate the nerves to block pain messages. Consequently, it provides a tingling sensation that can alleviate discomfort from various conditions.

TENS units work by stimulating the natural pain-relief mechanisms of the body, such as endorphins, to reduce the perception of pain. These electrical pulses also improve blood circulation and promote muscle relaxation. This can further contribute to lessening discomfort. People can adjust the machine to different frequencies and intensities to suit their preferences and pain levels. Hence, it is a versatile tool for managing general pain.

Users find TENS devices beneficial for providing immediate relief from pain without needing medication. A unit offers a non-invasive and drug-free option for general pain relief. However, it is vital to consult a medical professional before using TENS. This is especially true for those with underlying health issues like heart disease.

What Pain Conditions Can TENS Treat?

  • Arthritis – Inflammation of one or more joints characterises this condition. This leads to pain, stiffness, and limited mobility.
  • Back Pain – A common condition that can result from muscle strain, herniated discs, or a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Nerve pain – The causes can range from injuries to diabetic neuropathy.
  • Neck pain – Discomfort or stiffness in the neck region, and poor posture or muscle strain often causes it.
  • Joint pain – Refers to discomfort or soreness in the joints, which can affect multiple body areas like the knees, hips, shoulders, or wrists.
  • Menstrual pain – This occurs when a woman experiences cramps and discomfort during her menstrual cycle.

A pregnant woman holding her abdomen while standing

What Does a TENS Machine Do for Labour?

Some women may ask what does a TENS machine do for labour. The answer is it can help them better cope with the discomfort of contractions. This method of pain relief sends mild electrical pulses to the nerves to reduce pain sensations. The device is usually attached to the skin using sets of electrode pads. The user can control the settings of the pulses for optimal results.

During labour, a TENS unit can help women feel more in control of their pain management. They can use the machine at home, providing comfort during the early stages of labour. Then, they can easily transport it to the hospital if necessary. Additionally, some find that TENS can have a relaxing effect. This helps reduce stress and anxiety during pregnancy.

One of the key benefits of utilising a TENS unit is that it provides a natural alternative for pain relief. This can be particularly appealing to women who prefer to avoid the use of medication. They can also easily integrate TENS into birth plans. Subsequently, it provides a flexible option for managing the discomfort of labour contractions.

Safety Considerations

Before deciding to use a TENS device for labour, women must consult their healthcare provider or midwife to ensure it is safe for them and their babies. Professionals will evaluate the medical history and current health status. In addition, users must read and follow the instruction manual carefully to avoid complications.

Also, proper electrode placement is crucial. A birth partner can attach the pads to the lower back on either side of the spinal cord. They should avoid placing the electrode pads on the abdomen or areas with broken skin. Moreover, regularly check for signs of skin irritation or allergic reaction from the adhesive electrodes.

A woman touching her lower back while exercising

What Does a TENS Machine Do for Physical Therapy

People searching for what do TENS machines do must know that it is commonly used in physical therapy. Physical therapists often utilise this electrical device as part of their treatment plans to help patients manage pain and improve their overall functionality. An electrical nerve stimulation unit can target different pain sites in the body. This makes it a valuable tool for those undergoing rehabilitation.

In addition, TENS can decrease muscle tension. Delivering electrical currents through the body encourages blood flow to the affected area. Consequently, TENS promotes healing and lessens inflammation. Furthermore, the electrical pulses can help relax tight muscles, making it easier for physical therapy patients to engage in rehabilitation exercises.

Overall, the TENS machine is a valuable asset in physical therapy. This is because it offers a non-invasive, drug-free method of pain relief and aids in the rehabilitation process. Also, it provides safe and efficient stimulation. Its portability and versatility make it a popular choice for physical therapists and patients looking to enhance their recovery journey.

TENS Physiotherapy Guidelines

Users must follow TENS physiotherapy guidelines. This allows them to maximise the effects of the electrical nerve stimulation device. Firstly, they must determine appropriate settings for their specific condition. For instance, low frequencies are suitable for chronic pain in adults. Meanwhile, high frequencies are advisable for acute pain relief.

Secondly, do not administer TENS while sleeping or driving, as it can be dangerous and increase the risk of injury. Staying awake and alert while using the TENS device is essential to ensure proper monitoring and control. Lastly, the skin and device should be clean to avoid skin irritation and ensure firm adhesion of the electrodes.


Many people are interested in learning the answer to what does a TENS machine do. TENS devices are a versatile and effective tool for managing various types of pain. For instance, it helps with general pain relief by stimulating the nerves and stopping pain signals from reaching the brain. Moreover, women going through labour pain can rely on TENS. However, they must first consult their healthcare providers. Similarly, individuals must follow the guidelines from professionals and the instruction manual.

Additionally, TENS units are frequently used in physical therapy settings to help patients recover from injuries and surgeries. The electrical stimulation machine provides targeted pain relief and promotes healing. With their wide range of applications, TENS devices are a valuable tool for individuals seeking natural pain management solutions. People can purchase from online and retail stores nationwide. They can check iTENS from iTENS Australia for wireless and Bluetooth-enabled models.

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