When searching for a drug-free way to treat and manage physical pain, the options can feel overwhelming. Creams, lotions, exercises, vitamins, and more can help tackle pain to varying degrees, but one item we have found success with is the TENS unit. Short for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, TENS units are battery operated devices that send electrical pulses through pads.
As explained by Medical News Today, TENS units work by sending electrical pulses through electropads, which flood the nervous system and decrease its ability to send pain signals to the brain and spinal cord, helping to temporary ease physical ailments in muscles and joints.
TENS units are ideal for use for a variety of ailments, including strained and sore muscles, joint pain, period pain, neck, shoulder and back pain and more. Medical News Today lists of some of the conditions that can be improved by TENS units, including endometriosis, sports injuries including pulled and sprained muscles and ligaments, diabetic neuropathy, arthritis, fibromyalgia, spinal cord injuries and more. The three TENS units we’ve included below all come with controls that enable the user to choose the level of strength for electric pulses, from mild to moderate.
TENS Units are an ideal alternative to taking over-the-counter or prescription pills for pain relief, providing a natural alternative to pain management. Relief from pain when using TENS units varies between users, with some people finding their pain reduced only while using the unit, while others can feel the effects for days after each session.
While many people can benefit from using a TENS unit to address muscle pain, it’s important to note that there are some groups who should avoid the machines, including women who are pregnant, people with a cardiac pacemaker or an existing cardiac condition, people with epilepsy, and anyone with implanted metal devices or screws.
Check out three of our favorite TENS units below and get ready to feel some relief.
1. Easy@Home Professional Grade Rechargeable TENS Unit
The Easy@Home Professional Grade Rechargeable TENS Unit includes 20 power levels and eight different massage modes to choose from, making it an ideal option for anyone who needs light to maximum pain relief.
Pros: Easy@Home Professional Grade Rechargeable TENS Unit is strong enough to handle high levels of pain, with 20 power levels varying from mild to intense, as well as five automated massage options and three traditional massage modes. The machine can be charged through a USB or DC, with one charge lasting up to 120 minutes. Four electropads are included and can be applied to the arms, back, legs, joints, and more. The unit is lightweight and portable and comes with a leather carrying bag and a large, easy to read LCD screen.
Cons: Some customers wish the unit came with more than four pads and noted that the pads must be replaced after multiple uses.
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2. Nursal Rechargeable TENS Units Muscle Stimulator
The Nursal Rechargeable TENS Units Muscle Stimulator includes eight unique electropads that are designed to contour to specific parts of the body.
Pros: Like the Easy@Home Professional Grade Rechargeable TENS Unit, the Nursal also has 20 levels of intensity. The Nursal has the most options for massage types, with 12 modes including acupuncture, cupping, taping, magnetic field therapy, and more. The unit includes an A and B channel that allows for two massage modes at once. Unlike the other two options that have four electropads, the Nursal comes with eight electropads that are specifically designed for different parts of the body. The Nursal has an adjustable 10-60 minute timer, and one charge can last up to 10 hours.
Cons: The Nursal cannot be used while it’s charging. Customers found the manual challenging to read because of small font and lack of instructions.
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3. Easy@Home TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator
Lightweight and portable, the Easy@Home TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator features a large LCD screen that clearly displays the mode of the four electro pads, including Massage, Beat or Knead settings.
Pros: The Easy@Home TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator has six preprogrammed stimulation modes to choose from with an intensity setting that includes 10 levels. The unit has an adjustable pulse stimulation speed and can be used on the back, as well as arms, legs and joints.
Cons: Unlike the Easy@Home Professional Grade Rechargeable TENS Unit and the Nursal, the Easy@Home TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator runs on 4 AAA batteries and can’t be recharged. It also has half the intensity level of the Professional Grade Easy@Home model and six massage modes instead of eight. The Easy@Home TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator also weighs slightly more at 137 grams versus 127 grams.
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