Frequently Asked Questions
- What does TENS feel like?
You may feel tingling, tapping, buzzing, or muscle twitching. You may also notice the TENS feels stronger or weaker at times. You may become used to the feeling and can turn up the intensity as you wear it longer.
- Does it hurt?
No, it should not hurt. Make sure you are setting it at a strong but comfortable intensity.
- TENS harm my body?
No, but it can cause some skin irritation from the patches.
- Can I get shocked?
The TENS unit gives a therapeutic dose of electricity to your body. The higher you turn it up, the more intense the feeling will be and the more pain relief you will get. Turning it up as high as it will go may cause surprise and discomfort, but it will not harm you.
Since the unit is an electrical device, you can get shocked if:
> You reposition, or take off, the patches or if you remove the wires from the patches without first turning the unit off
> The unit gets wet while you are using it
> You touch bare wires on a damaged cord
- What if a wire comes out of the unit or patches?
Turn the unit off, put the wire back in, and restart the unit.
- Does it matter where I place the patches?
Yes! Try to surround the painful area. Place them on fleshy areas of the body, not over boney sites.
- What if the patches fall off?
Turn the unit off and take the wire out of the patch. You can either clean and dry the patch or replace it with a new patch. In either case, make sure your skin is clean and dry before putting on the patch and restarting the unit.
- Is it OK if my muscles twitch?
Yes, as long as it is not uncomfortable. Having your muscles twitch for longer than 30 minutes may cause them to get tired or sore.
- Is it OK to turn it up to where I just barely feel it?
No. Research shows this will not provide pain relief.
- Why do I not wear it to bed?
It is easy for the wires to get tangled or unplugged, or the patches may come off. Not wearing it to bed also lets your skin rest from wearing the patches.
- Do I have to use my TENS unit daily? Can I take a break?
You can take a break; 3 to 5 days off may be helpful. If your pain is at a manageable level, you may want to leave the unit off and wait to use it again when you have a flare-up. Some people use their TENS only when their pain is most severe, while others use it daily.
- Why can’t I let someone else try my TENS unit?
Just as you would not let others take a medicine that was only prescribed for you, you should not let others use your TENS unit.
- What is the problem with wearing it in the shower?
There is a chance for electrical shock since it is an electrical device. Also, the unit is not waterproof and would be damaged.
- Do I have to use all four patches?
No. But, if the area is large enough to get all 4 patches on, you will get more stimulation, which could give you greater pain relief.
- Will my insurance cover a TENS unit?
TENS units are not routinely covered by insurance, but all companies have different policies. Please call your insurance company to find out if your plan covers a TENS unit.
- Where do I get more TENS unit patches?
Look in your TENS unit manual to learn how you can get more TENS supplies. Your best choice is to go back to the vendor where you bought the unit. You may find patches on-line, but check with the vendor to be sure the patches work with your unit.