TENS is effective for pain relief from a wide range of causes. TENS machines can be used to help reduce pain from problems in muscles, joints and nerves. It can be also used for people with musculoskeletal pain such as long- term (chronic) back pain or knee joint arthritis. They are also often used for pain relief in the early stages of labour (see maternity TENS), particularly whilst a pregnant woman remains at home. Other uses include migraine headaches, period pain (see Ova+) and sports injuries.

You can use low frequency (<10 Hz) programmes on acupuncture points, to achieve similar effects to acupuncture.

TENS machines can be used alone for pain relief or be combined with other treatments. You can safely use TENS as long as it gives you pain relief. The effect may wear off after a few hours (this is called “accommodation”). If this happens, take a break of an hour or so before trying again.

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