How Does TENS Therapy Work? [Infographic]

How does your home TENS unit or portable TENS unit work?

You’ve bought or you’re thinking of buying a home TENS unit or portable tens unit. But how do they work? What’s the science behind TENS therapy?

Put briefly, an injured area of the body secretes chemical receptors. These travel through the body’s nervous system at fast speeds, to be received in the brain. This is how we detect and address the causes of pain. But it’s not always helpful to be continually reminded of pain, for example, back pain, that we know about already. It’s not providing any useful purpose. Over time, these continual reminders cause stress.

TENS therapy works to dramatically alleviate the secretion of pain chemicals by blocking or interfering with them by a gentle electronic pulsing that the body can’t process at the same time as the pain. TENS therapy also encourages the body’s natural production of endorphins, which may even mean that the pain signals become less severe at source as well. Despite the presence of the electronic pulse, all TENS therapy really does is to subtly manipulate the way your body works to allow you to get out ahead of the pain you’re feeling.

There’s a fairly simple science at work behind TENS therapy which you don’t need a scientific degree to understand, but the effects can be surprisingly profound. TENS therapy works precisely because of its simplicity. You attach the electrodes and their pads at the site of pain and feel the therapy work, for example on lower back pain. You’ll feel instantly noticeable pain relief and stress relief because the therapy is working on its own very simple level. Past the process of actually attaching the electrode pads, there really isn’t that much more to think about.

There’s a range of TENS units available on the current market. Some are bigger which means they’re capable of producing a more significant electronic pulse, but these aren’t always required, or even desirable. A larger pulse is usually what an athlete would want rather than a home user, although of course sometimes we can all experience significant muscular pain of all kinds. The current trend in home use is towards micro-products. These provide an electrical pulse gentle enough that they can be worn regularly under your clothes.


The low cost of TENS therapy means that it’s a very low-risk investment.

Despite their striking efficacy rates, home TENS units or portable TENS units are inexpensive. This is despite their increasingly shrinking-size which is making the distinction between a home TENS unit and a portable TENS unit harder and harder to distinguish. Most sufferers of back pain report that they had to experiment a little at first to determine what was the method of application that worked best for them. The common theme is that almost no-one takes long to figure it out. TENS therapy is the simple pain therapy you’re looking for.

Look at the three different options of home and portable TENS unit that truMedic offers. They’re priced according to their capacity to deliver different levels of a pulse.