10 Effective Uses of A Tens Unit

effective uses of a tens unit

If you think TENS machines are just for relieving back and neck pain, it’s probably the right time to get your facts straight. You see, TENS units offer more than just pain relief and that’s exactly why it’s becoming more and more popular these days.

If you are seriously considering owning one for home use, here are 10 things you can use the best TENS unit for.

1Improving cardiovascular health

High blood pressure and heart diseases are extremely common these days. Given today’s diet, that’s not really surprising. An unhealthy diet partnered with a sedentary lifestyle can make anyone at risk of such conditions.

In one study involving 13 healthy men and series of real and fake TENS treatment, the real ones were able to improve blood pressure and resting heart rates. This only shows how TENS treatment may be useful in reducing blood pressure and heart rate.

Take note, however, that not everyone with a heart condition can benefit from TENS treatment. In fact, it’s actually contraindicated to patients with pacemakers and severe heart disorder.

2Enhancing performance in sports

Although the studies concerning the use of TENS treatment in enhancing athletic performance isn’t conclusive, there’s evidence suggesting that using a TENS machine while stretching increases and improves one’s range of motion. It also lessens muscle pain.

3Reducing labor pains

Using a TENS unit can also relieve the pain associated with childbirth. It works not by removing all the sensations of the contractions but by interrupting the pain signals that get to your brain. This process results in two different effects. It makes you less aware of the pain or triggers the production of endorphins to help you cope with the discomfort better.

4Improving lung functions

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD is a condition in which patients experience difficulty breathing. It happens when the inflammation obstructs the flow of air to the lungs. TENS can increase lung capacity or the amount of air the lungs can hold as well as improve the overall symptoms in patients with COPD.

5Improving the damage caused by stroke

Stroke often leaves an extensive damage to the brain which makes it difficult for patients to completely recover. They end up suffering from the inability to speak properly, walking, and moving around. The application of TENS may help address them.

TENS therapy can help stroke patients regain their muscle movements through muscle and nerve stimulation. When used in combination with rehab exercises, the recovery can be much faster.

Of course, the effects will vary on how the body responds. Some patients can take a longer time to show recovery.

Additionally, TENS machines also offer benefits to patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is marked by uncontrollable tremors. Using TENS on the patients’ arms and hands can suppress their tremors to about 62%. Applying TENS to their legs and feet, on the other hand, can improve their ability to walk.

6Fighting depression and anxiety

Depression and anxiety can be crippling and medication and psychotherapy may not always help. And for patients turning to medication, there’s a long list of side effects they have to deal with.

With TENS treatment, however, it’s easy for patients to regain their balance without the nausea, drowsiness, insomnia, constipation, and blurred vision they can get from taking anti-depressants. TENS units trigger the production and release of endorphins which reduces the symptoms of depression.

See Also: 20 Psychiatric Nursing Mnemonics and Tricks

7Providing relief for muscle soreness

The electrical stimulation you can get from using a TENS unit creates and sends signals to the different muscle groups in your body to aid in circulation. That results in your muscles pumping out waste and facilitating muscle recovery.

8Reducing inflammation

Inflammation can cause more pain and discomfort which can make it harder for anyone to function normally. In some cases, it may even cause a person to limit or stop using the affected parts because of the anticipated pain. This can lead to muscle atrophy.

Proper stimulation with a TENS unit can greatly help reduce the inflammation associated with pinched nerves, sciatica, and degeneration of discs. It can also minimize the inflammation in deep muscle fibers.

Using the machine routinely should be able to aid in faster rehabilitation and prevent muscle wasting. The relief it provides can also eliminate the fear of pain, allowing a person to maintain their normal strength.


Most people who buy TENS units actually use them as massagers. The units feature different pulse patterns which users can program depending on their needs and preferences. They can increase or decrease the intensity level of their machine to achieve relaxation.

One good reason why people favor them for massages is that they are easy to use at home. One simply needs to place the TENS pads on the muscles that require stimulation, choose the right program setting, and the machine does the rest. There’s no need for any invasive procedure or complicated preparation just to enjoy it.

The tricky part, however, is in finding the correct muscles to stimulate.

10Managing pain

This is probably the most common reason why people invest in TENS machines. The devices offer a safer and more affordable way of managing pain. They come without the risk of dependency or growing an immunity to pain medications.

TENS machines, however, don’t always deliver the pain benefits they intend to. For some people, following a certain routine in electrical impulse stimulation helps. They can taper their medications as their bodies get used to that said routine.

See Also: Nursing Care Plan for Pain Management


TENS machines are effective in relieving pain, minimizing inflammation, providing relaxation, and preventing certain medical conditions. However, for them to be effective, you need to know exactly what type to buy, how to use it, and the best ways to place the pads for proper stimulation. The number of times you use the unit also plays a role in the benefits you get from it. Following a routine can make recovery and rehabilitation a lot faster.