People encountering chronic back or muscle pain often get a recommendation to use a TENS unit. The idea of treating your pain with an electric current usually makes you research every aspect of this treatment before you try it. So, If you are wondering what a TENS unit is and does it work, this post delivers all the details you need to make an informed decision.
Nowadays, there is not enough time to relax and recuperate those muscle that has been working all day long. However, with the advancement of technology, you can now say goodbye to your sore muscles. TENS unit seems to be a practical solution to stimulate the body’s own fighting body mechanism.
These devices can help the consumer relieve the pain almost instantaneously, and you won’t even have to do any lengthy procedures. We have been reviewing the best TENS unit for a long time to share with you only the best results.
What is the TENS Unit?
It is a battery-powered device that delivers high or low-intensity electric pulses via electrodes attached to adhesive pads to a person’s skin. TENS is a short form of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.
These electric impulses pass through your skin and flood your nervous system, which loses its ability to send pain signals to the brain or spinal cord.
The electric pulses stimulate the body so that it starts producing endorphins – which are known as natural pain relievers.
When you are feeling pain, it’s your nervous system that transmits pain signals. These electric pulses won’t let the nervous system do this job. Instead, these pulses stimulate the body to produce pain relievers. Thereby, when you use a TENS unit, then it offers instant pain relief.
When to Use a TENS Unit?
You can use this portable therapy device when experiencing pain in your back, neck, and joints. Many women get pain relief through tens units during labor and period pain. This device works great for people dealing with medical conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and endometriosis.
When to Avoid a TENS Unit?
If you have a heart problem or a pacemaker, or a metal implant of any kind, please don’t use this device. Pregnant women should never use it.
Never place electric pads on your neck. If you do so, it will cause spasms and lower your blood flow. Another place not to put these pads is your eyes as it may cause injury by increasing pressure on your eyes.
Are there any side effects of tens unit?
You may feel a tingling, buzzing, and trickling sensation while using this device, but you will get used to it. Some people experience redness and irritation in the place where they set adhesive pads. If you encounter the same problem, try using hypoallergenic pads.
Does TENS Unit Work? Is it really effective? Research
TENS Unit isn’t studied much during high-quality clinical trials or medical research. So, there isn’t enough evidence regarding the effectiveness of this machine.
- A trial study(https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29649082) explained that the TENS unit reduces head and neck pain in cancer patients.
- Another finding (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30941745/) suggests that TENS can alleviate chronic pain levels of adults.
- According to research, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3972497/) People with fibromyalgia can enjoy pain relief with constant use of TENS unit.
Although there is a lack of medical evidence that explains the unit’s effectiveness, some factors make you consider this electric therapy to deal with pain relief.
People taking opioids can find more benefits from a high-Frequency HF TENS unit. According to a review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4186747/pdf/nihms620660.pdf, HF unit works better than an LF unit.
Another thing to note is that this therapy works great and effectively only when electrodes are placed directly at acupuncture points.
TENS Units for Back Pain
Back pain issues are pretty common among people all around the globe. So, when it comes to its solutions, people use painkillers, therapies, meditation, and stretching. Pain medications make you addicted in the long run, so you need to rely on a TENS unit that works as a supplement.
It offers temporary back pain relief. If a person starts using a TENS unit regularly, he can depend less on pain medications and more on TENS units. When you use this electrode therapy, it reduces your focus from pain up to 30-40 percent when the machine is on and almost 5-10 hours afterward.
Does TENS Unit work effectively for Back Pain?
Two theories support the use of TENS units during back problems. Let’s find out more about them.
- The Gate Control Theory: As soon as you experience back pain, it activates smaller diameter pain fibers. For getting relief from this pain, you turn on your Low-frequency TENS unit that stimulates large-diameter pain fibers. Your brain doesn’t get signals from tiny fibers as large fibers are active. It’s a way of diverting brain signals through electric pulses.
- The lesser of the Two: According to this theory, when you turn on your High-Frequency TENS unit, electric pulses stimulate your body’s nerves that start releasing local neurotransmitters known as endorphins, which block pain signals.
TENS Unit for Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts for three to six months and after passing the expected healing period. Many people get relief from this pain through the regular use of TENS units.
You should use this unit for at least 30 minutes to get some great results. It will work for you when you are active. It won’t work effectively when you are lying down, resting, or sitting still.
How Long Should You Use a TENS Unit?
If you have muscle spasms, you can stimulate your muscles with this unit for almost 10-15 minutes when you experience total spine pain like tension in your lumbar, cervical and thoracic parts.
It’s better to use this machine for up to two hours on every part for getting better results.
Is TENS Unit Work for Everyone?
The way you respond to this therapy depends on your medical condition, pain level, and other personal characteristics. Some people don’t respond well to this therapy, while other experience ultimate pain relief to the extent that they stop relying on pain medication too much.
If this unit works for you, you can focus on your routine life and keep this handy device with you. Whenever you experience some pain, you can start treating yourself. No need to take a pill every time to feel better. You can resume and improve the normal functioning of your life through regular use.
Is it safe to use the TENS Unit?
Yes, it is safe to use this unit as long as you know how to apply adhesive pads correctly. If you place pads improperly, it may cause electric burns on your skin or lead to skin irritations. Please don’t set these pads on some areas where you feel numbness, as you may burn yourself by doing so.
Unsure how to use it? Do this therapy under the supervision of a doctor or physical therapist to prevent side effects and get desirable results.
Best TENS Unit by 10 Consumers
Due to high demand, many manufacturers are making these devices. We know that if you are new, there is a chance you may fall into a scam. To save you, here is a list of the ten best TENS unit you can buy, each with a unique specifications.
- Best For Multiple Users: Belifu Dual Channel TENS
- Best Conventional Design: iStim A6 Analog Rechargeable Dual Channel TENS Unit
- Best Portable TENS Unit: HAUSBELL Dual Channel Tens Unit
- Best EMS and TENS Option: Cure Choice Dual Channel TENS + EMS
- Best Overall: AccuRelief Complete 3-in-1 TENS Unit
- Best Innovative TENS Unit: OMRON Avail TENS Unit
- Most Clinically Safe: Premier Plus Rechargeable TENS Machine
- Best Presets: Intensity at Home TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator
- Best for Ages 20-35: Balego EMS Digital Neuromuscular NMES Stimulator MT100I
- Best for Sports Fatigue: Compex Sport Elite 2.0 Muscle Stimulator with TENS Bundle Kit
Belifu Dual Channel TENS
- 1 x TENS Massager
- 2 x Large Electrode Pads
- 6 x Medium Electrode Pads
- 1 x Touch Pen
- 2 x Small Electrode Pads
- 3 x Electric Wires
- 1 x USB Cable
- 1 x Carry Case
The first product on the list of best TENS unit is from Belifu. The main reason this is here is that it contains multiple pulse modes. And the best thing is you can adjust the intensity of the pulses. There are two different ports for each user. If you and your partner are having chronic pain, then use the device to cure that.
Each side has its controls, meaning your partner won’t affect your pulse intensity. The unit is portable, and users can either charge it using a USB or a wall charger. And, there is a carrying case available so you can take the device anywhere and can use it anytime. And, there is a touch display so you can see and control all the modes easily.
- Water-resistant for enhanced protection.
- A lifetime warranty makes it easily claimable.
- Durable structure.
- Six electrode pads for extra back-up.
- Multiple charging options.
- Electrodes do not contain gel.
2. iStim A6 Analog Rechargeable Dual Channel TENS Unit
- Package Dimensions : 10.83 x 7.56 x 2.64 inches; 1.16 Pounds
- Batteries : 1 Lithium Polymer batteries required. (included)
- Date First Available : October 10, 2019
- Manufacturer : Everyway-Medical
- ASIN : B07QW5TM5V
- Best Sellers Rank: #129,050 in Health & Household Amazon
If you are looking for something that has a straight and simple design, then the iStim A6 Analog Rechargeable TENS Unit is for you. The device comes with two separate stations that you can use without any difficulty. Users only have to plug the wires in and adjust the pulse intensity using the knobs provided here.
There are two controls available here. One is the width of the electric pulse, and the other is the time to control the level. Other than that, there is an LED indicator that shows whether the machine is on or not. The unit is very lightweight, and any user can use it without any difficulty.
- Adhesive electrodes hold places strongly.
- A rechargeable battery makes it portable.
- Basic controls for new users.
- Lightweight design allows for easy carriage.
- Not programable.
3. HAUSBELL Dual Channel TE
- Product Dimensions : 3.46 x 2.28 x 1.89 inches; 11.36 Ounces
- Batteries : 1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
- Date First Available : March 30, 2020
- Manufacturer : HAUSBELL
- ASIN : B086JS7356
- Best Sellers Rank: #45,749 in Health & Household #89 in Muscle Stimulators & Accessories
HAUSBELL Dual Channel TENS Unit is the only item here that contains more than 20 different levels of intensity. The advantage of this is that if there is a new user, he/she can adjust the intensity according to their requirements. If you are looking for something that gives instant results, then this TENS Unit is for you.
The package comes with a traveling case that will save the device from accidents and mishaps. The unit is portable, meaning you only have to charge that inbuilt lithium battery. The best feature is that its battery lasts for a very long time. The item is very safe to use because it contains intelligent smart control that saves you from injuries.
- The treatment-point chart is available for accurate healing.
- Simple to operate because of easy controls.
- Lightweight design.
- Travel case included in the box.
- Twenty intensity levels to suit your needs.
- No warranty available.
Hausbell Dua channel is considered the best portable tens unit device due its the long battery.
Yes, the Cure Choice Dual Channel unit works as a TENS device. But, it has another feature also. If you are looking for weight loss, then this the one for you because the item contains a hybrid design, and you can use it as an EMS machine. The modernized technology enters deep into the tissue and repairs the muscles on a molecular level.
The machine is optimum for users who are looking for muscle and tension relief. There are ten electrode pads available that you can use at any part of the body and the beneficial thing is you can wash and reuse the pads. The item comes in a compact size, and its non-evasive method saves users from any incident. And the UI of the device is very friendly and easy to use.
- Can be used as a non-addictive alternative.
- Storage pouch availability makes it easy to carry.
- Smart lock for preventing mishaps.
- Effective weight loss through EMS.
- Ten pads for ease.
- No auto-off switch.
5. AccuRelief Complete 3-in-1 TENS Unit
- 25 levels of intensity
- 6 preset programs with 6 customizable programs to choose the type of relief you want
- Use with 2 or 4 wired electrodes
- Easy to read LED screen
- Safe for all users
AccuRelief Complete TENS Unit is the only product here that contains three different features. You can use it as a TENS unit, an EMS machine, or a simple massager. The EMS machine will target muscle soreness and heal it efficiently. Moreover, the TENS feature will block the pain receptors and override the signals so it can repair the affected area.
There are six built-in presets with six customizable programs for targeted pain therapy. And the best thing is they are adjustable as well as programable. The unit uses state of the art control technology that provides adjustable intensity modes. It will help you in choosing the right level.
- Provides instant pain relief.
- Stimulates muscles using electric pulses.
- Promotes oxygenation by elevating blood flow.
- Adjustable intensity allows for a better experience.
- Can be used as a simple massager when needed.
- May need frequent repairment.
6. OMRON Avail TENS Unit
- Product Dimensions : 5.5 x 11 x 4.88 inches; 2.24 Pounds
- Item model number : PM601
- Department : Unisex-Adult
- Batteries : 1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
- Date First Available : December 19, 2017
- Manufacturer : Omron Healthcare, Inc.
- ASIN : B077DG4F1K
OMRON has changed the method to muscle stimulation by releasing its Avail version. The product is entirely cordless, meaning there are no wires. The only way to control the item is by using Bluetooth. There is an app available that you can link with the unit and can manage the features.
If you have Lower Back, Arm, Leg, Shoulder, Foot pain, then this is the optimum product for you. The package contains two OMRON devices that you can attach to different parts of the body and can control individually. And for charging, there is a charging pad available. Place the unit on the station, and it will start charging itself.
- Five massage modes.
- Allows personal control for each side.
- Drug-free treatment solution.
- Bluetooth controls – make any screen your own.
- Truly wireless TENS solution.
- May cause tingling sensations.
7. Premier Plus Rechargeable TENS Machine
- Package Dimensions : 10.44 x 8.08 x 2.72 inches; 1.35 Pounds
- Item model number : EM6300A
- Date First Available : April 11, 2017
- Manufacturer : Med-Fit
- ASIN : B06Y6MR9TF
Premier Plus has integrated two different technologies to provide a pain-free experience. The first one is the Neuromuscular simulation. It stimulates the pain receptors and provides an optimum boost that is required for muscle fiber. Secondly, the TENS unit will provide the electrical pulses to heal chronic pain.
If you are looking for something that has an adjustable time and an auto-off switch, then go for this TENS unit because it contains all those features. Other than that, the item contains twenty-four different programs that are clinically proven.
- Pause function available.
- Five-year limited warranty.
- Contains EMS features for pain-free weight loss.
- More than twenty clinically approved programs.
- Auto-off keeps the device and user safe.
- Not for kids under 12.
8. Intensity at Home TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator
- Package Dimensions : 7.13 x 5.83 x 1.89 inches; 9.14 Ounces
- Item model number : E200-6R
- Batteries : 4 AAA batteries required. (included)
- Date First Available : March 19, 2018
- Manufacturer : Roscoe Medical
- ASIN : B079YYJQWM
Whether it is back pain or leg strain, every type is curable with the help of a muscle stimulator from Intensity corporation. The device uses electrotherapy to repair the muscle, and the best advantage of that is it is completely drug-free.
This is the most advanced muscle pain reliever because it contains presets according to each body part. In other words, there is a specific setting for the arm and a certain intensity for the leg part. Other than that, you can also adjust the parameters of the unit for maximum results.
9. Balego EMS Digital Neuromuscular NMES Stimulator MT100I
- Product Dimensions : 12 x 9 x 1.5 inches; 14.4 Ounces
- Item model number : BAL100I
- Date First Available : May 3, 2018
- Manufacturer : AmazonUs/BAQK2
- ASIN : B07CVGN7MC
This fantastic piece of machinery is very high in demand and can make those sore and painful muscles go away almost instantaneously. The great thing about this device is that not only will your pain vanish instantly, you can also control the number of waves and how much of the amperes will flow out. This is important because these devices essentially stimulate the muscles from deep within.
The user interface is simple, and the patches are flexible to be attached to almost every part of your body. This happens because not only does it make your muscles lose tension, but it also helps them to regenerate. This is important because now that muscle will be stronger than ever.
- Several massage modes.
- LED display for better and easier understanding.
- Current is displayed.
- Effective muscle recovery.
- Effortless weight loss method.
- Only for people of ages 20 to 35.
10. Compex Sport Elite 2.0 Muscle Stimulator with TENS Bundle Kit
- Product Dimensions : 5.38 x 3.75 x 1 inches; 8.47 Ounces
- Item model number : CX182WI01
- Batteries : 1 Product Specific batteries required. (included)
- Date First Available : November 7, 2017
- Manufacturer : DJO Consumer LLC
- ASIN : B07783LXJ7
This fantastic device helps the consumer lose the pain in their body parts and helps them gain relaxation. The main thing about this device is its ability to increase the muscle’s motor ability and therefore increases the functionality of the muscle itself.
It includes a ten program software with 4 for strength. 2 warmups, three recovery modes, and one TENS mode. This machine is the whole package for people who want to lose the pain in their legs, arms, and or other parts. The device is durable, and the functionality is excellent.
- Increase motor ability.
- The patches attach firmly.
- Hasten modes.
- Recovery of muscles is quick.
- Assists in building explosive strength.
- Led screen may glitch out sometimes.
Advantages of TENS Unit
Due to advancements in technology, the companies are following the “work from home” strategy because outstanding results have been noticed for this move. However, this has to lead to an increase in the cases of muscle fiber distortion and strain hike. There are several healing methods that a person can use, and one of them is the TENS unit. Following are the benefits of the TENS unit:
- Pain Relief
The first use of these TENS unit is pain relief. Whether it is back pain or arm pain, these devices are the optimum solution for you. By using nerve stimulation, the TENS unit reduces the feeling of chronic pain and provides a relaxing experience.
- Non-Invasive Technique
A TENS unit uses state of the art noninvasive technique to relieve the pain. This method is very user friendly and does not affect other parts of the body.
- Effective and Efficient
If you are looking for something that has long-lasting effects, then go for stimulation technology, and a TENS unit is the best way to achieve that.
- Portable & Easy to Use
There is no rocket science needed for these devices because they are easy to operate. With a press of a button, the devices start their healing procedure.
- Increased Circulation & Healing
These devices block the brain signals and aids in improving the blood flow in nerves. Moreover, with that, muscle tension is released, and the fibers are repaired.
Buying Guide: TENS Unit
As mentioned, we have added a buyer’s guide that contains some of the parameters worth considering before buying the product.
- Different Massage Modes
If you are buying a TENS unit, make sure that it has a variety of massage modes to help you in relieving the pain.
The reason is one mode can cause a tingling effect, and there is a chance it can burn the area.
There is no point in buying a TENS unit if it is not portable. The reason is these devices consist of an instant relief design. In other words, they are quick.
Make sure that the TENS unit you are buying is easy to carry and contains rechargeable batteries.
- Extra Sticky Pads
Another factor to consider is the sticky pad. There is a chance a sticky pad can deteriorate when used for a long time. So, if you are buying a TENS unit, check whether there are extra pads available or not.
- Adjustable Timer
There are TENS units available out there that don’t have an adjustable timer. It is harmful if you fell asleep due to the soothing effect. Look for this option when buying the product.
- Reading Policies
The last parameter to look for is the warranty. It is because TENS units are electronic devices, and there is a chance any part can fry up. Check whether the warranty is available or not.
These devices are popular among senior people, and they have relevant questions available out there that will further help you in selecting the right product.
Can you overuse a TENS machine?
TENS Unit, when used for a long tempo, can affect the area. The electrical pulses can cause muscle soreness and can result in unpleasant sensations.
How often should you use a TENS unit?
If you have chronic pain, then it is preferred to use a TENS machine every two days.
When should you not use a TENS machine?
If you have an open injury or there is blood sipping from a wound, do not use a TENS machine.
The reason is it can cause further complications to the injury because of electrical pulses.
What does a TENS unit do for muscles?
TENS unit blocks the nerve signals and oversides them through its electrical pulses. It then repairs the muscle fibers to the molecular level.
Does a TENS unit help with inflammation?
No, the TENS unit is to relieve muscle pain. They do not help with inflammation.
Can a TENS unit burn belly fat?
A lot of people confuse a TENS unit with an EMS machine. An EMS machine helps in burning belly fat. A TENS unit is only for muscle pain.
Can a TENS unit build muscle?
These devices do not help in building muscle. Rather they relive the pain caused by muscle pulling.
How long does TENS pain relief last?
TENS machines work by using electrical pulses. These pulses go deep into the body and repair the muscle. The relief from this method is the long term.
Will a TENS unit help with arthritis pain?
Yes, you can use the TENS unit for any type of pain. Whether it is leg pain or arthritis, it is curable with the device.
Can you use a TENS unit machine on your hands?
If you are experience pain in your hands, then attach the sticky pad, and the result will be visible.
Whether it is an adult or kid, a job person, or an athlete, anyone can face pain issues. There are millions of methods, and some of those methods are very expensive. If you want to save money and get a pain-free experience, a TENS unit is preferred.
We have created a list of the best TENS units that will help you in selecting the right product. The guide contains all the relevant information that will assist you in this pathway.
If you ask us, the item that has got the first place is from TechCare. The reason is it is easy to use and consists of plenty of modes.
We hope that this guide will help you in selecting the right product.