How Does a TENS Unit Work in Pain Management?


A TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, is a small unit operated with a battery. Its main use is to help people suffering from pain. It improves the pain and makes them feel relaxed. There are adhesive pads with the device connected with leads placed around the patient’s area feeling pain. The main task of these adhesive pads is to change the pain signals in your body by adjusting frequency and intensity. It is a lightweight device that you can take out by attaching it with your belt or in your bag to use anytime you want to get relief from pain. Best TENS Unit Reviews by Rehabonthenet.

A TENS unit can be a great tool for pain management. People suffering from different types of pain can use it to get comfortable. This article will discuss the possible uses and benefits that can help in pain management. Would you please keep reading to read the brief information about it?

How Does a TENS Unit Work in Pain Management?

The TENS unit contains a huge meaning in its four-letter letters T, E, N, and S. The T is Transcutaneous through the skin.

The E is Electrical which means that the unit will contain electrical pulses placed on your skin. The electrical pulses will send the pain signals to the brain.

The N is Nerves that means the pain signals travel from nerves and the spinal cord.

The S is Stimulation which tells that the electric shocks of TENS machines might block pain signals, then the brain receives fewer or no calls from the pain source.

Professionals estimate that the TENS unit helps pain management, but there is no satisfactory evidence to prove its effectiveness. Multiple types of research show that it can be very beneficial for reducing pain in people fighting cancer. But due to limited clinical trials, it is not good to conclude.

All you need is to attach the adhesive pads around the painful area. It will give you tingling sensations during the procedure that will lead to a decrease in pain. The unit will produce endorphins that work as a natural painkiller for your body, and you will start feeling relaxed after the treatment.

Uses of TENS Unit

Due to insufficient scientific and clinical trials, it is difficult to call the TENS unit effective for pain management, but it might help manage the following conditions.

  • Knee pain
  • Periods Cramps
  • Sports injuries
  • Pelvic pain
  • Neck pain
  • Arthritis
  • Labour pain

The professionals state that it can help treat different types of pains.  But the results depend on the condition of the individual and the kind of pain. It is almost the safest way to cure pain, but you should first ask your physician about using a TENS unit. It would help if you do not use it while driving.

TENS unit and heating pads for period cramps are two of the most effective stuffs you can use while you are menstruating.

Precautions While Using a TENS Unit

You have to be very careful if you are using a TENS unit because it might cause some irritations on your skin if you have some sensitivities with electric pads. Don’t do the following.

  • Don’t place the pads on the sides of your neck
  • Placing pads on temples cause damages
  • Could you not use them on your mouth and eyes?
  • Don’t place it on infected or broken skin.
  • Placing pads on the chest and back at the same time can cause issues. So could you not do it?
  • Pregnant ladies should not use it because it can directly affect the child.


TENS might be valuable for addressing pain, but there is not enough proof about its effectiveness in pain management that is why always use it after discussing it with your doctor.


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