How to Use a TENS Machine [Updated 2023]

How to Use a TENS Machine [Updated 2023]
Updated March 27, 2023



How to Use a TENS Machine?

If you’re wondering how to get started with a TENS therapy device, how to apply your gel pads, how to set intensities, or just want to know more about how to use a TENS machine, you may have just received your first TENS device or have been considering buying one. This article is the first step towards being educated on TENS technology and relieving pain. Find out how to use your machine below.



Start with a TENS Machine That Works!






Directions for Using a TENS Machine

Whether you have DR-HO’S Pain Therapy System or a different TENS unit, the following directions should help walk you through how to properly use a TENS machine for pain relief.



1. Unpack Your TENS Unit

Open your unit and ensure that you have the portable device and the self-adhesive pads. If the machine you selected requires a battery, ensure that working batteries are inserted or that the unit is fully charged.



2. Correctly Place Gel Pads

First, identify the area of pain you would like to place your gel pads. Wet the gel pads with a spray bottle or use a conductive gel to ensure they will adhere to the skin. Place the gel pads on the area where you experience pain. Make sure the wires attached to the pads are connected to the machine.
Never place the pads:

• On the head
• On the throat/ front of the neck
• On the eyes
• On the chest
• Over a pacemaker
• Over wounds or tumours

View DR-HO'S Pad Placement Instructions Series for detailed instructions on where to place your pads for each different type of pain.


If putting pads on your skin isn’t for you, consider a TENS machine that has built-in pads! Such as:
The Circulation Promoter: Just place your feet on top of it.
The Neck Pain Pro: Just wear it around your neck and shoulders.
The Triple Action Back Belt: Just wear it around your lower back.



3. Power On


Time to turn on your TENS device and power up! For the DR-HO’S Pain Therapy System, this means simply turning the dial.




4. Select an Intensity



Depending on the device you have chosen there may be a variety of intensity levels. Start at a low intensity and gradually increase the intensity to your comfort level. You should start to feel the muscle stimulations right away. The sensation has been compared to the feeling of a gentle massage on the muscles.


5. Select a Mode


Not every TENS machine comes with different modes. If, like the Pain Therapy System, your machine does have various modes, choose one you would like to try. Each module should simulate a different massage technique or sensation. Start with a low setting on any given mode and work your way up to trying a more vigorous setting. Keep reading for more information on the modes offered by all DR-HO’S TENS products!




6. Set an Automatic Timer


If you are planning on using your machine for an extended period of time, set a timer. If you are using the machine before bed or believe you may doze off, set a timer for 10 or 20 minutes. Many devices have built-in timers. If yours doesn’t, set one on your phone or clock.

man using tens device in bed




DR-HO’S Pain Therapy System Modes


DR-HO'S TENS devices have a variety of modules that create different sensations. If you are unsure how to use a TENS machine, start with understanding the unit’s modes. If you are an owner of a DR-HO'S TENS machine you can recognize the following modes:




Mode A:


Feels like thumb kneading, palm kneading, finger tapping and percussion. Mode A is developed to stimulate healthy muscles in order to improve and facilitate muscle performance and for the temporary increase in local blood circulation in healthy muscles.




Mode B:


Feels like chopping, cupping and oscillating squeezing. Use this on larger muscle groups with larger gel pads. Use this mode to stimulate muscles and nerves to help relieve pain associated with sore and aching muscles or symptomatic relief and management of chronic, intractable pain and relief of pain associated with arthritis.




Mode C:


Mode C is a more gentle massage-like sensation on the muscles. The stimulations slowly build in intensity throughout the setting, unpredictably delivering soothing electrical pulses to your muscles and nerves.




How Do You Know You’re Using The TENS Machine Properly?


Using a TENS machine for the first time is quite easy. There are, however, a few common mistakes that TENS users make that can lead to the misuse of the machine. A few of these include:

1. Not wetting the gel pads to make sure they stick
2. Not double-checking the batteries are properly inserted.
3. Starting on an intensity that is too high
4. Using the machine for over an hour at a time/ not setting a timer
5. Not checking that the pads and wires are connected to the unit
6. Placing the pads on areas they shouldn’t be (eyes, head, chest, etc)
7. Get more information on how to use a TENS machine

For more information, visit our website or give us a call!