Everything You Need to Know About TENS Units
What is a TENS unit?
TENS stands for ‘Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation’. It is a method in which mild electrical current is useful to relieve pain. A TENS unit is a compact device that operates via the battery. It has two or more leads, and each connects to sticky pads, also known as electrodes, at the end.
How does a TENS unit work?
You can use these lightweight units whether you’re sitting around or are on the move. They are so convenient that you can hold them in your hand, put them in a pocket, and simply clip it to a belt.
You can also use Shophysio’s TENS unit for as long as you like throughout the day. However, we recommend not using them while driving, during a bath or shower, and while you operate any machinery. You should consult a doctor if you’re unsure about whether they’re safe for you to use or not.
A TENS unit is very straightforward to operate. Simply attach the electrodes to your skin and switch on the unit. Once powered on, a TENS unit delivers small electrical impulses to the affected region of the body, causing a tingling sensation.
A TENS’ electrical pulses tend to interrupt and reduce the pain signal transmitted to the spinal cord and nervous system. This may relax your muscles and help relieve pain. These electrical impulses may also cause enough stimulation to produce endorphins, which are natural painkillers produced by your body.
Tips for using TENS Units
- Always make sure that the simulator is off before you attach the electrodes to your skin.
- Position these pads at least an inch apart on either side of the pain region.
- The TENS unit has a dial or displayed options on the handheld device to select the strength for different treatments.
- Always start with a slow setting and gradually dial the intensity up.
- Ensure the tingling sensation feels comfortable if you feel slight pain then reduce the strength of electrical pulses.
- Always switch off the TENS unit before you take the electrodes off your skin.
Types of TENS Units
Many TENS units are easy to use mobile devices. They come in many models to suit everyone’s needs, including wireless electrotherapy devices and handheld stimulators. You can also get medical-grade combo devices using electrotherapy and ultrasound for pain relief.
Best Tens Units for Home use
Some of the most recommended of the above-mentioned TENS units are:
- PMT iTENS Full Kit Device - Wireless Electrotherapy
- PMT Medical Grade Ultrasound/TENS Combo (High Power)
- Neurodyn Portable Tens/Fes Ibramed Burst 02 Channels
- PMT Medical Ultima OTC TENS Unit - Electronic Muscle Contraction Stimulator for Pain Relief
- Chattanooga Primera TENS/NMES Complete Unit
- InTENSity IF Combo - TENS and Interferential Currents
- InTENSity Select Combo 4 Waveforms TENS, EMS, Interferential and Microcurrent
Multi Current Equipments with TENS Current
- Globus Soccer Pro Muscle Stimulator
- Globus Genesy 1100 Muscle Stimulator
- Globus Electrotherapy Genesy 3000 Professional Electro Stimulator
- PMT Clinical Combo (IF, TENS, Galvanic, Russian)
- PMT Quad Stim-plus (4-channel digital TENS/EMS
- PMT Ultima Combo
- Globus Runner Pro Muscle Stimulator
What can a TENS unit help with?
A TENS unit can help with reducing and relaxing muscle spasms and general body aches and pains.
Some of the other health problems a TENS unit can help with include:
- Back pain
- Knee pain
- Pelvic pain caused due to endometriosis
- Period pain
- Sports injuries
Benefits of Owning a TENS Device
There are various benefits of having a TENS unit, such as:
- Natural pain relief without drugs
- Helps with the production of endorphins in the body
- Decrease pain signals to your nervous system
- It can retrain your nerves, even the damaged ones. If frequently used with chiropractic treatment can change the way nerves behave under stress and strain.
- Reduces inflammation
- It has no side effects on your health and body.
- Heals acute and chronic pain
Their ease of use makes them an ideal application to use by you. No more having to visit a physical therapist or having to pay for their time - you can use it yourself at home whenever convenient.
There are no restrictions on how long you should use a TENS unit. Therefore you don’t need any supervision to use them. However, we would recommend reading the manual for the full instructions on the recommended usage by the manufacturer.
Which Professionals Can Use A TENS unit?
Whether you are a chiropractor or a physical therapist, you can use our TENS units with ease on your patients. They are the best form of therapy to help your clients heal faster. Chiropractors have always had the option to utilize alternate therapies that complement their methods. Therefore, a TENS unit can reduce pain and inflammation on injuries, and for muscles joints in a very effective manner.
Similarly, a physical therapist can use his traditional methods to address back issues, and other muscle related problems and injuries, using a TENS unit to achieve this goal faster than using other methods.
Places of application on the body
You can use the TENS unit on any pain affected region of your body. However, you should never place the pads over the following areas; neck, mouth, eyes, temples, chest and upper back (simultaneously), genitals, any numb areas, broken or irritated skin, and varicose veins.
Do I need a Doctor to use a TENS Device?
Generally, you do not need to seek a doctor’s advice while using a TENS unit. However, if you feel that your pain is not getting any better, or has maybe worsened, it is advisable to seek doctor’s help. In the case of pregnancy, you must always ask your doctor before using a TENS unit, or if you have any underlying health issues you may be concerned about (heart problems and such).
Additionally, always read the instruction manual by the manufacturer for the full advice.
How to Choose the right TENS Device
There are five main things you must look for when it comes to choosing a TENS device. These include:
- If it has appropriate power levels that are suitable for your treatment needs.
- It must have a lithium-ion battery because it increases the duration of treatments, plus it will save money on having to change batteries.
- The more options a TENS device has for electric pulses, the better it is.
- Always choose a TENS device offering you good TENS pads life between changes.
- Always consider providers like Shophysio as an excellent option to provide you after-sale customer service. Many other retailers don’t include this service - it’s reassuring to have it included with your TENS device.
Accessories for a TENS Device
It is always a good idea to consider what accessories come with your TENS device. You must also check the duration each accessory lasts, and how frequently it needs replacing. Some of the accessories to consider are:
Electrode pads are the most important of all accessories. Your TENS device cannot operate without these. These pads have an adhesive surface, which enables them to stick to your skin. That is how these electrodes conduct electric pulses to the nerve bundles underneath the skin region they are attached to.
All TENS devices have different designs, and each of these designs is best suited for specific tasks. Therefore, you must carefully check that you are buying the replacement pads suitable for the therapy you need. We sell electrodes here.
Additionally, some types of pads expire after so many applications. You must know when to change these pads; this is important for the effectiveness of your TENS device.
Wires and Batteries
Most of our TENS devices come with lithium ION batteries. In case you need to replace these batteries, always ensure that you have the appropriate battery type. A wrong one can damage your TENS unit. Similarly, keep your wires wrapped securely. Do not use any damaged wiring because it is both a safety hazard for you and the TENS unit. Ensure you dispose of any old batteries in the correct way - as recommended by the battery manufacturer.
Check the manufacturer’s manual for details on your wires and batteries.
Recommended TENS Units according to specific pain levels
Tenlax TENS Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulator Device
If you are someone who suffers from joints and muscles, pain, arthritis, and back pain then this is the best TENS device for you. It has four therapeutic modes, with 15 different levels of intensity. You can choose from massage, scraping, acupuncture, and combo modes for various therapies. It can be used on the nape, shoulders, arms, joints, wrists, back and lower back legs, knees, and feet.
Learn more about the Tenlax Tens Neuromuscular device here.
Neurodyn Portable Tens/Fes Ibramed Burst 02 channels
This device is proven to help people with chronic pain. It helps with symptomatic relief of acute post-traumatic and post-operative pain. You can use this device to treat cervical spinal pain and sciatica. Other treatments include amputation stump pain, spinal cord injury, abdominal pain, etc.
It has seven various modes to different frequencies and intensities to soothe the affection region on your body.
Learn more about the Neurodyn Portable Tens/Fes Ibramed Burst device here.
Globus Triathlon Muscle Stimulator
This TENS unit, focused on athletes, is a one-stop solution for training and healing sports-related injury. It has different modes for swimming, cycling, and running. Plus, it has a wide array of programs for fitness, beauty, and general medical wellbeing all suited to enhance the performance of a tri-athlete.
Learn more about the Globus Triathlon Muscle Stimulator device here.
TENS Units FAQ
What kind of electric current does a tens unit have?
Tens device operates on TENS current. The frequency of the currents are adjustable and typically range between 10 Hz to 50 Hz. Each TENS Unit will likely offer different options here - so check their technical specifications.
Does electric current from a TENS device hurt?
No, it does not hurt if used according to the recommended settings and durations. Using them is unlikely to hurt unless you apply them to the wrong body location, or you don’t follow the guidance within their manual.
Do I need a specific Gel to use with the TENS device?
It depends - if you use a carbon electrode you'll need to use a conductive gel. It is vital to achieving practical results. If you use a self-adhesive electrode, you won't need the conductive gel. We sell conductive gels for TENS units here.
Do any accessories come with TENS devices, or I need to buy them separately?
The equipment comes with all the necessary accessories for some devices, so look into product specifications. However, you can always buy extra accessories separately as required. If you’re unsure about this don’t hesitate to ask us!
The TENS unit has some of the best proven therapeutic advantages, but you must always be careful about a few things.
- Do not exceed the recommended treatment time. Always read the manufacturer’s manual for full instructions.
- When using carbon electrodes, do not use your TENS unit without gel application.
- Avoid using it on eyes, genitals, and other sensitive areas.
- Do not use it if pregnant. Consult your gynecologist for advice.
- Do not use it on stitches, inflammations, and fresh scars or cracked skin.
- If you have any underlying health conditions you should consult your doctor to check that it’s safe for you to use a TENS unit.