We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a TENS System?

By Katriena Knights
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator (TENS) system can be used for various purposes, but one of the most common is for pain control. TENS units can produce significant relief for those suffering from chronic pain. The TENS electrodes are placed at specific areas on the skin; electrical pulses then are transmitted through the unit. In cases of pain management, it is theorized that the electrical stimuli from the TENS system short-circuits the electrical signals sent by the nerves of the body, in effect short-circuiting the pain signals. An alternate theory is that it helps stimulate the production of endorphins.

Another application for the TENS system is in treating temporomandibular disorder (TMD). The electric stimulation is used to completely relax the muscles of the jaw, allowing them to settle into their natural alignment. Based on the relaxed position of the jawbone, a dentist who specializes in treating this type of jaw misalignment can develop an individualized course of treatment. Treatments for TMD include orthotics, veneers, dental bonding, traditional braces, or a combination of these approaches depending on individual needs.

Due to its compact size, the TENS unit is portable and can be worn for a period of time during normal daily activity if necessary. The device can be turned on or off depending on the need of the patient for pain control. Providing the patient with control over pain treatment can be a great help in improving quality of life. The patient, with assistance from a doctor or physical therapist, can determine how often the unit is used as well as what voltage level is most effective.

Physical therapists also make use of the TENS system to help treat certain conditions. In conjunction with physical therapy, electronic muscle stimulation (EMS) can help relax the muscle spasms that cause certain kinds of lower back pain. While a TENS system alone generally is not recommended for long-term treatment, it can be helpful as a part of a varied course of treatment that also includes targeted exercise and other treatment modalities.

A TENS system typically must be obtained with a prescription and should be used under the guidance of a physical therapist or other medical professional. Guidance from a physician can help a patient place the electrodes properly to ensure that the patient receives the maximum benefit. A physician also can help determine how often the system should be used, and at what voltage.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.