Are TENS Units Safe?

by Miel | Last Updated: May 27, 2017

For someone newly introduced to the pain-relieving effects of these electro-therapeutic machines, the usual questions are: Are Tens Units safe? How can I use them and not get hurt?

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

If you have decided to try out these but have doubt in your mind about their safety then you can put your mind at rest. TENS Units are very safe to use. Because TENS machines use electric pulses to alleviate pain, it is easy for people to think they are dangerous devices.

The only way a TENS unit machine can harm you is if it is misused and this typically applies to most things in the world. With that said, you might want to take certain precautions when using TENS units so you won’t endanger yourself needlessly.

Are TENS Units safe? Safety Tips when using a TENS machine

Consult Your Doctor

In many countries of the world, TENS units are part of therapies that can be used without a prescription. But experts advise you to see a doctor or a health professional before using one. These people will check your medical history and conditions to determine if you are OK for a TENS treatment.

Follow the Instructions

TENS machines come in a variety of sizes and designs. You must follow the instructions that come with your particular unit. If you’re pregnant, and you see one on which it is written that it cannot be used by pregnant women, then do not use it. Don’t assume it is safe for you because all your pregnant friends are using one.

Start Small

There are reports of people being jolted the first time they used the unit. As a first-time user, don’t turn the dial to the maximum setting. Put it at the smallest setting, and from there, you can gradually increase it when your body gets used to it.

Don’t Use A TENS Unit When Wet

Don’t get in the shower with the device on your body. Water and electricity don’t mingle. And if you have just come out of the bathroom make sure your body is dry before using a TENS machine.

TENS Is an Alternative Therapy

If are being treated for a condition in the hospital then it’s absolutely important you see your physician before using any alternative treatment like TENS. Even if you will be using the TENS unit for another condition other than the one you are being treated for, make sure your physician gives you the go-ahead.

Don’t Fall Asleep

You need to be alert when using a TENS machine as any sudden or noticeable change in your body system can call for the unit to be turned off, something you cannot do if you’re asleep.

Groups that should not use a TENS machine

So are TENS units safe? For most people and when used properly, yes, absolutely.

But TENS is not recommended for people who are currently using a pacemaker. People with epileptic conditions or bleeding disorders are also advised against using TENS machines. TENS electrodes are not to be placed on open wounds or sores.

For pregnant people, it is very important they consult their physicians before using a TENS unit. There are certain types of TENS used for the early stage of labor pain but this should be at the discretion and recommendation of a midwife or your physician.