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Patient Guide to TENS

Tens can be used to treat most types of pain where the cause has been determined including:

  • Arthritis
  • Back Pain
  • Bruising
  • Calf Strain
  • Dead Leg
  • Fibrositis Joint Pain
  • Headaches Migraines
  • Knee Pain
  • Lumbago Muscle Stress
  • Neck Pain
  • Neuralgia
  • Osteo-arthritis
  • Period Pains
  • Postherpetic Neuralgia
  • Pregnancy/ Labour Pains
  • Rheumatism
  • Sciatica
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Sleeplessness
  • Spondylosis
  • Sports Injuries
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Tenosynovitis
  • Wrist Pain

It is useful for you to have a pain assessment before you start TENS. This will identify what kind of pain you have and exactly where it is. If you have numb areas on your skin for example, these will need to be avoided as TENS needs an intact nerve pathway to work.

Two channel (four electrode) machines are more flexible especially if the pain is large or widespread.

Start with conventional TENS with a continuous pulse settings.

  • Use middle pulse frequency(approx 80-100 per second) and pulse duration (100-200 microseconds).
  • Increase the intensity until the sensation is strong and a little uncomfortable, then turn it down slightly, until comfortable.
  • You may need to experiment with the settings as there is no sure way of telling which combination will suit you without trial and error.
  • Put the electrodes on normal healthy skin. Check to make sure you dont’t have any cust or other breaks in the skin which could be very uncomfortable and react badly.
  • Take time to find the best electrodes placements - this may be tricky.

If your muscles start to twitch. This may mean that the TENS signals are too strong or too fast. If you cannot feel any tingling at all. This may mean that the signal is too weak or too slow.

The electrodes should be removed at least once a day if the TENS treatment is used around the clock. The skin under the electrodes must be checked to see if it is red or tender. The skin should also be cleaned and dried while the electrodes are off. Put lotion on your skin where the electrodes were placed. The electrodes should be put in a new place for each new treatment. This will help prevent the skin from becoming red or sore.

Turn the control knobs to “OFF”. Unplug the electrode wires from the TENS unit.

The electrodes may be left on your skin if you will have another TENS treatment soon. If not, remove the electrodes. Wash the skin where the electrodes were placed. Put the self adhesive electrodes back in the packing and store in a dry cool place.