TENS Units Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

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Some of the worst pain a person can experience is nerve pain.   Nerve pain can leave you feeling anxious and sleep deprived.

Obtaining complete pain relief for nerve pain is quite challenging and that is where the advent of the TENS has proven to be a solution. TENS is considered safe even for pregnant women and used even to cope with labor pain. Learn more about this amazing pain reliever in this article.

What is TENS?

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) uses low voltage electric current to alleviate pain. The apparatus consists of pocket-radio sized, small battery powered equipment connected to two electrodes. The electrodes are placed on the skin at the site of the pain or pressure point and electric circuit is created. When the low voltage current is released it stimulates the nerve fibers.

How does the TENS work?

TENS-PLACEMENT-300The exact theory by which TENS work is not entirely clear. One theory suggests that TENS creates an electric stimulus that blocks the pain signals from reaching the brain. It is suggested that pain is transmitted to the brain through the gate control theory of pain. This means, when the gate is open the pain signal reaches the brain and when the gate is closed the person does not feel the pain.

The TENS machine stimulates the non-pain carrying nerves, thus closing the gate. As the brain is busy dealing with the non-pain messages conveyed by the TENS impulses, the slower signals from the pain produced by the body is not perceived.

Another theory suggests the signals from the TENS machine may stimulate the production of endorphins which are natural pain killers, thereby, controlling the pain at the site of injury.

Who can use the TENS machine?

TENS can be used for relieving a multitude of nerve induced pain such as:


TENS can be used for relieving pain caused by physical injuries, surgeries, repetitive stress and so on.  This is one of the most common uses for TENS units.

Cancers and Tumors:

Cancers and tumors can induce nerve pain if the tumor grows on or near the nerve, and sometimes the tumor can grow out of the nerve itself. Chemotherapy and other treatment for cancer can also induce nerve pain. TENS can be used to relieve such pain with adjunct medications.


Patients with HIV are vulnerable to nerve pain and in most of the patients the initial symptoms show up as nerve pain of the hands and feet. The nerve damage may also be caused by the anti-viral drugs while treating HIV. TENS can be used in conditions of nerve damage due to HIV.

Post Herpetic Neuralgia:

Post herpetic neuralgia is the neural pain that occurs following an attack of shingles. This neuralgia is extremely painful and cannot be treated with pain medication alone. In such cases, the TENS can be used in treating the nerve pain.

Labor pain:

TENS is used to cope with labor pain and is found extremely useful by many expecting mothers.

The TENS machine can be a very handy way of controlling your pain. You can work with your Ridgeline Medical team member to decide if it is better for you to rent or purchase your TENS unit to help with your pain management program.