What Is The Best TENS Unit For Pain Control – Reviews & Buyer Guide
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is said to help with back pain, especially chronic pain conditions. In order to use this pain relief method, you need to have the best TENS unit possible to fit your needs. Because there are a lot of these devices available, I want to give you a guide to help you understand what they do, how they do it, and how to pick the best one from all the choices.
**Below, you'll see more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.
What Does A TENS Unit Do?
As I said above, TENS units are used for pain control, often for the back and legs. Your doctor may recommend a TENS unit if you have chronic back pain that isn’t responding well to other forms of pain management. This is not a cure for any cause of pain, but rather a way to help manage pain and try to reduce the amount of discomfort you feel on a regular basis.
How TENS Units Work?
These unique devices operate using a method called the Gate Control Theory. This pain management theory suggests that your nerves cannot send pain signals to your brain if they are distracted by certain vibrations or other sensations. A TENS unit works by sending slight electrical charges into pads that will be located on the pain spot. The charges are meant to distract the nerves and keep them from being able to send out as many pain signals, thereby reducing the pain you feel.
Another theory is that the slight electric charges sent to your nerves will stimulate extra endorphin releases from the body. Endorphins are the hormones that block pain, so releasing more of them will have an effect on relieving your pain.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of strong scientific evidence to back up either method. Although it’s been in use by some since the 1960’s, every scientific study done on the TENS method has turned up mixed results. Yet, in those same studies, there were participants who felt the TENS unit did help to relieve their pain, so there is still a chance it might be able to give you some pain relief benefits.
Despite the lack of scientific certainty, there are a number of doctors who still recommend this type or treatment for relief from chronic pain. It seems to work on some types of pain better than others, so your doctor may be able to give you advice about your particular pain relief needs.
Benefits Of A TENS Unit
If you choose to use a TENS unit, here are a few of the benefits you may be able to get from it:
- All natural, drug-free treatment
The TENS method does not use any drugs or medicinal treatments at all. Even if you have sensitivities to certain medications or drugs, you can use TENS, since there is nothing required except sticking a few soft adhesive pads on your pain point. If you’re into doing natural treatments and drug-free remedies, TENS is something you should try for your pain relief.
- TENS units are completely non-invasive
Nothing has to be inserted, cut, pricked, poked, or anything else. The adhesive pads that stick to your skin should not be causing any physical harm to your body. They are applied gently and removed gently as well. This kind of treatment can be done on many people, even after surgeries or other medical procedures have been performed.
- No known side effects
Although doctors have cautioned those with pacemakers and pregnant women to avoid TENS units, the average person can use this method without trouble. Because of the nature of the treatment, there are no side effects that come about from it when used properly and as recommended by a doctor. If you overuse the device, you might have some problems with it.
Top 5 Best Tens Unit Reviews 2017
How To Choose The Best TENS Unit
When you want to go and purchase a TENS unit to use on your own time, how do you know which one is the best TENS unit? A lot of these devices exist on the market, and many are offered in a similar price range. To find the top choice for you, take a look at these features of each device you consider:
#1. Intensity Settings
Different levels of pain call for a variety of different intensity settings. Having a device that you can set to match the pain you’re experiencing is much more useful than a device that’s only got one setting. Most TENS units that are adjustable use a number scale to help you easily set the intensity.
#2. FDA Approval
You shouldn’t use a TENS unit that isn’t approved by the FDA. Looking out for this will help you make sure you’re using a legitimate device with the right qualifications to do effective TENS treatments. Without FDA approval, a device might produce a similar effect, but may not actually be able to deliver the right pain relief you’re looking for.
#3. Usage Limits
Even if you’re experiencing strong pains, you shouldn’t use these devices for too long each session. Many TENS units have a built-in timer to show you how long it’s been on and to automatically shut off after a certain amount of time. These settings are also usually adjustable, so you can customize the time you want to spend using your TENS unit.
It’s no good to have a unit that won’t be able to move around with you. Unless you only want to use it at home, finding an easily portable TENS unit will give you some flexibility for when you need pain relief. If you need help at work, traveling, or anywhere else, it’s convenient to be able to use your device without trouble. Do not use a TENS unit while driving or operating machinery.
#5. Pad Compatibility
All TENS units need adhesive pads to work properly. Check how many pads are needed for your chosen device, and which types you can use. These adhesive pads will need to be changed occasionally, so it’s important to know which ones you can use when the time comes to switch them out again. The more compatible it is, the easier time you’ll have managing your TENS unit.
#6. Simple Usage
When you need pain relief, you aren’t going to want to mess around with a bunch of complex settings and buttons. It’s better to find a device that’s easy to use and doesn’t have a lot of complicated features. The buttons should be easy to read and large enough to press without accidentally hitting the wrong one. There should also be fewer buttons rather than a large collection that you might mess up.
#7. Combined TENS And EMS Device
Some people prefer a TENS unit that also has EMS (Electronic Muscle Stimulation) treatment capabilities. While the TENS functions focus on your nerves, the EMS functions will also help to relax your muscles and give another form of pain relief that way. Not every unit is able to do both, but you can find quite a lot of modern devices that are capable of doing both TENS and EMS.
From the TENS unit reviews above, I would like to recommend the HealthmateForever YK15AB TENS Unit and EMS. I think it’s the best TENS unit, because it has the most adjustability, it’s easy to set up, and it’s highly portable. You will have a lot of intensity settings to choose from, and the modes work well for different areas of your body that you may be experiencing pain in.