Could this device be the answer to your chronic back pain?

This magical medical device could be the answer to your chronic back pain.

TENS machine

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), is a treatment that uses low voltage electric current to relieve pain.

This marvellous medical device developed in the 60s could be an affordable and effective solution to helping you cope with chronic pain conditions, such as bad backs and sciatica.

TENS even helps women get through intense labour pain without the use of drugs, so it has to be good, right?

The truth is, no one really knows exactly how TENS works. Supposedly, it’s based on the ‘gate control theory’ of pain, where nerves are stimulated, closing a ‘gate’ mechanism in the spinal cord and effectively blocking the sensation of pain.

A TENS unit is a small, battery-operated device that fits in the hand and is connected to two electrodes that attach to wherever the pain is located. The electrodes carry a small electrical current from the machine to the site of the pain.

When the TENS machine is activated, electrical impulses travel through the electrodes along to nerve fibres, creating a tingling sensation.

One theory is that this nerve stimulation blocks pain signals. Another is that it may help the body produce its own natural painkillers, called endorphins.

While there are stories of successful pain management, research has failed to validate the use of TENS alone for the management of back pain.

I can say that I have seen firsthand how effective TENS can be in helping with labour pain management.

There are some promising results with TENS for pain management, but different people have experienced varying outcomes. However, if you think you’d like to give TENS a go, you should discuss this with your doctor or health professional.

A TENS machine can range in price from around $120 to $320.

For more information about TENS, please visit

Have you heard about TENS machines? Have you tried one? What was your experience?



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    17th Aug 2017
    I tried the Tens machine but had no success. I have two bulging discs, osteoporosis, arthritis and scoliosis in the back which has caused me to be moderately disabled.
    17th Aug 2017
    Same here Grandma Kathleen - I used a TENS machine after having had 2 accidents and damaging my spine.
    Sadly it did not give me any relief.
    However other friends say it really helps them.
    I get more relief from a pulsating back cushion I have, which has 6 different types of pulse rhythms
    15th Mar 2018
    Same here chronic pain when walking or on my feet for more than 1/2 hour with most of my discs bulging some totally GONE in the majority of my spine plus Osteoporosis and Arthritis, yet I can bend forward and am still supple
    15th Mar 2018
    I have tried the TENs but did nothing
    17th Aug 2017
    Ok nobody knows how it works, but its even more vague than that.

    It seems that nobody in the hospital knows how to set one up properly and run a series of tests, at different frequencies with electrodes in different positions, to give anyone the chance to see if it works or not. There was no test system when I tried it.

    Obviously if its on persons back the patient cant move the electrodes themselves.
    19th Aug 2017
    I mainly use mine on my lower back and I have no problems moving the electrodes around to find the exact spot they need to be.

    I can also position them fairly accurately on my shoulders if I have pain there.

    Helps if you try and isolate exactly where the pain is and then position the electrodes. Obviously, that won't work if it is referred pain from another part of the body. But after awhile you get the hang of it.

    AND NO, it is not the be all and end all. It is just another aid that MAY give you relief. It can be used in conjunction with other aids like heat, massage,exercise, etc.

    If pain persists, talk to your bloody doctor, and stop self-diagnosing.
    17th Aug 2017
    We have had people using the Tens Units and comparing to the benefits of Lifewave Non Transdermal patches. Yes, the Tens Units may work a little but the patches appear about 100 times more effective and immediately the pain is eased with the patches the body goes into an accelerated healing state.
    The patches have been proven time and time again when used on disaster victims and hospital patients around the world. Costing around $5 or less each and you may only need around four to experience near immediate considerable relief, often long term relief, they are well worth consideration. Check and search for “lifewave pain”.
    Safe for all ages, easy to use, low in cost, extremely effective, already proven with extensive double blind controlled studies, no harmful side effects, accepted by the medial authorities in all the 100+ countries the patches are available including Australia.
    We provide free support ongoing toward the use and application of these patches. Rob. [email protected]
    17th Aug 2017
    ive used tens and it takes a bit of getting used to but it helps
    17th Aug 2017
    I have had a tens machine for many years. It isnt a cure all, but it does help to ease pain just a little. It is more better for tight muscles in the shoulders I reckon..............
    17th Aug 2017
    tens machines do not work. The main thing is to professionally establish the cause of the back pain. In many instances a regime of weight loss, walking followed by laying down flat for 1 hour can be extremely beneficial
    Miss Piggy
    17th Aug 2017
    Of course weight loss etc can be beneficial, but instead of a sweeping "tens machines do not work", you would have been better to have said, "tens machines do not work FOR ME". Everyone is different, and such unequivocal statements could cause someone to not try a therapy which may help. I purchased a TENS machine some 20 years ago in London to relieve knee pain, as my job as a geriatric carer required that I be physically fit. It was "top of the range" and very expensive(£325), with four modes of impulse (from gentle through to acupuncture) and used with either one or two pair of electrodes. The relief was immediate and significant and enabled me to keep working for another four years until I returned to Australia. Since then I have had a tibial osteotomy, two knee replacements, and am presently awaiting a hip replacement. Obviously (since I continue to disintegrate!) the TENS does not CURE - but then was never claimed to. I'm still using this same device and continue to have much pain relief. My father had, in his final three years from 2010, a more basic unit with only one pair of electrodes and one pulse mode, and I found that one pretty useless for severe pain. So although the outlay was initially extremely steep, at twenty years service and still going it has been worth it's weight in diamonds. I've never regretted opting for the best I could get, and am grateful it works for me as I know not everyone gets the same benefit.

    Luckily I was able to trial a few different machines first, so I did not purchase it blind, and would suggest that anyone considering buying a TENS do the same.

    I DON'T suggest, though, wearing this device if travelling through any airport immigration!! Without thinking, I was wearing it when leaving Dubai in 2000, and subsequently missed the plane, sitting in a locked room under armed guard while this evil-looking device, and I, were thoroughly checked out. Aahh well, isn't these unusual and fun(?) experiences what travel is all about?!?
    19th Aug 2017
    I also tried the TENs but it was of no use to me -- it may be OK for muscular pain but not for bone pain or disc and vertebrae problems

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