Ok, so you just got your TENS unit device and wondering how many times per day can you safely use it?
You can use a TENS unit safely 3-4 times per day for pain relief. One session of TENS can deliver pain relief for up to 4 hours. Limit the sessions to 30 minutes and if you feel any discomfort or pain its a good indication that you have the setting too high. If this is the case adjust to a lower intensity.
Can you overuse a TENS unit?
Using a TENS unit is safe but overuse can lead to becoming tolerant to its pain relieving effects. To learn more check out my article here.
Placement of TENS pads
Most TENS units come equipped with 4 electrode pads (2 per wire). These pads are self adhesive and stick to the skin very well.
Before applying the electrode pads do these 2 things first:
- Clean the skin with a wet cloth or baby wipe. You want to remove any dirt or sweat to ensure that the electrode pad makes complete contact with the skin. Do not place the electrode pads on broken skin.
- Make sure the TENS unit is off before applying the pads. Trust me I found this one out the hard way and it was quite startling!
With that out of the way you can place the electrode pads on the skin and press firmly. You will want to basically surround the area of pain with the pads.
If you are targeting a small area such as the elbow, wrist or hand then 2 electrode pads will suffice. For larger areas like the back, shoulders, legs and calves you can place 4 electrode pads.
A good rule of thumb is to make sure the electrode pads are about an inch apart.
Here are some common areas that you can use to reduce pain with a TENS unit. Each link takes you to an article I wrote on where to place the electrode pads. Check them out below:
Where should you not use a TENS unit?
Here are some examples where you would not use a TENS unit
• If you have a heart pacemaker or have a heart rhythm problem
• If you have been diagnosed with epilepsy
• When driving or operating any type of machinery
• If you are suffering from acute, feverish or infectious diseases
• Near heart monitors or alarms
Do NOT place electrodes:
• On the arteries located in the front of your neck
• Across the front of your head
• On your eyes
•If you are pregnant NEVER place on your stomach
• On the heads of any children under the age of 12 years old
• Near any tumors that have been diagnosed as malignant
It is advised that you do not begin using a TENS unit until a medical professional is able to diagnose the source of the pain. Lastly, if you are in any doubt about any of these warnings listed above, please consult with your doctor.