TENS units are becoming more popular everyday and knowing the correct placement of a electrode pad for neck pain is the first step in reducing the pain and alleviating the discomfort.
TENS Pad Placement for Neck Pain
The placement of the TENS electrodes or pads is important. In general when using a TENS it is a good idea to position each set of electrodes above and below the pain site.
For the TENS to be effective in blocking the pain pathways that send signals to the brain, you will want to place the 1st set of pads at the base of the neck.
See the picture below:
In this picture we are using 4 pads, 2 on the base of the neck and the other 2 just above it. You will notice that the wires are color coded. These are called lead wires and their placement is important.
What are lead wires?
Lead wires are used to connect the main TENS unit to the electrodes. They are typically black with a black and red tip.
The red and black color on the wire tip indicate the negative and positive side of the wire.
Tens unit therapy for torticollis or wry neck.
Wry neck is a twisted and tilted neck that can be very painful. Basically it is where the top of the head generally tilts to one side while the chin is tilted to the other side.
In this picture the 2 TENS electrodes are placed on either side of the spinal cord near the neck. The other 2 electrodes are placed on both shoulders.
Where not to place a TENS electrode pad
- Never put one on either side of your carotid artery, which is located on the front sides of you neck.
- Over your heart
- Do not use a TENS unit if you have a pacemaker
- Open wounds or cuts
This is the exact TENS Unit that I use.
It is perfect for alleviating many common types of pain. The iReliev is a great little device and has a lot going for it. It is well under $80 and has several programs to choose from and is small enough to fit in your pocket.
You do not need to spend hundreds of dollars to get a quality TENS unit and iReliev gives you a ton of value for the price being paid. Best part is they are based in Dallas, Texas and have phenomenal customer service FREE shipping and delivery in less than 5 days.
Get yours today on the iReliev website by clicking here.
I was first introduced to the use of a TENS unit when I went to a chiropractor. The treatment was applied before the chiropractor adjusted my neck and spine. Get the same technology that doctor’s use for on demand pain relief.
Why should you trust me?
I have extensively used TENS units for neck, shoulder, back and knee issues. I 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.
Where else can a TENS electrode pad be placed? Check out my TENS placement guide
I asked why she used a TENS unit before working on my neck/back?
My Physical Therapist explained that the TENS unit reduces the amount of inflammation and relaxes the muscles making the tissue more receptive to being treated. After the treatment I did experience some temporary relief and decided to look in TENS therapy for home use.
I discovered that use of a TENS unit for neck pain helped reduce the need for medications and over the counter drugs. It provided relief of my chronic neck pain and allowed me to function better at work.
For more information please check out my post on “How to set up a TENS unit”.
If you suffer from any of the below issues a TENS unit may help alleviate these and other symptoms associated with neck pain.
• Pain radiating down your shoulders and upper back
• Sharp or stabbing pain
• Dull ache
• Stiffness and little to no range of motion
• Pinched nerve in neck
• Neck pain that causes headaches
In my situation I was experiencing sharp and stabbing pain on my right side of my neck which would radiate down to my upper back.
Some things to consider when placing the electrode pads on your skin
1. First wash the area of the skin where the pads will be placed. You can use a mild soap and water before applying electrodes, just make sure that you rinse the soap off and dry skin to remove any moisture.
2. If the area for the electrode pads has hair you can use some scissors to remove excess hair. It is not necessary to shave the area where the pads will be placed. .
3. Sometimes a skin problem can happen from the “pulling stress” from the sticky adhesive that the pads have. This can happen when the pads are overly stretched across the skin during use. To avoid this, apply the pads from center outward; do not stretch the pads over the skin.
4. When it is time to the remove the pads, it is best to always remove by pulling in the direction of hair growth.
5. A good rule to follow is to NEVER apply pads over broken or irritated skin.
6. After removing you can put some skin lotion on the area where the pad was.
I have been using a TENS unit for about 4 years and itreally helps to relax the muscles that pull on my neck that cause the pain. To be honest it is by no means a cure, but it sure does help to reduce some of the pain associated with my neck problem.
I would also recommend a heating pad for about 10 minutes before using the tens unit as it helps with the pain even more.
I hope this article was helpful and that you are able to find relief.
Thank you for reading,