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Everything you need to know about TENS

The TENS pain therapy – a healthy alternative to painkilling drugs

Suffering from pain is depressing. And it is equally depressing to have to take painkillers again and again to relieve it, because you know that the pain will come back after some time. This is where TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) comes in. It is a advantageous alternative to drug pain treatments and has the goal of relieving you from taking tablets over time. In addition, the pain treatment with TENS with clearly less and more severe side effects than the usual treatment with drugs and is also easy to use.


You want to know if a pain therapy with TENS is also possible for your application? Inform yourself about the current possibilities of TENS therapy application types.

If your application should not be listed, our trained medical product advisors are available to you for further questions under the telephone number +49 7152 - 353 911 - 0 gladly from Mon-Fri from 9-17 o'clock.

History and effect of the stimulation current

Stimulus strategies were already being studied around 1900 by the Nobel Prize winner Walther Nernst. Stimulation current existed in different forms already in antiquity. Today, stimulation current is mostly used for pain treatment, for circulatory disorders or orthopaedic diseases. A special form of stimulation current therapy is the pacemaker, which stimulates the heart muscle. This form of pain treatment is also known under the acronym TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation).

The effect of the TENS stimulation current therapy is based on low or high frequency voltage, which usually penetrates the body without side effects. There it stimulates muscles and nerves. According to the gate control theory, pain can be treated gently and without medication because the body's own pain control can be strengthened. In addition, individual muscles and muscle groups can be specifically targeted, which can have a positive effect on the strength of the pelvic floor during incontinence.

Effect and application range of TENS stimulation current therapy

TENS is a irritation current therapy method, which makes a gentle pain treatment without drugs possible. The effectiveness of the method is based on the control cabinet theory according to Melzack and Wall. According to this theory, electrical impulses, which are generated by a special TENS device, for example the TENS/EMS Combo Device STIM PRO X9, are transmitted via a special TENS device, e.g. the TENS/EMS Combo Device. Electrode pads on the skin to the affected body parts where they block the nerve paths under the skin and thus prevent the transmission of pain stimuli to the brain.

This stimulation of the nerves reduces the pain in the affected area of the body and the user has to take less or no additional pain-relieving medication. So much for theory.

In practice, stimulation current can be used for acute and chronic pain. And indeed, the TENS therapy can cause small miracles in both cases.

For acute pain, simply apply it several times as needed and allow yourself to relax deeply through the electrical nerve stimulation, which is known as a pleasant tingling sensation. As soon as you feel pain again, apply TENS again.

In chronic pain, TENS can be just as effective and can achieve a relaxing, pain-relieving effect. The recommended duration of treatment for both chronic and acute symptoms should be 30 to 40 minutes, or longer if necessary.

The transcutaneous nerve stimulation is to be understood as a partner to the electrical muscle stimulation (EMS). The EMS is especially useful for the effective training of individual muscle parts and is an alternative to strength training in the gym. EMS is often used in addition to TENS to actively combat the causes of pain in addition to the pain treatment, which often lie in a weakened muscle. TENS therapy application types.

Learn more about the possible TENS therapy applications.

TOP 6 examples of use for TENS therapy

1. Pain in the back of the neck

Especially those caused by a herniated disc, caused by heavy physical work or a poor sitting posture during work in the office. To the application "TENS for back pain"


2. Arthrosis and joint pain: 

Complaints due to joint wear and tear lead to, among other things, to, for example, knee painknee joint pain or shoulder pain and can be controlled with stimulation current. Application case "TENS for arthritis and joint pain"


3. Rheumatoid arthritis

Even in inflamed joints, the TENS stimulation current can have an analgesic effect. Application case "TENS in Rheumatoid arthritis.


4. Menstrual cramps

What if you could alleviate your monthly menstrual problems with TENS and the monthly period is not so stressful anymore? To the application "TENS in Rheumatoid Arthritis"

5. wrist pain / thumb and fingers: 

The therapy with transcutaneous nerve stimulation can also help with pain in the hands, for example due to years of work at the desk. To the application areas: TENS for wrist pain or TENS for thumb and fingers or TENS for thumbs and fingers.


6. (tension) headache:

If the neck or back muscles are tense, this can sometimes result in more severe headaches. Instead of headache tablets, the gentle stimulation current therapy can help here to loosen the tense muscles and thus eliminate the cause. To the application "TENS for tension headaches"


Further types of pain and more information here

You can find further application examples on our TENS Application Overview

In order to fully exploit the promising potential of the pain therapy, you should always ensure that it is used correctly. Especially the placement of the electrodes plays a role, also to avoid potential side effects. Follow the safety instructions in the manual of your device.

Also make sure that the electrodes are in perfect condition. In order to ensure optimum function, they must not be cut to size or prepared in any other way. Furthermore, replace the electrodes from time to time if the adhesive strength decreases and the current is no longer optimally transmitted. By using a contact and cleaning spray, you can slow down the wear and tear and use your electrodes longer. For hygienic reasons, an electrode should only ever be used by the same person. Further information about electrodes can be found in our electrodes guide.

TENS is also recognized in strong professional circles as a very effective method for the therapy of various pains and impairments. But it has its limits and so it must be pointed out that certain diseases cannot be treated with TENS at all. In case of uncertainties you can also contact our trained medical device consultants at any time under the phone number +49 7152 - 353 911 - 0 {Mo-Fr from 9-17}.

We therefore recommend that you always seek medical advice before using TENS. Only your doctor can judge whether a therapy with stimulation current can work for your complaints.

What are the advantages of a TENS treatment?

Painkillers work naturally and relieve the pain. But often only with side effects. The transcutaneous nerve stimulation gets along with significantly fewer and weaker side effects and has many more advantages. And thus a few tangible reasons why you should rather switch from painkillers to TENS.

Is the TENS stimulation current therapy safe?

In addition, pain therapy with TENS is usually a safe and almost side-effect free therapy form.

Are there nevertheless risks, side effects and contraindications?

In rare cases, yes. First of all, note that the body may become accustomed to the treatment and its effectiveness may decrease somewhat over time. Do not despair, but simply apply the therapy with different parameters or with changing programs. This is how you can prevent the habit-forming effect.

It should also be mentioned that sensitive skin types can cause skin irritation. This occurs particularly with too long application on the same skin area and represents the most frequent side effect. This is not very serious and usually recurs after a short time. If not, talk to your doctor and have yourself examined. You may find that electrode pads for sensitive skin can help you to avoid the problem.

The contraindications consist of the fact that you should not use TENS (and also EMS) in certain cases or only under medical supervision.

Pay attention to the following, among others:

  • Pacemaker devices must not use stimulation current.
  • Do not use TENS if you have skin diseases or cardiac arrhythmia or if you suffer from epilepsy.
  • In case of pregnancy, the application must only be carried out under medical supervision.
  • In the case of cancer, TENS may only be used after a doctor's prescription.
  • metal implant trimmings andash; these also include copper spirals andash; should consult your doctor before use.

These are the most common reasons for not using stimulation current. In any case, please read the instructions of your device carefully and make sure that none of the contraindications described there apply to you.

Which axion TENS devices do we recommend?

We offer various stimulation current devices for the treatment of acute or chronic pain and combined devices for TENS pain therapy, EMS muscle stimulation and pelvic floor training. All devices have a large program selection and are suitable for beginners and advanced users. Read more about our three recommendations

The correct setting of your TENS unit

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation promises to combat pain without the use of painkillers or medication. Of course, the mode of action is different for each person.

Under "TENS Device Settings", you can find out which steps you should absolutely observe in the setting, application and procedure: 

The strong TENS does not replace a healthy lifestyle with sufficient exercise and this is what you need in order to get no pain at all. But if you feel uncomfortable or if you already have limited pain at this moment, then a TENS device could be your key to happiness and a more painless life.