TENS for Back Pain. The little device that makes a big difference.

What you should know about this safe, easy to use, inexpensive, "at home" therapy for pain.

Back Pain | Chiropractor

TENS, which stands for Trans-cutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation, uses a modulated electric current to reduce pain. Around for decades, TENS units are small, battery powered, devices that look a lot like a beeper or an iPod. They come with thin wires that attach the unit to adhesive pads, called electrodes, which are placed directly on the skin of the back.

By setting the unit to a particular frequency and intensity, the electric current is able to stimulate the nerves in the back. This reduces their ability to transmit pain signals to the spinal cord and brain. In addition, these electrical impulses also stimulate the body to produce natural pain relievers called endorphins.

There are several great advantages to using a TENS unit, but it also has its limitations. Here are the Pro’s and Con’s of using a TENS unit to treat back pain.


  • It is a non-invasive way to relieve pain.

  • It can be used whether you are taking pain medications or not.

  • It can be used as an adjunct to chiropractic and physical therapy (in-between visits)

  • The unit is portable

  • It is easy to use.

  • For most people, it is safe to use.

  • They are inexpensive (usually around $15 - $75 depending on the unit)


  • The pain relief only occurs while the unit is on.

  • It only affects pain. It does not reduce inflammation, swelling, etc.

  • It should not be used by people with epilepsy, heart problems, or a pacemaker.

  • With frequent use, some individuals can develop a tolerance and lose its pain relieving effect.

  • Some people may have an allergy to the adhesive in the electrodes.

For many, a TENS unit can provide the relief they need to get through their day. Because of its level of safety, cost, and ease of use, it is an option to consider for most people . When used appropriately, it can be the ideal "at home" solution for managing back pain.

If you are suffering with back pain or would like more information on TENS, please contact me. I'm here to help.

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Wishing you good health,

Dr. Hagman