The Pain & Injury Doctor ONLINE Newsletter

Here is your latest pain relief tip. If it doesn’t apply to you, still take note because life is full of surprises. If you know someone who is dealing with this type of pain, please forward this email to that person– thanks!

How to Use a TENS Unit for Pain Relief


If you are bothered by muscle pain, especially chronic (long duration) pain a TENS unit may help provide you some badly needed relief.  TENS stands for transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation.

It can be helpful for low back pain and pain around any joint such as the shoulder or elbow.

TENS works by sending tiny, electrical signals through your skin (“transcutaneous”) which gets picked up by sensory nerves.  The signal travels through these nerves, up to the sensory processing cortex in the brain.  If you get the frequency and amplitude just right, it has the effect of blocking out or interfering with some of the real pain-generating signals from your problem area.

The sensation feels like a tiny, steady electrical pulse.  The unit, which is about the size of a deck of cards (or a small TV remote control, depending on the model) has settings where you can modify the strength (amplitude), frequency and mode (constant vs. pulsed).  Generally, for more recent pain (acute) use lower frequency and amplitude.   Changing these settings is really up to the user.  You will find that certain combinations of amplitude, frequency and mode will give you better results; and it is different for everybody.

So you see, TENS doesn’t cure your pain; it reduces the perception of pain and is therefore temporary.  It is designed to improve quality of living, albeit temporarily.  Many people in pain will take temporary over nothing, any day.

The benefits of TENS are:

  • It can reduce dependency on pain drugs, all of which have harmful side effects
  • It is affordable (see below).
  • It is easy to use and you don’t need a doctor’s prescription
  • It is safe.  However, always you make sure it is TURNED OFF as you handle the electrodes; otherwise you can get a significant electrical jolt.  Turn it on only after the electrodes are attached, and you are ready.
  • It is small, unobtrusive and portable:  Clip it to your belt, apply electrodes to your back under your shirt and get therapy while you work.  Take it with you when you travel.

Recommended Products:

Here are the TENS units I recommend.  The first one is the best, as it includes a mode for EMS, or Electric Muscle Stimulation.  This mode can exercise a weak muscle while you are sitting reading your favorite book.

For especially bothersome areas, you can double the pain relief by using a professional infrared heat lamp over your painful area WHILE that area is getting TENS treatment:



Here is a video from my YouTube Channel where I go over the basics on using a TENS unit, and placing the electrodes on your body to get maximum pain relief:

In summary, a TENS unit is a great thing to have if you have low back pain, knee pain, shoulder pain or other type of musculoskeletal pain, and you are averse to taking pain medications. Combined with an infrared heat lamp, you can get “professional quality treatment” in the comfort of your home.

For more detailed, step-by-step guidance on permanently resolving chronic muscle and joint pain, visit


The information contained in this email and on is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as a medical directive. It is provided as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dan Perez, D.C. Every person is unique, and individual cases of pain are therefore unique. Dr. Perez encourages readers of to use available sources of information to help them make a more educated and informed decision regarding their health, in partnership with one or more qualified health care professionals. participates in the Amazon affiliate program. Any product on this website that is purchased through an Amazon affiliate link may result in a small affiliate commission to us. This revenue helps us cover the costs of producing content for this site. Thank you for your support.