TENS pad placement for shoulder pain
How a TENS unit can help you with shoulder pain
How a TENS machine can help you with shoulder pain
TENS treatment on the shoulder, acromion or shoulder joint can relieve and relax tense and hardened muscles. It stimulates blood circulation and leads to a better supply of nutrients to the tissue. TENS can also help with inflammation of the bursa. In the case of chronic shoulder pain, which can occur, for example, with rheumatic diseases, the regular use of a TENS machine has proven to be effective. The electrical impulses cause an interruption of the pain stimulus transmission through the nerves to the brain. This usually leads to freedom from pain very quickly. With TENS therapy, you can treat shoulder joint pain, shoulder inflammation and shoulder pain. Treatment with a TENS machine can also help you with post-operative shoulder pain.
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The correct use of TENS for shoulder pain
The specially developed shoulder pads adapt ideally to the shape of your shoulder and make TENS application noticeably easier.
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 units and electrodes 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 P05, P08 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, P08 or P15 are generally used here.
To the device: TENS Gerät STIM-PRO T-400
TENS Machine STIM-PRO COMFORT
The program P06 is generally used here.
To the device: TENS-Gerät STIM-PRO COMFORT
Alternative pad placement
Apply the 5 x 5 cm pads as shown in the picture to relieve your pain. Alternatively, you can also apply the pain point pad. For this application you need a TENS machine with at least two channels.
The right placement in the video
EMS also loosens the muscles
After the TENS treatment, you can relax the neck 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.
What are the causes for shoulder pain?
The shoulder is the most mobile joint of the human body. Because of that, injuries happen very often. The most common pain in the area of the shoulder is the impingement syndrome, but there also exists the frozen shoulder, the calcified shoulder and much more. Often the causes of shoulder pain are overloaded muscles and fascias surrounding the shoulder joint, due to sedentary lifestyle at work or in front of the tv. This results in a one-sided strain of the musculoskeletal system, which is not very healthy for our body.
Rotator cuff pain
The tendons and muscles around the humeral head are called the rotator cuff. These are also susceptible to strain and tension, on the one hand due to sporting activities, but also due to signs of wear and tear in old age. If the tendon tears, this is called a rotator cuff rupture, which should definitely be treated by a doctor. In the case of pain in the area of the rotator cuff due to irritation and overstraining, a TENS machine can also provide pain relief. Since the tendons of the rotator cuff run from the humeral head to the acromion, a slightly different electrode placement is recommended.
This is how you place the 5x5 cm electrode pads for pain and tension in the rotator cuff. The position of the electrodes is chosen so that it encloses the course of the tendons of the rotator cuff.
How do you recognize an inflammation of the shoulder
Inflammation can occur, if the pain starts slowly and increases after time. The pain varies from the type of movement and mostly occurs, when the arm is stretched to the side. If this happens, it could be bursitis. A strong heat radiation of the shoulder is also an indication for inflammation.
When should you visit a doctor with shoulder pain?
If the pain is constant, increases continuously or is returning, you should see a doctor. This shall also apply, if you feel pain in the shoulder after an accident or if you feel significant limitations of the shoulder movement.
What can you do against shoulder pain?
Shoulder pain can make your life a living hell. There are multiple options to alleviate the pain, for example TENS. Aside from medication, which have side-effects, the strengthening of the muscles in the area of the neck, back and shoulders is useful. Our combo machine STIM-PRO X9 also offers an EMS-mode with multiple pre-installed programs. You can look up how to train the shoulders with EMS. Other options are physiotherapy, osteopathy or manual therapy.
A very useful option is the application with a TENS machine against shoulder pain, because there are no side-effects if applied correctly. With the suitable electrode pads, electrical impulses are transmitted to the skin to block the transmission of the pain. The release of endorphins is also initiated by a TENS machine, which also helps to alleviate pain. An easy and comfortable method and if applied correctly, without side-effects.
Combination of TENS and thermotherapy
With thermotherapy you can increase the effect of your TENS treatment against a shoulder 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.
The TENS world of axion
We will gladly advise you
You still have questions about the correct application for your pain? Our expert advisors are there for you!
Studies and scientific sources
 Bachmann, J. & Pothmann, R. (2010). TENS. Transkutane elektrische Nervenstimulation in der Schmerztherapie (4. Aufl.). Karl F. Haug Verlag.
 Yang, H. (2015). Observation on therapeutic effect of half puncture plus transcutaneous acupoint electric stimulation for infantile facial paralysis. Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science, 13(3), 156–159. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11726-015-0841-y
 Frozen Shoulder. (2021). DRK Kliniken Berlin. https://www.drk-kliniken-berlin.de/unfallchirurgie-orthopaedie-koepenick/leistungen/frozen-shoulder
 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
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