Three Things to Consider Before Buying a TENS Unit

Electronic stimulation can help relieve muscle pain and help you relax.

Most people who experience chronic muscle or joint pain have tried multiple forms of treatment. Eventually, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machines enter the picture, often administered under the care of a chiropractor or physical therapist. Widely available for home use, a TENS unit delivers tiny electrical pulses to flood the nervous system and block pain signals. It may also stimulate the production of pain-relieving endorphins. While clinical proof for its effectiveness is limited, anecdotal evidence points to this non-surgical and drug-free method as effective for treating everything from arthritis to sports injuries and even labor pains. Inexpensive personal units are portable enough to deliver relief whenever you need it. Follow these guidelines to decide which type of machine is best for you.

This model acts as a massager to relieve muscle pain. TENS 7000

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Repeated use of TENS therapy can create a tolerance that reduces effectiveness. Look for a unit with a wide range of intensity settings, which will allow you to dial in the lowest setting that works but still offers some additional range for more aggressive stimulation when needed. A dual-channel TENS unit surrounds affected areas with separate electrical impulses to concentrate relief where you need it most.

This product has A and B channels and more than two dozen different settings. Belifu

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TENS units rely on self-adhesive pads to deliver electrical stimulation. Most pads are reusable for more than one session, some up to 40 or more times. Compare how many pads are supplied with the original machine, along with the number of times they can be used and the replacement cost. Some manufacturers offer a subscription service for pad delivery. Oversized pads are important if you need to treat large-muscle groups, such as the back or thighs.

This model is rechargeable so you can use it while you’re on the move. AUVON

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TENS is often confused with EMS (electronic muscle stimulation). While TENS focuses on the nervous system to block pain, EMS causes the muscles to contract, which promotes tissue development and healing. You can use EMS for muscle conditioning, rehab, or just relaxation, similar to the effects of massage. Units that combine TENS with EMS offer the best of both therapies in one compact package.