What Does a TENS Unit Do? (Benefits & Risks)

What a tens unit do
In this Article
You will get to know “What does a TENS unit do?”. Like all other massage techniques and accessories, the TENS unit does great for pain relief. We have written a handy guide on the working mechanism of TENS unit something more than the user manual in the packing. Also, some precautions and possible side effects are mentioned for your better care.

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If you are familiar with other massage accessories such as massage chairs, leg massagers, portable massage tables, and many more. Then before going for any new massage device, you might do a check for its working procedure, side effects, and precautions. Let’s discuss our main topic, “what does a TENS Unit do.” It’s an electrical device that uses electrical impulses for pain relief. So as not to waste time, let’s dive into the more explanation below for a better understanding of all the game what is a TENS unit and how does it work.

What is TENS therapy?

TENS therpay
TENS is the abbreviation for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. This therapy involves a low voltage electrical current to provide pain relief. A battery-powered device, TENS Unit, is used for this therapy. It delivers electrical impulses with the help of electrodes placed on your skin’s surface, so if you want better and fast pain relief, place these electrodes near to the nerves where you are feeling pain or at the trigger points.

How TENS Unit work?

How tens unit work
The TENS unit is used for pain relief, which is much clear. But there is a conflict between two theories on How does TENs Unit work?. The first theory states that the electric current from this device stimulates the nerve cells to block the transmission of pain signals, thus modifying your perception of pain. According to the second theory, the level of endorphins (Body’s Natural Pain Killing Chemicals) is raised with nerve stimulation to block pain perception. Although, both theories agree on one point: nerve stimulation. Whatever any strategy used by TENS Unit, the end of the story is that you will get relief from pain.

There is a need for more explanation on parts of the TENS Unit; let’s do it. It consumes a space of small cell phone in your drawer. More, several set of electrode wires and end pads comes with it. Electrodes are connected to the devices at one end and are attached to 2 x 2-inch pads at the other end. With adhesive backing, each pad is positioned on specific areas of skin with nerve pathways in the area to be treated. In addition, the acupuncturist connects the TENS unit to acupuncture needles instead of direct skin contact.

What is TENS therapy used to treat?

Pain relief with tens unit
Enough detail on TENS therapy and the TENS unit working procedure is mentioned above. Now, let’s look at what TENS therapy through the TENS unit is used to treat. It gives you relief from both long-lasting and short-term pains. We have listed some wort pain conditions below from which you can get relived through this useful invention.

    Osteoarthritis – It’s a common form of arthritis and also known as the disease of joints. It locates most frequently on the hands, hips, and knees.
    Fibromyalgia – The condition when you feel aching and pain in muscles, tendons, and joints all over the body. Especially it targets the spine.
    Tendinitis – The inflammation or irritation in the connective tissues that transmit the muscle contraction force to the bones is caused by tendinitis.
    Bursitis – Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa (Closed, fluid-filled sac works as a cushion to reduce the friction between body tissues).
    Labor pain – This is caused by uterus muscle contractions and pressure on the cervix.
    Low back pain – This type might range from a dull ache to a stabbing or shooting sensation.
    Chronic pelvic pain – The pain in the pelvic area lasts for six months or longer, plus it may come and go or follows a regular cycle.
    Diabetic neuropathy – It damages the nerves that connect the brain and spinal card to the whole body.
    Peripheral artery disease – The arteries that supply blood to the body get hardened in this disease.

By reading all these pain conditions and the TENS unit role in their cure, your mind will be cleared from a question that how does a tens unit work to relieve the pain?

Benefits of TENS Unit

If you are looking for a non-invasive device for pain relief, TENS Unit is the one that can do it for you. You can use it alone or in addition to prescriptions. Sometimes your medications may be reduced if you are using the TENS Unit. But don’t make any adjustments to your medications without taking the doctor’s advice. Another best benefit the TENS unit holds is that it’s a portable device and makes it possible to get the pain cure everywhere you want.

At last, if you think that what does a tens unit do for back pain? And for the muscles. It treats well almost all kinds of pains in your body.

Possible side effects of TENS therapy

Besides its benefits and quick pain relief techniques, TENS Unit few side effects are also reported. Some of the patients have experienced burns to sites where the electrodes are placed. More, your skin may appear red, irritated, or the rash may be found if you are allergic to the adhesive used to fix the pad on the skin or the materials used in the pad itself. In addition, the sensation generated by the TENS unit might make you feel sensitive or uncomfortable.


Don’t use the TENS Unit if you have:

  1. A cardiac pacemaker.
  2. Spinal cord stimulator.
  3. In-dwelling pumps.
  4. Any implanted electronic device.
  5. Cancer.
  6. Diabetes.
  7. Cognitive impairment.
  8. Epilepsy.
  9. Skin irritation.
  10. Headache.
  11. Dizziness.
  12. Nausea.
  13. Or if you are pregnant.

Don’t use it when you are:

  1. Bathing.
  2. Sleeping.
  3. Driving.
  4. While using machinery.

Don’t use it on:

  1. Open wounds.
  2. Infected or inflamed skin.
  3. Cancerous lesions, even close to them.
  4. Skin with abnormal sensation.
  5. Any part of head or face.
  6. Any part of throat.
  7. Chest and trunk both sides at same time.
  8. Backbone directly.

More Massage Techniques:
What is a Swedish massage?
What is a Deep Tissue Massage?

What does a tens unit do for muscles? And how it relieves other body parts from pain. How does it work? What are its benefits? And some side effects plus the precautions. All this information is structured in this article by thorough research and the hard work of our team. Now you can give a professional touch to your TENS Unit use, and you might be aware of its improper use! Good luck.

Zeeshan Ayaz

Muhammad Zeeshan Ayaz is a digital marketing strategist at Mist Interactive. Alongside digital marketing, he is also a passionate content writer who mostly writes about lifestyle and home improvement related topics. His writing style is precise and mostly focuses on information with SEO but never at the expense of user intent. Before his writing and digital marketing career, he graduated in with a degree in Software Engineering.

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