Suffering from severe pain can be a bit of a nightmare. Finding relief from the uncomfortable situation will be your utmost concern as staying a pain-free life can boost life expectancy. Hence the need to get a massage after a hard day’s work.
The use of ice packs and other pain relief medications are common among athletes and other people suffering from sore muscles. But most people prefer not to carry a box of ice packs while going on a hike as it is bulky and most medications come with a lot of unpleasant side effects.
The TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) machine can provide relief from various forms of muscle pain including menstrual cramps.
The TENS machine relieves pain by using electricity produce analgesic effects. It regulates muscle contractions to allow for proper flow of blood which promotes healing in the affected area. Good knowledge of the functions of a TENS machine will help you understand why getting the equipment is beneficial to you.
There are several TENS machines now available in the market that it’s quite a challenge to select the best one. Here’s our guide on what to look for in a TENS machine, plus some of the highly recommended products.
Top 10 TENS Machine Reviews
1. Ireliev TENS and EMS Combination Unit for Pain Relief & Arthritis
The Ireliev TENS machine offers a combination of TENS and EMS features. It offers a total of 14 therapy modes, 8 of which are for TENS and the remainder for EMS.
These 8 different TENS modes are unique and different in the level of impulse it produces. It helps with the pain associated with arthritis and other muscular aches.
It has just four buttons that control all its functionalities. With these, you can adjust several settings to produce the desired effect.
Its dual channels enable you to make use of four electrode pads at once to cover more areas on your body. You may also use two large pads to massage your body efficiently within a short time.
It is lightweight, very portable and made with durable material. The batteries are also durable and can last for long hours.
The timer feature enables you to set the required time for each session so that you do not use the TENS machine longer than required. There is also a lock feature which ensures that you do not mistakenly alter your chosen settings.
- Several therapy modes.
- Lock function.
- Adjustable timer.
- Portable design.
2. NURSAL Rechargeable TENS Unit Pain Relief Massager
The NURSAL TENS machine has 4 pairs of electrode pads uniquely designed to give you the right amount of stimulation and pain relief. The large pad pair may be used to massage muscles of the back or thighs.
For a more thrilling massage, the medium-sized adhesive pads may be used to massage muscles on the arms and other parts of the body that require its range of electric impulse.
The smaller pair of electrode pads offer precision and may be used on muscles that may be hard to reach in order to alleviate sharp pain.
The NURSAL TENS unit offers a total of 16 therapy modes. Each of the modes offers a unique level of impulse enabling you to stimulate your muscles in several alternate ways. This way, every massage session will feel different from the next.
The device is easy to use. The battery is rechargeable. All you need to do is connect the device to a charger when the battery is low to boost it within few hours.
Depending on the duration of usage, you may not need to recharge very often as the battery is durable and can last for very long hours.
The NURSAL device is lightweight, portable and user-friendly. It can easily fit into your pocket to enable you to carry it around with ease. It also has a large LCD screen where the time spent along with other information is displayed.
- Rechargeable batteries.
- Large display screen.
- Adjustable timer.
- 8 reusable electrode pads.
3. TENS 7000 2nd Edition Digital TENS Unit Pain Relief
The TENS 7000 by Roscoe Medical is an electronic pain relief massager that soothes discomfort from arthritis, neck pain, backache and lots more. It offers a total of 5 therapy modes that improve your massage experience.
It has high-quality lead wires and electrode pads that are well designed to achieve the best results. You do not require any special training to be able to use this device.
People without any knowledge of operating a TENS unit can just read the accompanying manual that contains details on all the features and mode of operation of the device.
It has a large LED screen that displays the time spent, active therapy mode and other important information. It has durable batteries that can last for long hours depending on how often the device is used.
The dual channels enable you to attach four electrode pads to aid pain relief. This ensures that you can set the intensity of each channel as needed.
It also has an inbuilt timer to make sure that you do not exceed the usage duration.
- Dual-channel option.
- Adjustable timer.
- 4 reusable electrode pads.
- Hard case for carrying the device safely.
4. HealthmateForever TENS unit Pain Relief Therapy: Arthritis, Bursitis, Tendonitis, Plantar Fasciitis, Sciatica
The OTC YK15AB is an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved TENS machine. It offers both TENS and EMS functions to enable you to live a pain-free life.
Whether you have knee pain, back pain and other forms of inflammation in your muscles, this device is best suited to alleviate such discomfort.
The device does not produce an electric pulse that can cause any serious hurt. You just need to activate the right settings according to your needs.
The OTC HealthmateForever features a total of 15 different therapy modes to enable you to get positive results as required. 9 of these modes are for TENS while the remaining 8 are for EMS. So, you get both TENS and EMS features at an affordable price.
It has four channels that allow the use of eight electrode pads to control the intensity of electric impulse that reaches the nerves. The LCD screen displays all relevant information related to each session.
- 4 channels.
- Offers both TENS and EMS functions.
- 15 different therapy modes.
- FDA approved.
5. Premier Plus TENS Machine, Dual Channel TENS Machine for Pain Relief
The Premier Plus TENS Machine is a digital TENS machine with various outstanding features. It’s a combination TENS and EMS machine with 12 TENS programs and 12 muscular modes.
Driven by either a 9V battery or AC adaptor, it also features 99 intensity levels for the best pain management. The large LCD display, easy-to-operate push buttons and timer make this a very user-friendly device – whether you’re a tech savvy millennial or someone who typically shies away from electronics and new technology.
Regarding portability, it can be attached to the belt with a metal clip. Users are impressed with how well this machine works at relieving pain.
6. Med-Fit 3 Digital Dual Channel Tens Machine Pain Relief Ideal for Home use
If you prefer a dual channel TENS machine, the Tens Company Med-Fit 3 is a terrific choice. With its digital controls and sizable and clear display, it’s simple to understand and easy to use. It features a selection of five modes and you can adjust the settings for length, frequency and intensity.
This device also operates on a 9v PP3 Battery. It’s lightweight, slim and comes with a sturdy belt clip, plus a lifetime warranty. Most customers have rated this product highly for its effectiveness.
7. Wireless Mini TENS Machine by Natures Gate
Among the miniature TENS machines, the Wireless Mini TENS Machine by Natures Gate is a stand-out. Not only is it a compact machine that fits most conveniently in your pocket or in your hand, a perfect travel companion, it’s also wireless, no more lead wires that get tangled.
The LCD display is clear and readable and the control buttons are easy to manage as well. With 10 modes, 16 intensity levels and a 30 minute timer, you have several options and settings to choose from. Unlike other TENS machines though, it only has a one year warranty.
8. Med-Fit 1 Dual Channel TENS Machine Pain Relief
A brand well-known for top quality TENS machines, Med-Fit’s bestseller is their Med-Fit 1 Dual Channel TENS Machine. A favourite among users because of its simplicity and effectiveness, the Med-Fit 1 is an analogue device with easy to manipulate dials.
This machine features three modes and several settings. It also works like a charm at removing body aches and pains, plus it’s lightweight and can easily be carried, attached to your belt.
9. Lloydspharmacy TENS Digital Pain Reliever
The Lloydspharmacy TENS Digital Pain Reliever is a digital dual channel TENS Machine that many users choose for its affordability and effectiveness. It features a convenient, clearly visible digital display and buttons that are easy to understand and no problem to use.
This device also has 25 intensity levels and several modes for different treatments. Powered by three AAA batteries, it’s small and weighs very little so you can take it with you wherever you go. It does a great job of providing a fast comforting massage and soothing pain relief.
10. TensCare MamaTENS Digital Maternity Machine (Best for labour)
While standard TENS machines are discouraged for pregnancy, there are a few that can safely be used to cope with labour pain. One of these TENS machines suitable for expecting mothers is the TensCare MamaTENS Digital Maternity Machine.
Mothers can enjoy gentle soothing pain relief without fear of any adverse effects on their baby. This machine offers three pre-set modes for each labour stage. The digital display and handy buttons are simple, easy to use and very convenient. It can be used either with its neck cord or belt clip and requires two 1.5 volt AA batteries.
The TENS Machine and its Analgesic Effect
Electrical stimulation has been used by ancient civilizations to relieve pain from severe injuries. This form of electrotherapy involved the use of electric fish to treat acute pain from injuries. It is also used during childbirth and surgical operations to numb the pain.
In recent times, the TENS machine has been used to produce jolts of electricity for a similar analgesic effect. It passes electric impulses through the nerve endings on the skin thereby stimulating it.
A theory suggests that the human body produces chemical compounds like endorphins and encephalin as a result of these stimulations. These compounds produce the same pain-relieving effect as other opiates and hinder the pain waves from getting to the brain.
It is also believed that due to the slowness of pain signals, the stimulation of the nerves by electrical impulses produce non-pain signals that reach the brain faster and block the pain.
The type of effect achieved is dependent on the pulse rate settings on the TENS machine. This regulates the intensity of the vibration and the duration of each pulse produced.
There are electrodes on the machine which can be placed over strategic areas on the body for the best results. The electric current that stimulates the nerve endings passes through these electrodes into the skin to produce a feeling of relief from all aches and pain.
It is a relatively safe and effective pain management system when used properly. The TENS machine is ideal for people that are looking for a non-invasive approach to alleviating pain.
Using a TENS Machine
Although the current produced by the machine is too low to cause any major harm, proper medical consultation before the use of a TENS unit is advised. Most of these devices come with an instruction manual but there are some general precautions to consider while using a TENS machine.
The electrodes are usually placed on the area of skin close to the site where the pain is felt. Use alcohol to clean the area and allow it to dry. You may consider applying a thin layer of gel over the surface of the electrode pads to minimize the risk of skin irritation.
Place the adhesive electrode pads on the clean and dry area of skin. Ensure that they are properly spaced before you turn on the machine. You may use the controls on the machine to regulate the intensity of the electrical pulse. It is advisable to start with a low setting unless your physician thinks otherwise.
The physician may also offer professional advice on the placement of the electrode pads. Placing them in the wrong area may worsen the pain rather than soothe it. Use of the TENS machine should be discontinued when whenever you begin to feel any pain or discomfort.
The machine can be used multiple times in one day according to your doctor’s recommendation. Each session should last about 20 minutes. There is a timer setting that automatically turns off the machine when the time elapses to promote ease of use. The TENS unit should be turned off and properly stored away after use.
Things to Consider When Buying a TENS Machine.
In order to have an enjoyable massage session, you need to get a machine with some unique features and functionalities.
Multiple Intensity Levels
Being able to adjust the intensity of the pulse produced by the TENS unit is an added advantage. This gives you full control over the level of nerve stimulation that you required. Other members of your family are also able to use the same TENS machine by adjusting the intensity level.
Some of the products available in the market have preset intensity levels to make sure that you get a good massage. They are capable of producing higher electric pulses like the EMS.
Number of Channels
The number of channels determines how many electrode pads that are usable on a TENS machine at one time. An electric pulse is passed through a pair of electrodes via a single channel.
Having a machine with more channels implies that you can work on more nerves at once to save time. This is helpful in the healing process as the pain is relieved faster.
The timer is a very important feature of the TENS machine. It ensures that the unit runs for the required amount of time. Using the machine for too long may irritate the skin and cause the batteries and electrodes to die faster.
The time spent is usually displayed along with other information on the screen in front of the TENS machine.
Ease of Use
A good TENS machine should be easy to use. It should have several preset modes that enable you to customize the way your nerves are massaged for a better experience.
Those with larger backlit screens enable you to easily adjust user settings without squinting. Also, having a long lead wire enables you to work on different areas of your body at a particular time.
The shape and size of a TENS machine also determine how user-friendly it is. Nobody wants to carry around a bulky unit. These machines can be used on-the-go, that is why size matters.
Some models come with a plastic case that features a means to attach the device to your belt for your comfort. You can fit most of the other products into your pocket comfortably.
There are also different electrode pad sizes depending on what you desire. The large ones tend to massage your body much faster than the small ones. But when you have some forms of acute pain or muscle knots, the small electrodes can easily target specific areas to alleviate the pain.
Common Q&A TENS Machine
1. What modes does the machine offer?
Some machines have pre-set modes for first-time users or those who want something basic and simple. Also, check on the number of pads and electrodes attached to the machine.
More pads and electrodes mean you can use the machine simultaneously on various body parts. You might want to consider a dual channel machine as well since this lets you choose independent settings for at least two pads.
2. What intensity levels does it have?
Take a look at the power and intensity level of the machine. You’ll want to be able to choose different intensity or strength levels depending on the pain you’re feeling.
3. How easy is it to use?
The machine’s ease of operation should also be considered. How many buttons are there? How do you control the settings? The size of the display will also matter. Can you see and read it clearly?
4. How portable is the machine?
A smaller unit is more convenient since you can take it anywhere but be sure it’s of high quality or it might not have enough power or intensity. Also, take into consideration the weight of the machine and its storage container.
5. What kind of battery does it use?
Some machines especially of the combination type might need to be plugged in to work but there are also a lot of rechargeable options nowadays that use either standard or lithium batteries. Look into how long will the machine will last before it needs charging or replacement of the batteries.
6. How long is the warranty?
Compare the unit’s warranty with other units. Does it reach the standard? Another thing to consider is how long before the parts need to be replaced and if they’re easy to find.
The TENS machine comes with unique features that help improve the quality of life. Although electrotherapy is not dangerous, pregnant women may not use the TENS machine as it poses a health risk to the unborn child.
If a pregnant woman is experiencing any pain, she should seek medical advice to enable her to identify the best way to proceed with treatment.
The TENS machine should never be substituted with proper medical treatment. There is a good TENS machine suited for everyone regardless of the size of their pocket or the type of pain they are experiencing.
TENS is a gentle but effective way of coping with aches and pains from various conditions. Backaches, arthritis, sciatica, multiple sclerosis and in some cases, labour pain can all benefit from drug-free TENS therapy. The units listed here are the best in the business; just be sure to decide on a TENS machine specifically suited to your needs.