How to Use a TENS Machine
Depending on the advice of your healthcare practitioner, apply your TENS machine in one the following ways:
Sensory Level Stimulation
This is referred to as “conventional” TENS or “high rate” TENS.
- High pulse frequency; short pulse duration.
- TENS machine goal is to stimulate cutaneous afferents Aß (large diameter).
- Pain is generally eased/relieved while the TENS machine is in use.
- Pain tends to return upon ending treatment with the TENS machine.
- Commonly used for acute or chronic pain.
Motor Level Stimulation
Referred to as “acupuncture-like” TENS or “strong low rate” TENS.
- Low pulse frequency; long pulse duration.
- TENS machine goal is to cause muscular twitches, thereby leading to the stimulation of muscle afferents (small diameter).
- Pain is generally eased/relieved for many hours after the device is shut off.
- Commonly used for the treatment of chronic pain.
Blended Sensory & Motor Level Stimulation
“Brief intense” TENS. As the name suggests, there is a blend of both motor and sensory level stimulation.
- High pulse frequency; long pulse duration.
- TENS machine goal is to stimulate small diameter cutaneous afferents.
- Generally implemented while a painful technique is carried out (e.g., minor surgery)
- “Burst mode” TENS – this method uses “pulse trains” or “bursts” of pulses.
- Pain is generally eased/relieved for many hours after the TENS intervention.
Noxious Level Stimulation
Referred to as “hyperstimulation”.
- Stimulation is administered through probe-like electrodes.
- May be used when other TENS methods have failed.
- Generally viewed as a last resort.
- This type of stimulation is painful.
- The desired outcome is pain relief following the stimulation.
TENS Machine FAQs
- What is Pain?
- What is EMS (Electric Muscle Stimulation)?
- How to Use a TENS Machine
- TENS Machine – Private Health Insurance Rebate
- What is a TENS Machine?
- What is Nerve Pain?
Use only as directed. A TENS machine and EMS machine are electronic medical devices. Always read the label and instruction manual. A TENS machine may assist you in modest short-term pain relief. Consult your doctor/healthcare professional prior to use and if symptoms persist.