Chronic pain has become one of the most common reasons that people look for medical care.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, or TENS is a painless, drug-free way to treat chronic and acute muscle and joint pain like:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Shoulder pain
- Arm pain
- Lower-back pain
- Leg pain (including hip, thigh, knee, and calf)
- Foot pain
How do TENS units work?
Electrotherapy has been used for over 40 years by medical professionals like physical therapists and chiropractors. Available without a prescription, therapy can be delivered in the comfort of your own home with a TENS device. These simple devices are safe, drug-free treatments that send electrical pulses along the nerves of affected parts of the body through soft pads attached to the skin.
Scientific theory shows that TENS units may relieve pain by:
- Blocking pain messages to your brain
- Increasing endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers
- Improving blood circulation to targeted areas
What to look for in a TENS device
There are basic TENS unit features that provide the most flexibility and effectiveness for different uses:
- Treats multiple body pain locations
- Built-in modes for different types of pain
- Multiple intensity levels for varying pain management needs
- FDA-cleared for safety and effectiveness
- Easy to use as well as simple, straightforward buttons and displays
Additional TENS unit features to consider:
- Wearable and wireless with Bluetooth®
- Syncs to a mobile app
- Dual-channel to treat two locations of pain at once
- Heat combined with TENS
Choose a TENS device based on pain location, pain intensity and lifestyle
Chronic pain, with medium to high intensity, in multiple areas of the body
Look for a TENS unit with a range of options to account for different levels of pain in larger and smaller parts of the body. Features to consider include:
- Body pain modes for arms, legs, lower back, shoulders and joints
- Massage-like mode options
- A wide range of power levels for different pain intensities
- Modes and pads designed to treat multiple body pain locations
Example: Avail Wireless Dual-Channel TENS Unit
Body pain that responds to heat and massage
Heat therapies like warming patches and heat packs are alternatives to medication for relief of acute pain. Heat helps to soothe muscles and electrotherapy may improve blood flow.
Like heat, massage also affects blood circulation. TENS units combining heat and massage-like modes soothe and relieve muscle and joint pain.
Example: Heat Pain Pro Tens Unit
Chronic, medium to high-intensity pain, multiple body areas, portable/wireless
Wireless, dual-channel devices can conveniently treat multiple body locations at the same time while providing powerful relief. Bluetooth® connectivity with mobile apps makes wireless TENS units easy to control when pads are placed in hard-to-reach areas.
Electrotherapy can be applied while on the go, during light movement or activity. A wireless unit is an ideal way to get this benefit.
Example: Avail Wireless, Dual Channel TENS Unit
Medium intensity chronic pain, small and portable
Compact, portable units with adjustable power levels are an effective way to supplement home therapies when you’re traveling or at the office.
Example: Pocket Pain Pro TENS Unit
TENS device replacement pads
Depending on the type of device, TENS unit pads can be reused anywhere from 30 to 150 times and are washable up to 10 times. Always check the manufacturer’s instruction manual for details.
Convenience can be the deciding factor
Studies show TENS to be a safe and patient-friendly pain intervention. While different modes, power levels, and heat and massage features help deliver those results, pain-relief devices should also be flexible and convenient. Features like portability and wireless connectivity make it easier to use TENS devices when and where you need to. This makes your chosen device more effective by fitting your lifestyle.