TENS Machines can offer a safe, inexpensive, and simple method of relieving lower back pain. They provide relief from both acute and chronic pain without medication or surgery.

TENs are easy to use and can even be operated from home. Read the article to learn how you can use a TENS unit to treat lower back pain.

How Do TENS Machines Work?

TENS, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation units, are commonly used for treating recurring pain and injury-related pain. Most frequently, TENS are applied to lower back pain.

The unit works by sending out small electronic pulses to pads, which are placed on the affected area of the body. These electrical impulses block nerves from sending pain signals to the brain. TENS machines are relatively inexpensive and easy to operate.

How to Use a TENS Machine

You’ll likely need to set up your device before using. Select what setting you need for the session. If this is your first time using or operating a TENS unit, select the lowest setting.

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To properly use a TENS machine for back pain, place pads on your lower back on either side of where you’re experiencing pain. Your TENS machine might have two or four electrode pads included. Regardless of your unit type, the application method is the same.

You can turn up the frequency and pulse length as you use the machine. It may take a while to find the ideal setting for you. Try cycling through different settings until you feel pain relief.

How Often Should You Use a TENS Unit For Lower Back Pain?

A TENS unit session should last between 30 minutes to an hour. However, you can use the machines for as many sessions are you need to manage your pain. Experts often recommend using TENS around four times a day or whenever you are experiencing pain.

Where Do You Place TENS Pads For Lower Back Pain?

Place the TENS pads on either side of the area where you are experiencing pain. For lower back pain, locate where you are feeling discomfort and place a pad on each side of the spine. Do not attach a pad directly above the spine, even if that is where the pain is coming from. Ensure that the pads are at least one inch apart from one another.

If your unit has four pads, place two just above the affected area and the other two pads directly below them. After applying, there should be two pads just to the left of your spine and two pads just to the right of your spine.

Risks and Precautions

TENS units are best used when administered by or recommended by a medical professional. It’s best to consult a pain management specialist before using TENS at home. You should not use TENS if you have any of the following conditions.

  • have a pacemaker
  • are pregnant
  • have a heart condition
  • experience epilepsy

There are some places you should avoid placing TENS pads, even if you are experiencing pain in that area. For lower back pain, you should not place any pads directly over your spine.

If you are experiencing pain anywhere else, TENS machines can also be used to treat other types of pain. However, avoid placing pads directly on any of the following areas.

  • the front or sides of your neck
  • your head
  • numb areas
  • varicose veins
  • skin with an infection or irritation
  • your chest and upper back at the same time

What Types of Back Pain Does TENS Treat?

TENS units can be used to treat all different kinds of back pain. Most notably, TENS are used to treat the following conditions.

If you think TENS can help treat your chronic pain, consult a pain management specialist.

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It can be tricky to find the right personalized pain treatment plan for your lower back pain. Our experienced doctors and staff can help you create a treatment plan designed for your pain management.

Arizona Pain and Spine Institute makes relief from chronic pain possible. Call us today at 480-986-7246 to book your appointment.