Just started using a TENS unit and noticed that it is causing muscle spasms?
TENS therapy is becoming an increasingly popular drug free method to reduce your everyday aches and pains of daily life. If you are experiencing muscle spasms while using a TENS unit your missing out the benefits it can provide.
Well, this is really an easy problem to diagnose and solve. Ok. So you have the TENS electrode pads placed on your thigh, calf or back and notice that it is causing the muscles to spasm. A painful, irritating problem to have especially since it defeats the whole point of using this device. TENS units are supposed to provide pain relief not cause it.
There are 3 things that may be causing muscle spasms while using a TENS unit.
1. Do you have the right kind of TENS unit?
There are 2 types of devices:
- TENS unit– Stands for “Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.”TENS works by blocking the pain signals from traveling to the brain through low voltage pulses to the skin. As a result, it produces endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemical.
- EMS unit– Stands for “Electrical Muscle Stimulation”. Helps activate the muscles to assist in the increase of strength and endurance, and to speed up recovery.
2. Intensity level of your TENS unit
Check the setting on your device and make sure it is at a low enough level where it is not causing spasms. When you first use your TENS start it off on the lowest setting and then work your way to higher settings. The moment when you start to feel a strong twitch in your muscle this means that the intensity level is too high. Simply lower the setting. Also experiment with different modes and programs that your TENS device has.
3. Where are you placing the TENS electrode pads?
Incorrect use of a TENS unit can cause muscle spasms and not knowing where to correctly place them can contribute to spasms along with having it set too high.
I have put together a TENS unit placement guide that will tell you exactly where to place the electrode pads.
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Want to know where a TENS unit can be placed correctly and safely? Check out my TENS placement guide for how to use one for-
Why should you trust me?
I have extensively used TENS units for neck, shoulder, back and knee issues and became familiar with TENS therapy through countless visits to my chiropractor and physical therapist’s office. I have spent many hours researching and reading how TENS therapy can alleviate pain.
I consider myself knowledgeable in the use of TENS units and have used them regularly to help manage pain over the years. Many of my recommendations are from firsthand experience/use and hopefully my information can be a benefit to you.
In general when placing the TENS pads on the problem area you will want to surround the pain. Also it is important that the electrode pads be 1-2 inches (at least) apart from one another.
Using the right device, proper placement and appropriate setting should put a stop to those pesky muscle spasm’s and you are able to enjoy the tremendous pain relieving benefits that TENS therapy offers.
Thank you for reading,