TENS pad placement for back pain
TENS machine and electrode pad recommendations
How a TENS machine can help you with back pain
A TENS application in combination with targeted muscle training can relieve pain all over the back  and proved to be effective and fast in relieving pain from acute low back pain . Most people suffer from acute back pain once in their life. Fortunately, in most cases there is no structural damage and can be treated conservatively, for example with stimulation current.
In stimulation current therapy, electrical impulses are transmitted to the skin with the help of the TENS machine via electrode pads. There are two effects of pain relief with TENS. With high frequency, the transmission of the pain to your brain can be blocked, so you won’t perceive pain in the back. With low frequency, a TENS machine stimulates your body externally to release endorphins and as a result relieve your pain. TENS also increases blood flow.
To prevent back pain, it is important to combine strengthening of the muscles, improvement of posture, relaxation exercises and back-healthy behaviour. Training the back muscles, for example with an EMS machine, not only enables an upright and straight posture and an athletic appearance, but can also make a decisive contribution to preventing or avoiding back pain. Health-oriented back training is recommended. This is a combination of back training, strengthening of the muscles involved, stretching and loosening of various muscles as well as relaxation exercises.
Use of TENS for back pain
Apply the pads to the spot where you feel the pain in the back area. As there are a variety of different pain points on the back area, you will also find pads of different sizes. We recommend the back pad set, the back pad 20 x 12 cm, the pads 33 x 4 cm or the pads 5 x 5 cm, depending on the pain region.
The current strength should be set so that it is felt as a pleasant tingling sensation. The duration of the application should be approx. 40 minutes in order to be able to achieve a lasting reduction in pain. It is also useful to change the programs every now and then.
TENS machine and electrode pad recommendations
The optimal TENS machine for your application - recommendation of the programs
For TENS EMS machines from axion, we recommend the following programs for pain therapy
TENS EMS Combo Machine STIM-PRO X9
The programs P01, P05 or P15 are generally used here.
To the device: TENS EMS Combo Machine STIM-PRO X9
TENS Machine STIM-PRO T-400
The programs P05 or P12 are generally used here.
To the device: TENS Machine STIM-PRO T-400
TENS Machine STIM-PRO COMFORT
The programs P05 or P06 are generally used here.
To the device: TENS Machine STIM-PRO COMFORT
Alternative TENS pad placement for back pain
Here you can see a common example of the correct pad placement with the back pads 33 x 4 cm. For this application you need a TENS machine with at least two channels.
Place the large back pads parallel to each other on your back as shown in the picture. These special pads are designed that they can usually be placed alone.
The correct electrode placement in the video
EMS also loosens the muscles
After the TENS treatment, you can relax the back muscles with the EMS programs P29 or P30 to release tension. Adjust the intensity so that you feel slight muscle twitches. You can use the relaxation for 10 to 20 minutes. EMS training with an EMS machine has a preventive effect on the development of complaints. With the EMS programme P17 you can optimally build up your back muscles. Choose an intensity just below the pain threshold for the best effect. You should feel clear contractions. The application should not last longer than 4 minutes at the beginning, with a little more practice you can increase to 6 minutes. Afterwards you can use the muscle relaxation with P29 and P30 again to avoid muscle soreness.
What are the causes of back pain?
Poorly developed back muscles lack protection of the spine and the intervertebral discs (intervertebrae). This muscle corset normally protects and stabilises the spine, the nerve tracts and the intervertebral discs. The lower part of the spine, the lumbar spine, is particularly affected. Pain in the upper back is often associated with tension in the shoulder and neck area. Pain in the thoracic spine is also usually caused by tension in the back muscles that connect the individual vertebrae of the thoracic spine. Unnatural and repetitive working postures, a sedentary lifestyle or other one-sided stresses on the back often lead to muscular imbalances or curvature of the muscles. Without the protective muscles, the forces can act directly on the intervertebral bodies. These further transmit the high pressure to the adjacent nerve tracts. This ultimately causes the actual back pain.
Combination of TENS and thermotherapy
With thermotherapy you can increase the effect of your TENS treatment against back pain. You can distinguish heat therapy from cold therapy.
Heat therapy: Promotes blood flow and relax the muscles. Is suited for chronic diseases like arthrosis or muscular tensions.
Cold therapy: Is suited for quick measures against injuries or joint inflammation to alleviate pain.
TENS in combination with heat therapy
You can enhance the effect of your TENS treatment with heat therapy. Heat therapy promotes blood circulation and loosens the muscles. The use of heat is particularly suitable for muscular tension.
Moor heat pack: Due to the filling of natural moor, these heat pads can store the heat longer and release it more evenly than other heat pads, e.g. cherry pit pads.
Hot water bottle: The hot water bottle is a classic in heat therapy that stands out due to its easy application. You only have to fill in warm water. The hot water bottles are also available with a variety of different covers.
What our customers say
The TENS world of axion
Studies and scientific sources
 Bachmann, J. & Pothmann, R. (2010). TENS. Transkutane elektrische Nervenstimulation in der Schmerztherapie (4. Aufl.). Karl F. Haug Verlag.
 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
 Ortu, E., Pietropaoli, D., Mazzei, G., Cattaneo, R., Giannoni, M., & Monaco, A. (2015). TENS effects on salivary stress markers: A pilot study. International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology, 114–118. https://doi.org/10.1177/0394632015572072
 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