Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, known by its acronym TENS, is a modality that uses electric current to activate nerves in order to decrease pain. The TENS unit is a small device, often battery-operated. In addition to providing pain relief, TENS machines may facilitate healing through various means. By adjusting skin temperature and improving blood circulation, they can alleviate inflammation and aid in repairing damage to nerves, tendons, and tissues. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation may result in instant and possibly prolonged pain relief. Through the release of endorphins and the control of nerves, TENS sends relief directly to the site of pain. Some people experience permanent pain relief after repeated sessions with a TENS unit. TENS is often used for the following conditions:

  • arthritis
  • neuropathy
  • numbness
  • tingling
  • fibromyalgia
  • nausea
  • period pain
  • pelvic pain caused by endometriosis
  • acute pain such as 
    • back pain
    • shoulder pain
    • leg pain
    • arm pain
    • hip pain
    • abdominal pain
    • muscle cramps
    • pulled/strained muscle
    • osteoarthritis


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