TENS Unit Benefits: 20 (Life-changing) Reasons You Should Use One

Geoffrey Lions
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1: Drug-free natural pain relief

TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) machines are used as an alternative to taking pain medication and for some, it’s a better option. The electric stimulation relaxes the nerves and muscles in the area of discomfort. TENS machines are said to stimulate the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller/analgesic.

Endorphins provide a natural, reliable, and non-addictive way to relieve pain. They may also help in reducing emotional response to pain. Endorphins also promote a general sense of well-being and can improve mood.

The FDA has approved TENS devices as a valid treatment for specific kinds of pain. That being said, their effectiveness will vary from person to person. For some people, TENS therapy works very well. For others, it may not be enough.

The great thing about TENS is that there are no side effects, it’s safe, it’s easy, and it’s inexpensive.

2: Produces endorphins

It’s hard to image that tiny unit producing pleasure. But TENS units actually produce endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that create a feeling of pleasure.

The mechanism is simple. Some discomfort is present. You use the device to block the source of discomfort, and the pleasurable feeling of endorphin production is then generated in your brain.

It’s called “non-painful electrotherapy”. It blocks the source of pain, and turns off pain receptors. Endorphins are the “happy chemicals” that travel to the brain to stop pain signals. The effect is immediate, and users inevitably experience an immediate sense of relief.

The feeling is often described as a warm, almost pleasurable, tingling sensation. Many subjects report a sensation like a tingling in the hands, spreading to the arms, neck, and shoulders.

3: Decreases pain signals to the brain

The reason for this is that the TENS unit sends constant stimulation to the nerves and sensory organs in the body, which signals the brain to be less sensitive to the pain signals.

The nerve impulses are blocked, which is similar to numbing an injured area. That’s why the unit is also used to deliver an electrical current during acupuncture treatments.

4: Retrains your nerves

The TENS Unit is a small, strong machine that sends a painless electronic signal to a nerve, which in turn blocks the pain signal to the brain. The device is usually attached to the skin with a sticky pad. A wire then connects the pad to the machine.

The TENS Unit features 10 pin-sized electrodes that channel the electrical impulse to the body. This current stimulates the nervous system, causing the brain to block the pain signals.

Some devices are FDA approved, while other treatments are not. Discuss your options with your physical therapist.

5: Reduces inflammation

When we exercise, we trigger inflammation, but this is not always a bad thing. Inflammation is our body’s reaction to repairing tissue. This inflammation causes anti-depressants to work and is why exercise makes us feel so good when we’re done.

The problem is that some of us are more sensitive to inflammation than others. Heart disease and obesity increase inflammation, and excess inflammation has been linked to depression, arthritis, diabetes, and autoimmune conditions like Grave’s disease.

People who suffer from this type of inflammation usually end up taking high doses of anti-inflammatory medications, but there’s no need for that with a TENS unit. Studies show that using a TENS unit can significantly reduce inflammation.

6: Control over your treatment

If you have fibro, chances are you will get a prescription for a pain killer from your doctor. Over a longer period of time, you will become more and more dependent on these pain killers because your nervous system is slowly changing into one of pain. Your nervous system becomes addicted to pain. The danger with this is that over time, you might need higher and higher doses of the painkiller. It’s a vicious cycle which can really damage your body.

This is why a TENS unit is so much better. With a TENS unit, you feel the pain, but you get control over your treatment and you can decide how much pain you need to be in.

7: Effective for different conditions

TENS Unit benefits are great for relieving pain, but have you heard that it works for other conditions?

Acupuncture has been shown to be particularly effective for several different conditions, including asthma, constipation, depression, nausea, fatigue, fibromyalgia and many other conditions. It is also a great alternative intervention in cases where people are sensitive or allergic to medications or drugs. This can be especially useful for individuals with heart conditions.

8: Little or no side effects

A TENS unit is a device delivering mild electrical impulses up and down the nerve pathway to the brain. It is no question that a TENS unit is the safer and cheaper alternative to surgery & prescription medications. Another advantage of using a TENS unit is that it is safe and relatively painless.

9: Effective complementary therapy

Acupressure points have long been used in Chinese medicinal treatment, and modern science has proven that applying electrical stimulation to these points can be effective in the treatment of a range of conditions, including headaches, the treatment and prevention of menstrual pain, and the treatment of infections. Acupressure therapy and the recently developed technique of non-invasive electrical stimulation has been shown to be beneficial in:

  • Reducing pain
  • Improving sleep
  • Improving mobility
  • Improving mood
  • Preventing the re-occurrence of migraine attacks

Once the treatment has ended, people continue to experience pain reduction, which can be attributed to the strengthening of the nerve cells in the affected area. Pregnant women have also found the treatment useful for pain relief in order to help them cope with the stress and fatigue of the pregnancy.

10: Suitable for chronic and acute pain

If you are suffering a chronic pain, like back pain, TENS unit can help decompress spinal discs and increase blood flow to affected areas, thus easing pain. For acute pain, TENS provides immediate pain relief without the side effects associated with pain medications.

11: Mimics massage

A TENS unit’s electrical signals resemble those of nerve impulses. Massage therapists use similar impulses through their tools, which can reduce pain, muscle spasms, tension, and swelling. Since a TENS unit’s impulses can be adjusted for duration, intensity, and frequency, much like a massage therapist would adjust his/her touch, many who get a TENS unit find that their treatments are better at managing their pain than any regular pain relief medication.

12: Non-invasive

Treatment for chemotherapy-induced neuropathy (nerves): One of the most common side effects of chemotherapy is severe nerve damage that can go so far as to cause intensive pain in some cases. There’s a growing industry of alternative therapies to help alleviate the nerve damage caused by chemotherapy. Of those therapies, electrical stimulation can help many patients.

As there is no cure for the condition, an ongoing therapy is needed to help ease the symptoms. Thus, for many patients, using a tens unit helps to give them ample relief and aids in their daily lives.

13: Use at home

You can apply a TENS unit anytime, anywhere. Applying a TENS unit requires no medical training. The electrical stimulation will ease any type of pain, but there are certain precautions you should know about first.

The best and safest way to apply a TENS unit is to find a comfortable sitting or lying down position. Apply the electrodes just below the painful area, and turn on the TENS unit. The same electrodes can be applied for the entire session (20 to 60 minutes), but it’s important to always use the rubber eared electrodes that came with the TENS unit.

Use Quick Treatments near the Pain

Apply TENS treatment for as long as necessary to feel relief from your pain. If the pain level increases or decreases, take the TENS unit off immediately. Apply the electrodes a little longer below that area to lessen the pain. You may even feel better even before the session is complete!

Apply the Cortex TENS Unit during Work

Do you work in an environment that would normally make you feel uncomfortable? Does it make your neck or shoulders tense up? If this is happening, then you may need an applied TENS unit to give you the extra relief you need to continue your daily work routine.

14: Compact

Compared with an Erectile Dysfunction pump or other bulky devices, the TENS unit is very easy to hide. It’s flexible and can be placed in a pants pocket or discreetly under a thong.

15: Portable

A TENS unit is a very small machine that connects to electrodes that you attach to the area of your body that hurts. It gently stimulates nerve endings and also blocks out the pain signals from going to your brain. TENS units are most commonly used to treat chronic pain and labor pain. But there are even more benefits than this!

They can be used for many reasons including:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Back pain
  • Headaches
  • Pre-surgery to relax muscles
  • Radiation pain
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Shoulder pain
  • Stroke rehabilitation
  • Post-surgery pain
  • Arthritis pain
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Sciatica
  • Anxiety
  • Menstrual pain
  • Chronic pain and neuropathy
  • How do they work?

They work by stimulating the nerve cells in a specific area of your body. They do this using a low-frequency electrical current that alternates between two electrodes placed on the painful or injured area. It blocks pain signals from reaching the brain which is why it feels like there is less pain.

16: Discreet

In a world that seems to have gone completely backwards, a TENS machine can be your friend. Somehow, it seems like society forgot how to be discreet. Whether we’re asking a stranger on the street to take our photo, or sharing our entire lives on social media, we seem to be becoming less and less considerate of the privacy of other people.

Not everybody wants the world to see their pain, so being able to take a small, portable TENS unit with you in your pocket can be a huge relief. Whether you’re going to work, to the grocery store, or on a date, you can hide your TENS unit in a small purse or inside of your pocket.

A lot of the times, people in pain are afraid to go out at all. For example, people recovering from fractures or surgery may be afraid to leave the house because they’re afraid of drawing attention to their injuries. But with a TENS machine, they can remain mostly pain-free during the day without needing anyone else’s help.

17: Simple to use

TENS unit provides relief for milder types of pain, and is as easy as turning on a machine and placing sticky pads on your skin.

When the appropriate nerve stimulation is provided, pain perception is reduced, allowing you to function normally and carry out daily activities. This type of treatment is often described as non-invasive, because it involves no surgery.

18: Affordable

The beauty of a tens unit is that they’re affordable. Some require no pads, and the replacement pads are quite cheap. With a tens unit, the initial investment is a fraction of an inversion table or a home gym.

Tens Units are also cheaper and more comfortable than heating pads. Tens units have two modes of operation: one setting that is perfect for targeting tight shoulder muscles and also a setting that works well for low back pain.

19: Long-term use

If you have been diagnosed with gastric reflux, meaning chronic heartburn or indigestion, you may have been advised to use a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit for long-term pain relief. While most people can benefit from short-term use of the electrical impulses, research has shown that in certain conditions, long-term use can also be beneficial.

In many conditions, long-term effects on pain from using TENS have been studied and the results have been quite good. People with chronic pain and disease may find long-term use of TENS leads to greatly-improved quality of life.

20: Purchased over the counter (OTC)

Not just on the physicians market, but you can find TENS units in almost any drugstore or local pharmacy. You can check with your local medical store as well; it’s also distributed to physical therapists, chiropractors, and massage therapists. As you can see, these units are a world-wide phenomenon.