How Do You Use a TENS Unit?


Quick Answer

Connecting the electrodes from the transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machine is the first step before running the current through one's own body. The purpose of the electrification is to lessen the amount of pain people experience after surgery, as stated by WebMD.

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Full Answer

A TENS machine looks like a pocket radio and is powered by batteries. The electrodes on the TENS machine should connect to a specific area experiencing pain or a pressure point, setting up a circuit that stimulates nerves and transmits signals to the brain that either scramble or block normal signals communicating pain. Another possible explanation is that electrically stimulating the nerves spurs the body to make endorphins, natural painkillers, according to WebMD.

People generally use TENS to alleviate pain from a number of different conditions and illnesses. Most frequently, these involve bone, joint or muscle problems occurring with osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia or other conditions. TENS also can treat acute pain such as labor pain, as well as chronic pain which is long-lasting, and cancer pain. While TENS is viewed as safe, injury is possible for those who misuse the machine. Patients should ask their doctor or physical therapist to show them how to utilize the machine, notes WebMD.

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