How Does a TENS Unit Temporarily Reduce Pain?

How Does a TENS Unit Temporarily Reduce Pain?

September, 17, 2018







Understanding Electrotherapy

How does a TENS unit temporarily decrease pain? There are two main theories that explain the mechanism of TENS therapy and temporary pain relief: The Gate Control Theory and The Endorphin Release Theory. TENS units are becoming increasingly common for at-home pain relief and are currently used by thousands of doctors, nurses, physical therapist and chiropractors. In fact, both the The American College of Physicians and American Academy of Family Physicians now suggest clinicians treat patients with acute pain from non–low back, musculoskeletal injuries with TENS therapy.



Learn more about how the TENS unit can temporarily decrease pain.




The Gate Control Theory

TENS therapy and pain relief references The Gate Control Theory to explain how it works. This theory espouses that electrical impulses administered by TENS units reduces pain signals from reaching the brain. The impulses are thought to interfere with pain messages so that the pain sufferer can feel temporary relief.



The Endorphin Release Theory

The second most common scientific theory is The Endorphin Release Theory. This theory hypothesizes that electrical stimulation can produce endorphins in the body. These endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers, reducing pain signals from the brain. The benefit is that it is completely natural and absent of harmful side effects or dependency issues.




Where Did The Gate Control Theory Originate?

The Gate Control Theory was first published in the 1960’s by Melzach and Wells. Dr. Well’s used a TENS unit to help treat a patient. He observed that a low-intensity current of electrical impulses was capable of “jamming pain signals” and creating a pleasant substitute. He confirmed that the unit did not create pain, but instead, replaced pain signals with a tingling sensation under the pads.



Are You New to TENS Therapy?

If you’re new to TENS and have little to no knowledge about how TENS work to temporarily relieve both muscle and arthritic pain, we have resources to help educate you on the benefits of electrical stimulation for at-home, symptomatic pain relief and pain relief from arthritis. Check out The Pain therapy System or The Pain Therapy System Pro if you are interested in trying TENS or refer to the resources below for more information. 



Learn More About TENS Therapy

  1. TENS Machine: This is Everything You Need to Know
  2. DR-HO’S TENS Buyer’s Guide: An Introduction to TENS Therapy
  3. How to Choose a TENS Machine.
  4. What is a TENS Machine?
  5. How Do TENS Machines Work?
  6. TENS Machine Side Effects: Is TENS Therapy Safe?
  7. What Is the Difference between EMS and TENS Therapy?
  8. Do TENS Units Really Work?
  9. What Conditions are TENS Machines Used For?
  10. Best TENS Machine: How to Find the Best Price, Quality, & Machine
  11. TENS Machine Reviews: Customer Reviews on DR-HO’S TENS Machines
  12. How to Use a TENS Machine – And How to Know You’re Using It Properly
  13. TENS Machine Prices: Compare Devices & Find The Best Deal
  14. TENS Vs EMS for Muscle Recovery
  15. What Does a TENS Unit do For Muscles?
  16. How to Use TENS for Muscle Recovery
  17. Can TENS Machines Help with Muscle Recovery Post Workout?
  18. Video: The Top 7 Questions People Ask About TENS
  19. Can You Use a TENS Unit While Sleeping?
  20. How Long is it Safe to Use TENS For?