How to Use a TENS Unit


A TENS unit or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator is a portable device used for treating pain as an alternative to medication. TENS units provide electrical stimulation to nerves in areas of pain. The sensations from TENS unit electrodes cause the nerves to alter the messages they send to the brain. TENS unit pads give nerves a tingle that interrupts the perception of pain. Using a TENS unit for pain is not a cure, it simply gives the impression of experiencing less pain. TENS units use nine volt batteries and they’re smaller than a personal CD player.

Wash the skin. Apply rubbing alcohol where you plan to stick the tens unit pads and let the area dry.

Rub gel on the side of the pads that go against the skin. Use gauze tape to keep TENS unit pads in place.

Plug the wire connector pins into the TENS unit electrodes inside the pads. Plug the other end of the wires into the TENS unit.

Turn the control knobs up slowly until the stimulation is satisfactory. One setting controls the intensity of the electrical signal, the other controls the speed.

Clip the TENS unit on a belt or carry it in a pocket to use at your discretion.

Tips & Warnings

  • If a tens unit offers no relief, or if pain becomes worse, change the location of the pads. Remove the pads once a day and clean the skin underneath.
  • Do not bring a TENS unit into the bath or shower.

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