Just What Is TENS Therapy? What Can You Use It For?

Guest post by Arya Mullen

What is TENS therapy?  TENS is a treatment process that’s slowly starting to become more popular.

More and more people are asking “just what is TENS therapy?”, thanks to all the benefits associated with it.

TENS units can be very effective at treating pain and it alleviates the need to take harmful and potentially addiction painkillers. TENS units are especially effective at dealing with nerve pain as well as chronic pain.

TENS units work by releasing a small electrical current into your body via electrodes placed on the areas where you’re having pain. The pulses given by the TENS unit helps to prevent pain signals from reaching your brain. Tens therapy also encourages your body to produce higher levels of Endorphins, which naturally reduce pain.

What is TENS therapy?  TENS stands for Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, a natural way to deal with pain and other ailments.

This article will take a look at how TENS therapy works, the history of TENS therapy as well as some recommended devices.

What is TENS therapy good for?

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation therapy is usually prescribed for a wide array of injuries.  TENS therapy can be used for acute pain, early labor in pregnant women, sore muscles due to a hard workout as well as post-surgical pain.

TENS units are also great for arthritis, pain caused be inflammation or chronic pain. Basically any condition that causes pain, TENS therapy can provide a solution.

tens for arthritis

Before starting TENS therapy you should consult with your physician to make sure that its appropriate for your body.

One of the biggest advantages of using a TENS unit is the ability to stop using prescription drugs. TENS units are a chemical free way to help reduce pain.

While the majority of painkillers have side effects on your health, the Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation unit is completely safe and a great solution for people who wishes to avoid harmful painkillers and tranquilizers.

TENS units are a great solution to sciatic nerve pain and other minor injuries, that aren’t exactly severe enough to take medication.

What’s The History Of TENS Therapy?

TENS therapy was discovered as early as 63AD.  Similar devices were used in the 19th century for cancer and severe injury patients.  Modern TENS units have been in use since around 1974. It’s speculated that humans have known the effect electricity has on pain as early as 2500 BC, where people used electric eels to numb pain.

The father of modern TENS units is C. Norman Shealy, an American neurosurgeon. His innovations on the TENS machine in the 1970’s has shaped how new devices have continued to evolve.

It’s important to use your TENS unit in moderation, overuse is not at all recommended. The longest you should use your TENS unit for is 30 to 40 minutes at a time.  Overuse can cause rashes, burns and other skin irritation.

As you start to use your TENS unit you’ll slowly get used to the sensation of each level and begin to feel it’s not powerful enough. When this happens, slowly increase the level your TENS unit is operating at. Always start at a low level and increase your way up, this is great for back pain after a long day.


Never use a TENS unit on the following areas:

  • On the front of your neck – this disrupts blood flow and can cause serious problems
  • Over your eyes
  • Directly over your spinal column
  • Irritated skin or wounds

While going through TENS therapy, the sensation you feel is close to a massage, most patients find the stimulation quite comfortable.

As the nerves get stimulated, blood circulation in the affected area increases which promotes the development of new blood cells. TENS units can also be used to increase blood flow in certain areas in addition to pain management.

Possible Tens Therapy side effects

  • Skin irritation
  • Muscle pain & twitching
  • Side effects tend to occur only from misuse

Recommended TENS Unitstensunit

This generic TENS unit comes with 4 individual electrodes, a 9 volt battery and a carrying case. It also has 5 different modes of operations for different sensations.

Although this isn’t a brand name product, it has multiple positive reviews and is relatively inexpensive.

Product Details & Images Here

trumedicTruMedic offers a high quality TENS unit, normally priced at $100 for just $29.89. This TENS unit is small and lightweight, weighing in at 5.3ozs.

While being small and easy to use, it still has enough power to help give you effective pain relief. Check out the reviews on this product. –

Product Details & Images Here

This TENS unit from HealthMateForever offers you top of the line advancement in Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation technology.

This unit has 6 pre-programmed massage modes as well as a acupuncture chart so you can places the electrodes in the most optimal positions. This product is loaded with positive reviews.

Product Details & Images Here

iReliev offers a TENS and EMS combination device that is especially effective on pain. EMS stands for electrical muscle stimulation, which helps to loosen muscles as well as work as a training and rehab technique for recovering from injuries.ireliev

This device has 7 different TENS pain relief mods, 6 EMS muscle modes as well as 1 mode specifically for arthritis pain. The 6 EMS modes make this a perfect TENS unit for back pain. This unit fro iReliev offers top quality when it comes to TENS technology.

Product Details & Images Here

As said before, consult your physician before proceeding with TENS therapy. People with pacemakers or pregnant women with early labor pain should only make use of this unit when prescribed by a medical professional.

Hopefully this article has answered what is TENS therapy for you.  The use of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation unit is quite easy and can be used at home. The more you undergo TENS therapy the more you’ll be able to find you preferred settings.

Posted by DME Library

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