How To Use a Tens Unit For Lower Back Pain

Tens Unit For Lower Back PainUsing a Tens machine is an effective way to treat back pain and can provide relief from chronic or frequent back pain.

If you are looking for a Tens machine to help with your lower back pain I highly recommend you check out this machine as this is the one I use

In this post you will learn how to use a Tens Unit to relieve lower back pain.

Can a Tens Unit Help With Lower Back Pain

A Tens (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit uses low voltage electric current to help relieve your body from pain.

How a Tens Unit Can HelpYes it can help you to relieve lower back pain. Tens therapy is typically done with a TENs unit, which is a battery powered device. This unit is usually connected to a belt making it portable.

A Tens unit can treat many different types of back pain including

  • Sciatica
  • Herniated Disk
  • Multipul Disk Herniations
  • Muscle Strains
  • Muscle Contusions
  • Stiff Muscles

Several electrodes will connect to the unit (typically 2, 4 or 6) which are powered by the battery. The electrodes will carry low voltage to your skin.

The theory is that the low voltage will stimulate your skin when in contact with the electrodes which stops the area of pain communicating with the spinal cord which will reduce or eliminate the pain sensation.

If you are looking to purchase a Tens unit I highly recommend you check out the iReliev Tens Unit.

Tens Unit Electrode Placement For Lower Back Pain

When using a Tens Unit for back pain there a few things that you need to do to get the maximum benefit from this treatment. The electrodes can be placed anywhere on the back but I will show you the best placement as outlined below.

Place two electrode pads either side of the spine, Then place two more electrode pads about one inch higher than the first electrodes,  as pictured below.

Electrode Placement For Lower Back Pain

If you are suffering from pain in a certain location then put one electrode directly where the pain is, then another electrode one inch to the left and right hand side, then one electrode above where the pain is.

Tens Unit For Lower Back Pain

Now the electrodes are in place make sure the Tens unit is set to the lowest setting then turn the Tens unit on.  Wait a minute for your body to adjust to the treatment before Turing the setting up.

Note : It is only recommended to use this treatment for 10 – 30 minutes at any one time.  If you need to use the treatment multiple times I recommend waiting 30 minutes to one hour in between treatments.

Is it Safe To Use a Tens Unit For Back Pain

Is it Safe To Use a Tens Unit For Back PainA Tens unit works by sending very low voltage electric current to an electrode that is attached to a persons skin. The voltage is to low to do any damage.

So YES, a Tens unit is completely safe to use, when used responsibly.

There are a few possible side affects that can be experienced if not used responsibly which I will cover below.

If you are looking to purchase a Tens unit I highly recommend you check out the iReliev Tens Unit.

Possible Side Affects Of Using A Tens Unit

Possible side affect can include

  • Allergic To Electrode Pads : Some people have reported that the adhesive pads cause skin redness or irritation, If this is the case with you try using a hypoallergenic pads.
  • Skin Redness or Irritation : If you wear the adhesive pads for to long a time it is possible it will irritate your skin. Try leaving a longer time before treatments and also clean the pads before reusing.
  • Use Proper Electrode Placement : If you are starting a new treatment research what the proper electrode placement should be, for example never put the electrode on your eyes or front of neck.
  • Pregnant Women : If you are pregnant it is safe to use a tens machine, But DO NOT use the machine in the abdominal and pelvic regions.
  • Epilepsy Users : If you suffer from epilepsy you can use the unit on any part of your body apart from your neck and head.
  • Heart Condition : It is not recommended to use this treatment at all.
  • Pacemaker : If you have a pacemaker it is also not recommended to use a tens machine.

Tips For Safe Tens Unit Usage

In order to get the most out of your tens unit treatment please follow these tips for safe usage.

  • Always read the safety instructions that come with your tens unit before use
  • Research where to place the electrode pads for your condition
  • When you use the tens unit for the first time start on the lowest setting and work your way up
  • When placing the pads on your skin the pads should never touch and should be 1 inch apart
  • Don’t over use, Check out the next section on how often you can use a tens machine on your lower back.
  • Avoid placing the electrode pads over a joint such as the knee, hip, or elbow

Please post in the comments section if you have any questions on any of the tips.

How Often Can You Use a Tens Unit On Your Lower Back

How Often Can You Use a Tens UnitIf you are thinking of using a Tens unit to help ease your back pain you will need to know how often and for how long you can use a Tens unit.

As with everything else you will need to start slow and work your way up. If you have never used a tens machine before and use one for hours at a time it could have a negative affect on you.

At the beginning use the tens unit for fifteen minutes leaving 1-2 hours in between treatments. I also recommend you start on the lowest setting and work your way up.

At each stage note down your pain during treatment (1 for low and 10 for high) This will help you understand which setting works best for you.

Each day you can add on 5 minutes to each treatment.  Make sure you note down your pain during treatment because if longer treatments are causing you more pain you are better use a lower setting.

If you have any questions about how often you should use a tens unit please post it in a comment below.

Other Treatments That Can Relieve Lower Back Pain

Apart from using a tens unit there are a few other things that you can do to relieve lower back pain, These are

Soothe Pain With Hot / Cold

It is possible that either hot or cold treatments can help your pain.  Try both and use the one that is most effective for you.

Cold Treatments : Using cold treatments can reduce inflammation if you have any.  Cold treatment can also act as a aesthetic which should stop your nerves from spasming.

Hot Treatments : Using hot treatment will help the blood flow in your lower back and will encourage healing and reduce pain messages being sent to your brain.

Stretch Your Back and Hamstrings

Most of us will not sit properly weather we are at work, at home or maybe if we drive a lot.  This will cause pressure on our lower back that will cause some pain.

It is important for all of us to perform stretches throughout the day. Below are some stretches you can perform.

Don’t forget to stretch your hamstrings as this will also help your lower back pain.

Other Treatments That Can Relieve Lower Back Pain

Get up and Walk

Going for a quick walk, this will release the tension in our lower back.  Going for frequent walks will help us build muscle in the back which will help reduce future pain.


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