Do TENS Units Work for Back Pain?

TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. Electric current of low voltage is used to relieve pain. The device is small and battery-operated. A belt is used to anchor the device that has two electrodes connected to it. The electrodes transfer current to the skin from the machine.

What Does a TENS Unit Do for Back Pain?

By delivering a sensation that is non-painful to skin around a pain site, the hope is to disrupt the cycle of pain. The way pain is processed is modulated. The plan is to deliver electrical stimulation from the TENS unit often enough to trigger endorphins. Endorphins are natural pain killers in the body that give one a sense of well-being.

TENS Units for Back PainStudy is not complete on the success of the device. Researchers have found TENS was useful in controlling chronic pain in some individuals. Fortunately, trying the treatment has very few side effects. Drowsiness does not occur. There is no interaction with other medications. The device can be applied easily and be worn while doing most activities for pain management.

People who use the device, with some success, may be a little over optimistic. Many have over-exerted themselves because of the pain relief experienced and caused the pain to become worse. New users are most guilty of this misconception.

There are people who should probably not use the TENS machines. People that have a pacemaker, have cancer, are pregnant, or have poor sensation should not use pain relief products like this.

Systemic drugs affect the whole body. The electrotherapy provided by a TENS device targets pain at the site it occurs. Medical practitioners, doctors, pain clinicians, physiotherapists, and sport coaches have recommended its use for acute and chronic pain.

Individuals have had variable results. For some, there is effective reduction or elimination of pain that lasts longer than the stimulation period. The success rates of others was found to be pain modified only while the stimulation occurs.

How to Use a TENS Unit for Back Pain

TENS units are used for all kinds of pain. Electrode placement depends on the location and type of pain. Covering or surrounding the painful area is one way of doing TENS unit therapy. Arthritic joints and spasmodic or painful muscles benefit from this kind of treatment. Nerve pain may be treated by placing the electrodes between the brain and the injured nerve.

Placement of the electrodes is important. Pain may not be decreased if the electrodes are placed incorrectly. The pain could be increased. Putting electrodes near the eyes or over nerves that extend from the neck to the brain or throat should not happen.

The device should be fully charged before starting a TENS unit treatment. The battery pack should be tested. Control knobs should be turned to the “OFF” position before starting. One knob controls the strength of the electrical signals. The other controls the speed of the signals.

The area where electrodes are to be placed should be cleansed with rubbing alcohol and then dried. A thin gel coat should be applied to the electrode bottoms. The gel aids in getting the electrical signal to the nerves beneath the skin.

After placing the electrodes on the skin, use a sticky patch or tape as electrode covers. The adhesive will keep the electrodes firmly attached to the skin. The electrode wires have pin connectors at the ends that are to be hooked onto the electrodes. Then they are plugged into the unit.

Slowly turn knobs to the settings recommended by a caregiver. A tingling feeling should be noticed. Place the TENS unit in a pocket or hook it to a belt. The caregiver will tell the user how long to use the device.

Twitches of the muscle may indicate the signals are too fast or strong. No feeling might be an indication of a signal that is too slow or weak. The TENS unit should not be operated in water or during sleep.

Where to Buy TENS Unit?

The equipment can be obtained from a doctor. He or she will provide a device or write a prescription to get one. When purchasing a device look for key features before placing an order. Finding a basic TENS at a reasonable price may not include a carry case, leads, or extra electrodes offered at the same price elsewhere. has been supplying TENS units for more than 10 years. Their products have a three-year warranty and a 100% guarantee. The company services individual patients and medical professionals. advertises TENS Unit Electronic Pulse Massagers to be in stock. The device is sold by TruMedic Factory Direct. Amazon fulfills the orders.

Discount Medical Supplies is a medical supply and equipment company owned and operated by a physician. The company sells to the general public, patients, and practitioners. A guaranteed lowest price is offered. An offer to beat or match anyone else’s price is part of the company’s philosophy.

OTC Wholesale sells the over-the-counter product at wholesale prices. The company invites retailers to contact them for quotes on larger quantities. has several TENS units to offer. An advanced unit having dual channels sells for approximately $24 and has a five-year warranty. offers shipment the day the equipment is purchased. The price of their devices starts at $24.95.

TENS Professionals is a direct source for the electrotherapy device. The company sells individual units or outfits entire clinics.


Pros and cons are still being sorted out to find answers to the query that appears at the beginning of this article. There are many reasons to consider the product to be worthwhile. The first point in favor of the device is that professionals such as doctors, practitioners, physical therapists, trainers, and coaches have given the product positive reviews and recommend its use.

When one has to seek professional help from a back pain specialist, often electrotherapy is part of the treatment. Purchasing the device makes that same kind of therapy and relief available outside the rehab facility. The ease of use is also a selling point.

The lack of side effects makes the device and treatment safe. Experimenting with the process does not cause the user undue risks. Even temporary relief is a benefit.

A wide variety of places to purchase a TENS unit also give the product credibility. Some of the sources that make the device available are owned and operated by health care officials. Competition is deemed as a good thing. When more than one retailer or wholesaler wants to sell the product, a certain amount of worth is placed on the product.

Price is also a positive of the device. The cost of the item does vary somewhat from venue to venue. Prices quoted at any of the sources mentioned in this article seem to be reasonable for the product considered to be medical equipment.

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  1. Pingback: What’s the Best Back Massager? | Back Pain Health Center

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