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How Long is it Safe to Use TENS For?

August 07, 2018 in TENS Therapy

TENS therapy

How Long is it Safe to Use TENS For?

Based on user experience using TENS therapy, it's recommended that a pain sufferer use TENS for 20-minute intervals. Some TENS devices, such as The Pain Therapy System Pro, are equipped with a timer so that the user can apply the pads before bed and set the timer to shut off automatically.

If TENS therapy is used for longer than 20-minutes at a time, the user risks causing skin irritation. The user can avoid this by moving the pads every 20 minutes. Once the pads are moved from the original placement, the user can continue to feel relief from their device.

DR-HO'S Pain Relief System

How Long Does it Take for TENS Therapy to Start Working?

Pain sufferers who try TENS machines for the first time are surprised to discover that pain relief is often immediate. The Gate Control Theory explains this sensation with this long-winded explanation:

"According to this Gate-Control Theory of Pain, activity in large diameter low threshold mechanoreceptive (touch-related) nerve fibers could inhibit the transmission of action potentials from small diameter higher threshold nociceptive (pain-related) fibers through pre and postsynaptic inhibition in the dorsal horn of spinal cord."

In layman's terms, this means that when you turn on a TENS device that is sending electrical signals to the nerve, pain signals are not able to reach the brain. Essentially, TENS is thought to block pain signals. This explains why TENS is capable of relieving pain right away. Users report pain relief within the first 20 minutes of use.

Are there Any Side Effects to Using TENS Therapy?

TENS therapy is FDA cleared and safe. There are no adverse effects to using TENS therapy for the average user. People with a pacemaker should not use TENS therapy and women who are pregnant should be cautious and avoid TENS therapy. Always consult with your doctor before trying a new form of pain relief, especially if you suffer from a preexisting health condition.

Learn More About the Safety of TENS Therapy

If you're interested in learning more about TENS Therapy and the potential risks of use, read the article TENS Machine Side Effects: Is TENS Therapy Safe?

Check out the following research for even more information on TENS therapy:

TENS therapy


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3066716/
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