TENS electrode placement and correct applications
How TENS can help you
It pinches, it stings, it hurts. Almost everyone has to deal with physical pain from time to time. Especially people who work a lot in a sedentary position and are therefore prone to neck and back pain.
Whether it hurts a little or a lot - pain of all kinds drags down the quality of life considerably. TENS stimulation current therapy - i.e. electrical nerve stimulation - can help you relieve pain of all kinds. And it does so without medication, without chemicals and, if used correctly, without side effects.
TENS is based on the principle of electrostimulation. Using electrodes, gentle stimuli with the appropriate current strength are conducted through the skin into the nerve pathways to block them. As a result, the pain signals can no longer reach the brain and you feel less pain. Thanks to handy TENS devices, you can even carry out the applications at home or in the office. You don't need any special previous knowledge for this either. It only requires a little precision in the selection and positioning of the electrodes. You could also call the concept self-help for acute and chronic pain.
Your advantages with TENS applications at a glance
✓ Immediate pain relief: you are in pain at that moment and not when you get an appointment with the doctor. With an appropriate TENS device and the matching electrodes, you can simply use the nerve stimulation at home or in the office and relieve pain immediately.
✓ Powerful effect: Most users are extremely impressed by the way TENS treatment works and record great success in pain treatment and muscle relaxation and in remedying circulatory disorders. Of course, this is no guarantee that it will work equally well for every user.
✓ Combinable: If you cannot yet live without medication, especially for chronic pain, then that does not matter. TENS treatments can be wonderfully combined with medication therapies and thus evoke a maximum treatment effect.
✓ No previous knowledge required: You can simply use your TENS unit at home without needing any previous knowledge.
✓ Can be used anytime and anywhere: You can use a TENS therapy flexibly. Whether at home or in the office, for example.
Our most popular TENS EMS electrodes
How TENS treatment can help you
Pain-free thanks to nerve stimulation - this is the promise of TENS therapy, which can work excellently for most users. TENS stands for "transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation" and is aimed at people with acute as well as chronic pain who want to relieve it. Already after a short time you can achieve the first successes. TENS therapy is painless and, if used correctly, has no side effects. But how does it work at all? And what needs to be taken into account so that you can get your pain under control. We will help you answer these questions.
All application possibilities at a glance
Arms & Hands:
Legs, feet, knees:
For which complaints can you use TENS?
In principle, you can use TENS anywhere on the body to relieve pain. Thus, TENS therapy is conceivable for many types of pain. Here you will find all the possible applications.
TENS must not be performed in some situations. These contraindications include:
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Pregnancy (only with medical advice)
- Wearing a pacemaker
- Skin irritation, inflammation or open wounds at the intended site
- Metallic implants in the body (this includes copper IUDs)
- Mental illness
Do not place the electrodes on the neck or chest!
What are the experiences of TENS users?
However, many users are very positive about TENS. Read the testimonials of customers who have already tried our TENS EMS combination unit STIM-PRO X9. They often talk about quick effects - combined with a significantly higher quality of life. And also from a scientific point of view, there are many indications that the form of therapy with TENS can bring about a quick and significant reduction in pain. Thus, TENS devices in connection with the correct electrode placement can reduce pain in the back , the shoulders  or also in arthritis . In addition, several studies have also found that TENS increases blood flow in the muscles. In addition, stimulation current has been used in clinics and doctors' offices for decades.
However, TENS is not a cure, but merely a form of pain treatment. There is a simple reason for this: most pain has a deeper cause that needs to be addressed. Especially with a healthy and active lifestyle. Often TENS is also combined with electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) an artificially created stimulation of the muscle. The muscle reacts as usual with a muscle contraction and consumes energy through the work done. In this way, the causes of pain can also be treated. You can find more information in our detailed EMS guide.
Our most popular TENS EMS electrodes
The TENS stimulation current therapy
Looking for a non-drug option to relieve your chronic or acute pain? TENS therapy could be the ideal alternative for you.
Using TENS and treating pain
However, it does take a little patience in the beginning to get used to TENS stimulation current therapy and also to find out the correct way to apply it. The TENS therapy works very individually, but still simple.
A treatment duration of 30 to 40 minutes is recommended. From this duration onwards, the body produces endorphins, which have an analgesic effect beyond the specific application. Of course, the duration can be adapted to your individual needs. If necessary, you can also extend the duration of application and use TENS several times a day.
The only thing that matters is that you feel comfortable. Electrotherapy is usually experienced as a pleasant tingling sensation. If it becomes uncomfortable, then the current frequency or the intensity of the stimulation current is too high. This can cause you to overstress your skin areas. If necessary, feel your way up gradually.
It is also important to place the electrodes correctly.
The correct electrode placement for a successful TENS treatment
The self-adhesive electrodes have the key role of any TENS treatment. They are the ones that transmit the current to the skin and into the nerve pathways. By using suitable electrodes, very positive effects can be achieved.
But only if they are placed correctly.
TENS makes pain therapy on the entire body conceivable. In this respect, there are no limits to the position of the electrodes. You must not place the electrodes on the neck or chest! In the worst case, this can cause ventricular fibrillation due to the direct proximity to the heart.
Otherwise, always place the electrodes where it hurts. Of course, you cannot know exactly where the nerve pathways or nerve fibres are that are to be blocked. Therefore, several electrodes are usually placed around the painful area to reach all the nerves. Nevertheless, a little experimentation is also required: simply try out in several applications with different electrode positions where the effect is more noticeable and where it is not so noticeable. A small difference in placement can already make a big difference in the effect.
The correct electrodes themselves also make a difference. We offer a wide range of TENS electrodes that can help you relieve any kind of pain. For the back, for example, you should either use multiple electrodes or a pad with a raised surface. To relieve back pain, you can use our electrode set for back pain. For pain caused by lumbago or in the lumbar spine, you can use our dedicated back electrode. You can use our electrode patch on rounded head areas such as joints. Especially pain caused by arthritis or arthrosis can be alleviated with it. If you suffer from neck pain, like about 30-50% of the adult population, our electrode for neck pain will help you to relieve it.
You can find out which electrodes fit which TENS unit, which advantages a TENS unit with several electrodes offers and how the electrodes work exactly in our electrode guide.
Why are the electrodes so relevant?
Each form of pain appears in its own way and uses specific nerve pathways. With transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, the nerve pathway affected by the pain is blocked by stimulation current, so that the pain stimulus - i.e. what makes the pain felt in the first place - cannot be transported to the brain. This is then called the gatekeeper effect.
However, if the electrode is positioned incorrectly and does not properly cover the corresponding nerve pathway, this already reduces the effect of the therapy. With square universal electrodes, it is difficult to find an optimal placement, especially in hard-to-reach places or on curves of the body. In this case, it is best to use specially shaped electrodes that can help you with pain in specific parts of the body.
Also make sure that the skin areas are unharmed and do not have any skin diseases. If you have open wounds or skin irritations, TENS therapy can worsen the condition. In such a case, wait until your injury has healed completely. And consult a doctor before using TENS at all for the first time.
The correct frequency of application - At what intervals should the TENS treatment be carried out?
Listen to your feeling and use the TENS treatment whenever your pain increases again - even several times a day if necessary. Since TENS usually has few side effects, overdosing is practically impossible. Ideally, your pain will be noticeably relieved during the TENS application and the effect will last for some time beyond that.
How does electrostimulation with a TENS unit feel?
Whether knee, neck, wrist, head or arm pain: TENS itself should not cause pain and usually does not, if the current strength and application time are correct and the affected skin areas are unharmed and healthy. The typical feeling during a TENS application can best be described as a relaxing and slight tingling sensation.
Would you like to try it out? Take a look at the range of TENS units as well as electrodes and start your first applications shortly afterwards. The TENS experts at axion are always at your side. You can reach us by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: +49 7152 - 353 911 - 0
 Bertalanffy, A. (2005). Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Reduces Acute Low Back Pain during Emergency Transport. Academic Emergency Medicine, 12(7), 607–611. https://doi.org/10.1197/j.aem.2005.01.013
 Likar, R., Molnar, M., Pipam, W., Koppert, W., Quantschnigg, B., Disselhoff, B. & Sittl, R. (2001). Postoperative transkutane elektrische Nervenstimulation (TENS). Der Schmerz, 15(3), 158–163. https://doi.org/10.1007/s004820170017
 Aiyejusunle, C. B., Kola-Korolo, T. A. & Ajiboye, O. A. (2007).Comparison of the effects of tens and sodium salicylate iontophoresis in the management of osteoarthritis of the knee. Nigerian Quarterly Journal of Hospital Medicine, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.4314/nqjhm.v17i1.12539
 Cramp, Gilsenan, Lowe & Walsh. (2000). The effect of high- and low-frequency transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation upon cutaneous blood flow and skin temperature in healthy subjects. Clinical Physiology, 20(2), 150–157. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2281.2000.00240.x
 Nackenschmerzen. (2021, 12. Januar). Süddeutsche Krankenversicherung. https://www.sdk.de/news/suchartikel/nackenschmerzen/