TENS (transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation)

TENS treatment for neck pain on a female patient
Getty Images under licence to PhysioQinetics Ltd.

How does TENS help?

  • Providing adjunctive pain relief


What does transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) involve?

TENS is one of the methods to provide adjunctive pain relief in addition to, or intead of, taking traditional pain-killer medication. A TENS machine is a small, battery-operated device that has leads connected to sticky pads called electrodes. It can be used by anyone at home easily. It is used for pain relief by transmission of pulses of low-voltage electrcal impulses to stimulate the cutaneous nerves and underlying muscles. This could produce a pain-relieving effect by either promoting endogenous opioid (endorphine) release; or by a nerve signal gating mechanism whereby painful sensation is blocked and prevented from reaching the brain.


TENS may be able to help reduce pain and muscle spasms caused by a range of condtions including:

  • arthritis
  • period pain / pelvic pain
  • knee pain
  • neck pain
  • back pain
  • sports injury


We do not usually use this in our treatment sessions, as these machines are very affordable and easy to use, which enables people to use it at home on themselves. We are happy to provude advice and instructions on the use of TENS machine as it can be used effectively in conjunction with our physiotherapy treatment with us.


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