How to Use TENS Unit for Knee Pain

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Here’s an Easy Guide on How to Use TENS Unit for Knee Pain

The Trans-cutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS unit is used to stimulate the nerves through an electrical current across the skin. It’s powered by a battery to produce pain-relieving electrical wave. The modified electrical current is passed from the unit, through electrodes and lead wires, to the skin nerves. Generally, it is used on the spinal and superficial nerves connected through the brain.

Best Way to Use TENS Unit for Knee Pain

Non-Invasive Tool for Pain Relief

TENS unit is basically a non-invasive device that relieves patients from knee pain and other inflammation. With regular application, it can reduce pain for 4 hours. On the other hand, prolonged use can significantly decrease pain relief. To avoid the decline of pain-relieving effects, electrode placement can be done.

 Mode Settings

Every TENS unit model may vary from other models, but mode settings commonly include normal, modulation, and burst. Let’s explain these settings below for further knowledge on how to use them:

• Normal mode. This is the most commonly applied setting that results in gating effect. Constant stimulation is set at certain frequency with pulse width on.

• Modulation. The frequency of TENS units vary from one setting to another. A cyclical is used to decrease nerve adaptation. You can apply this for chronic and acute pain relief.

• Burst. To relieve chronic pain, burst mode is used. The TENS unit sends a burst of pain-relieving electrical wave to reduce knee pain.

How to Use TENS Unit for Knee Pain 1

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Setting the Frequency or Pulse Rate

The frequency or pulse rate is the amount of electrical current felt in the skin for one second. The unit of measurement used is Hertz or Hz. The degree of pain relief may take place at different frequencies. For instance, patients suffering from acute pain can get the most relief – between 80 to 120 Hz.

Chronic pain sufferers can take advantage of lower settings such as 2 to 10 Hz. This is enough to stimulate endorphin release. If you will use a mode setting with 35 to 50 Hz, you can effectively stimulate your muscles which result in relaxation.

For pulse width setting, it refers to the “on” period of the electrical current. Pain relief occurs at low to mid-time periods. To stimulate the muscles, you need longer pulse width in order to effectively reproduce muscle contraction. However, you can change the periods before setting the pulse so you achieve the right amount of pulses. Time periods are extremely small, they are measured in 1,000th’s per second or microseconds (uS).

Setting the Time Duration for Your TENS Unit

For acute pain, set the device between 20 to 60 minutes up to 4 times daily. If you have chronic pain, set the period within 20 to 30 minutes up to 5 times weekly. It’s safe to use the TENS device as frequent as possible. In fact, people commonly use it for 30 to 60 minutes up to 4 times everyday.


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