The first used a TENS therapy device over a decade ago when I was having issues with sciatica. My physical therapist had to order it and my insurance paid for it – thankfully, because they were expensive back then.
A lot has changed in the decade or so since my first TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) device, and yet a lot is still the same. The biggest change is that TENS units are now widely and easily available, and you no longer need a prescription to receive the device. As such, it’s less likely that your insurance will cover it outright (although it should still be covered by an FSA or HSA plan). The good news is that along with that change, the price has dropped drastically.
I think that first TENS unit ran about $200. These days you can find a wide range of prices across Amazon.com. You can even find disposable TENS units at your local drugstore for around $20.
TENS devices work to relieve and reduce pain by sending tiny electric shocks into the nerves. The nerves are sending signals to the brain to tell it that you are in pain. But these shocks basically get in the way, blocking those signals. Additionally, the tiny shocks can also help release endorphins that reduce pain as well.
TENS is a drug-free way to help you control pain. The effects work up to 24 hours. It’s portable and it’s easy to use. Best of all, you control it. You can adjust the intensity, as well as choose the location. If your shoulder is bothering you, you put the electrodes on your shoulder. If your hip is bothering you, you put the electrodes on your hip. Then you turn on the device and adjust the settings to a level that is comfortable for you.
This post is sponsored by TENS 7000. I was provided product and compensation in exchange for this post.
TENS 7000 sent me their 2nd Edition Digital TENS unit kit to try. The timing worked out well, because after moving I have no idea where my old unit went. I’ve gone through several since that first one but that first one still felt like the best, as many of the cheaper ones, while they have a ton of settings, often just feel cheap. Then TENS 7000 unit reminded me a lot of my first TENS unit.
The first thing I noticed about this unit is that it comes in a nice solid case. I really appreciate the case, because trying to keep up with the electrodes and wires as well as the unit itself can be a challenge. The case makes it easy.
Upon further examination, I found that the unit is very reminiscent of that first TENS device I had, although a tad smaller. It fits nicely in the palm of my hand. The electrodes are also a little smaller, making them easier to apply without the worry of movement knocking them loose.
Another upgrade from that older unit is that this one is digital, making it really easy to see exactly what the settings are.
The TENS 7000 has two channels. This means that you can hook up just two pads or all four pads – allowing you to provide extra electrodes to one specific area, or treat two areas at the same time. From there you can adjust the timing, pulse, and intensity. There are five pulse settings including burst, normal, modulation, and two strength duration modes.
I generally prefer normal mode, which is a constant continuous stimulation at an intensity I set. The other modes typically provide some sort of wave pattern of intensity or stimulation. Everyone is different, so it’s a matter of playing with the settings to find what is comfortable for you.
A TENS unit is a great affordable option to keep in your chronic pain toolkit. And, at under $30, the TENS 7000 is a great option at a really good price.
Want to know more about how TENS works and the research? Check out this guide to everything you want to know about TENS.
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