TENS Machine

TENS Machine

TENS Machine & EMS Machine Information

What is a TENS Machine?

A TENS machine is an electronic medical device. TENS is an abbreviation of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.

Transcutaneous means “across the skin”. In simple terms, a tens machine stimulates your nerves via an electrical current through your skin.

What Does a TENS Machine Do?

A TENS machine may assist you in modest short-term pain relief.

The use of a TENS machine should be as one part of a pain management program under the guidance of your doctor or healthcare practitioner. Please consult your trusted healthcare practitioner before using a TENS machine.

How Could a TENS Machine Decrease Your Pain?

Researchers believe that TENS machines relieve pain in one of two ways:

Sensory Level Stimulation – The Gate Control theory of pain means that the electrical input of the TENS machine interferes with the transmission of pain signals, by blocking the neural “gate” through which the pain travels.

Motor Level Stimulation – The goal of motor level stimulation is to cause the release of the body’s opiate-like substances to achieve pain relief.

How Do You Use Use a TENS Machine for Pain Relief?

If we use back pain as an example, you can use a TENS machine by placing the TENS machine electrodes either side of your spine at the same level as your back. If you have a 2-channel TENS machine, you can also place the second set TENS electrodes either side of your spine at a level above your pain, e.g. between your pain and your brain. Please note that you should not place your TENS electrodes on your skull (brain), the front of your neck, or through your heart.

Where Should You Place Your TENS Machine Electrodes?

For professional advice regarding your TENS electrode placements and dosage, please consult your physiotherapist.

For more examples of TENS Machine electrode placements, please download our eBook:

Tens Machine Electrode Placements? (eBook)

TENS Machine FAQs

What is Pain?

How to Use a TENS Machine

TENS Machine – Private Health Insurance Rebate

What is a TENS Machine?

What is Nerve Pain?

IMPORTANT

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.

What is EMS (Electric Muscle Stimulation)?

What is a TENS Machine?

TENS is an abbreviation of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.

Transcutaneous means "across the skin". In simple terms, a tens machine stimulates your nerves via an electrical current through your skin. A TENS machine is an electronic medical device. A TENS machine may assist you in modest short-term pain relief.

The use of a TENS machine should be as one part of a pain management program under the guidance of your doctor or healthcare practitioner. Please consult your healthcare practitioner before using a TENS machine.

How Does a TENS Machine Provide Short-Term Pain Relief?

what-is-a-tens-machine

Researchers believe that TENS controls pain in one of two ways:

Sensory Level Stimulation - The Gate Control theory of pain means that the electrical input of the TENS machine interferes with the transmission of pain signals, by blocking the neural "gate" through which the pain travels.

Motor Level Stimulation - The goal of motor level stimulation is to cause the release of the body's opiate-like substances to achieve pain relief.

Further Reading

Johnson M. 2014, Walsh DM et al. 2009, Nnoaham KE, Kumbang J. 2008, Watson 2008, Andrews JR et al. 2004

IMPORTANT

Use your TENS machine 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 before use and if symptoms persist.

TENS Machine FAQs

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

IMPORTANT
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.

What is a TENS Machine?

TENS is an abbreviation of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. Transcutaneous means "across the skin". In simple terms, a tens machine stimulates your nerves via an electrical current through your skin. A TENS machine is an electronic medical device. A TENS machine may assist you in modest short-term pain relief. The use of a TENS machine should be as one part of a pain management program under the guidance of your doctor/healthcare practitioner.

How does a TENS Machine provide Short-term Pain Relief?

Pain is thought to be controlled by TENS in one of two ways: Sensory Level Stimulation - The Gate Control theory of pain means that the electrical input of the TENS machine interferes with the transmission of pain signals, by blocking the neural “gate” through which the pain travels. Motor Level Stimulation - The goal of motor level stimulation is to cause the release of the body’s own opiate-like substances to achieve pain relief.

TENS Machine FAQs

IMPORTANT
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.

Private Health Insurance Rebates for TENS Machines

Did you know that most private health insurance rebates are available when you buy a TENS machine for your therapeutic benefits? The claim must be made for a TENS machine (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator). Depending upon your fund, a recommendation from a doctor or physiotherapist is normally required.

IMPORTANT

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. Please consult your doctor/healthcare professional before use and if symptoms persist. What is a TENS machine? What is an EMS machine?

Health FundLevel of Cover - Rebate Amount

For private health fund customers, the list below gives some indication of TENS machine product rebates. This information is for general purpose only. We strongly advise that you call your health insurer to confirm your level of cover and how much you can claim. We recommend that you note the name of the phone advisor as some private health insurance customers periodically experience cases of differing information from one advisor to the next. To provide you with an idea of what rebates are available, the following information was accurate at the time of writing but is subject to change by the health funds. Please check with your own health fund for details relevant to your level of cover.
  • Australian Country Health - Select Ancillary $150, Super Ancillary $200
  • Australian Health Management - Basic Hospital $60, Top Hospital $80, Life Choice Plus 80%, Maxi Care / Ultra Care 80%
  • BHP Lysaght - Gold Extra up to 80% or $200
  • BUPA - Check with BUPA Phone 134 135
  • CBHS Friendly Society - Top Extras 70%
  • CDH Benefits Fund - 75% or $400
  • Central West Health - $225 every 3 years
  • Commonwealth Bank Extras 80%
  • CUA Health Supplementary Fund 70%
  • Defence Health - Top Extras $250 every 3 years
  • Doctors Health Fund - 50% of the cost
  • Druids Friendly Society - Standard and Gold package 70% or $250
  • GMF Health - 80% or $225 every 3 years
  • HBA - Check with BUPA Phone 134 135
  • HCF - Multi Cover Extras $170
  • IOR - Extras $85
  • IOOF - Health Extras $150
  • MBF - Extra Cover $130 Check with BUPA Phone 134 135
  • Manchester Unity - Top Hospital and Health Cover Plus $250 every 3 years
  • Medibank Private - Advantage Plus / Premium Plus / Smart Plus / Healthy Plus 100% depending on unclaimed bonus points
  • Mutual Community- Check with BUPA Phone 134 135
  • Navy Health - Top Extras / Premium 85% or $300
  • NIB - Quality Extras / Gold Cover $195
  • NSW Teachers - Top Extras $160
  • NRMA - Top Cover Extras $200
  • People Care - Top Plus Ancillary 50 - 80%
  • Pheonix Health Fund - $20 + 80%
  • Police Health Fund - Extras Cover 80% or $150
  • QLD Teachers Union Health - Ultimate Choice / Easy Choice / Ancillary 85%
  • QLD Country Health - Private Hospital 85%
  • Rail Transport - Ancillary / Top Extras 85%
  • Teachers Federation Health - Ancillary 50% or $160
  • SGIC and SGIO - Top Extras $200
  • Senior Advantage - Select Ancillary Hospital $150
  • Senior Advantage - Super Ancillary Hospital $200
  • St Lukes Tasmania - Select Plus Extra 80% or $200
  • West Fund - Platinum $200, Gold $150, Silver Extra $150

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? IMPORTANT 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 before use and if symptoms persist.
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