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TENS Machine Electrode Pads
A TENS machine is a natural pain relief solution, a small battery-powered device that has leads connected to sticky pads called Tens electrodes. This device helps manage chronic pain, labour pain, neuropathic pain and so much more. While the unit is the power source, the electrodes do all the hard work. We have a wide range of TENS pads and TENS machine replacement pads for sale in Australia.
What are TENS Machine pads?
TENS electrodes are attached directly to the skin. When the machine is turned on, these tens pads will deliver small electrical impulses that you experience as a tingling sensation. The electrical impulses can reduce the feelings of pain going to the spinal cord and brain. The electrodes themselves are small, flat, bandage-like pads that are attached to the skin with tape, or with an existing adhesive gel on the inside. Pads are most commonly shaped like a square or rectangle and, when used properly, they can be reused for up to 20-30 treatments. Other things to consider when using TENS machine pads include:
- Make sure the machine is turned off before attaching electrodes to your skin.
- They should only be applied to clean and dry skin where there are no cuts, grazes, or irritation. Wash your skin after removing the pads at the end of each treatment.
- If the skin is irritated you may need to consider using a different type of pad, such as silicone rubber pads.
Rull, Gurvinder. March 2018. TENS Machines. https://patient.info/treatment-medication/painkillers/tens-machines#nav-3
How long will the Tens electrode pads last?
The electrodes on TENS units can be identified as sticky pads that attach to the skin. These tens pads are generally reusable for up to 20-30 times if used correctly as directed in our blog. However, this will depend on several factors, such as:
- Duration of the treatment. Longer treatments will wear out the electrodes quicker.
- Regularly switching between each pair of tens electrodes between each day of use. This will provide the first set about 24 hours to completely dry, which will expand the usage time.
- Regular cleaning of the electrodes helps prevent debris and the buildup of dirt.
- Whether you have a lot of body hair, we recommend shaving areas that need to be treated or keeping it on bare skin.
How do TENS Electrode pads work?
TENS electrodes are attached directly to the skin to deliver small electrical impulses to the affected areas of the body. The electrical impulses can relieve pain, relax muscles and stimulate the production of endorphins which are the body’s natural painkillers.
TENS Electrodes deliver impulses at variable frequencies to relieve acute (high frequency) or chronic (low frequency) pain (Lillis, 2018). Two electrodes must be attached to the skin to create a circuit, while four electrodes can be used to treat a larger area. TENS pads should be placed on either side of the affected areas, at least 1 inch apart. TENS devices can be used throughout the day, but should not be used while driving or operating machinery. If you plan to be in motion while using TENS, be sure to secure each electrode with tape. When placing electrodes on the skin, there are certain areas to avoid such as:
- Eyes or mouth
- Your chest and upper back at the same time
- Irritated, infected, or broken skin
- Varicose veins
- Numb areas
Lillis, Charlotte. 2018. What is a TENS unit and does it work?. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323632.
Where do you put TENS pads?
It's important to consider that the TENS pads placementhas the potential impact on the effectiveness of your treatment. Most TENs machines have two channels that connect to a pair of sticky machine pads. The device can then deliver the treatment to the affected area after proper TENS electrode placement onto the skin.
For specific areas of pain, most therapists will use one channel (or one pair of pads) around either side of the pain (Watson, 2018). The painful region should be in between the two pads. However, there are also alternative TENs machine electrode placements that may also be effective. Before use, please advise a healthcare practitioner, such as a physiotherapist or osteopath, about these pads' proper usage. These alternative placements include (Neto et al., 2017):
- On the opposite side of your pain (e.g. left knee for right knee pain)
- Over the areas of the spine where the nerves connect to the painful region
- Neighbouring regions where the nerves are related the sore spot (i.e. myotome and dermatome patterns)
- Related acupressure points
For more widespread or vague areas of pain, two channels can be used. Place each pair of your pads diagonally across each around the treatment area. Additionally, a combination of alternative TENS placements can be used (Watson, 2018). However, please advise a qualified health professional before using.
- Watson, T. (2018). Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). printed on, 1-17.
- Neto, M., Maciel, L., Cruz, K., Filho, V., Bonjardim, L. R., & DeSantana, J. M. (2017). Does electrode placement influence tens-induced antihyperalgesic in experimental inflammatory pain model?. Brazilian journal of physical therapy, 21(2), 92–99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bjpt.2017.03.003
TENS Pads FAQ
What are the best TENS electrode pads?
There is a wide variety of TENS pads available on the market and when selecting your pads, you’ll want to keep lifespan, quality, and price in mind. The best option will be those that are compatible with your TENS unit. Many machines come with a universal fitting for electrodes but not all machines do, so it is important to check which options are compatible with your machine.
The most common fittings are pigtail and snap connectors. Depending on how frequently you use your machine you can save by purchasing in bulk. Some things you should consider when choosing your TENS pads are:
- Size: Smaller electrodes may be better for smaller areas such as your limbs, while larger pads can securely cover more area like the torso
- Shape: Square is the most common shape and is effective for covering a uniform area and addressing pain evenly. Round electrodes are useful for small areas and joints such as elbows and knees. Butterfly-shaped electrodes are useful for lower back treatments which is a common area of pain for many people. Strips are good for large flat areas such as spinal pain.
Buying pads for a TENS machine can be a complicated task, but if you consider your desired usage and read product reviews you can find the right electrode for your needs. Shop our replacement gel pads for high-quality, long-lasting TENS electrode pads.
Are tens machine pads reusable?
Yes, TENS machine pads are reusable. These TENS gel pads can be used for up to 2-3 months and are the only component that will need replacing. The adhesive gel coating from the machine pads helps stick onto the skin for effective treatment. Through multiple uses, the adhesive gel will slowly become less sticky. Fortunately, there are ways where you can make TENS machine pads sticky again, including:
- Cleaning your skin with an alcohol wipe before application.
- Cleaning TENS machine pads by wiping them down with a moist cloth. By using water, you can wash off the residue, oil and dirt after every single use.
- Return the pads to the plastic sheet.
- Store these pads in a dry environment and away from the Sun. Avoid storing in the fridge.
If you notice that the TENs machine pads are not sticking or feel different from previous treatments, you may need to replace them. You can find replacement gel pads for TENs machines in our store.
Where to place TENS machine pads for tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a painful condition that occurs when tendons in your elbow are overloaded. Athletes aren’t the only people who can develop tennis elbow; anyone who experiences repeated contraction of the forearm muscles can suffer from tennis elbow. The condition makes it difficult or painful to complete daily tasks such as shaking hands, turning a doorknob, or holding a cup of coffee (Mayo Clinic, 2021).
TENS & EMS units can be used to help relax the overworked forearm muscles and relieve pain associated with the tennis elbow. The pads should be placed above and below the elbow joint at least one inch apart, and they should form a square around the joint. Pads should not be placed directly on bones. The user can experiment with the duration and frequency, and use the TENS machine for as long or as short as necessary to alleviate the pain.
Jill, Estephenie. July 2021. Is A TENS Machine Useful For Tennis Elbow And Your Best Options. https://helpandwellness.com/is-a-tens-machine-useful-for-tennis-elbow-and-your-best-options/#TENS_Machine_Pad_Placement_For_Tennis_Elbow
Mayo Clinic Staff. Tennis Elbow. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tennis-elbow/symptoms-causes/syc-20351987
Where to put TENS machine pads for labour?
Women seeking a natural alternative to anaesthetics during labour can consider a TENS machine for pain relief. You will need a machine specifically designed for maternity use, and you can start using it when you start to feel regular contractions or backaches (Marsh, 2021). While many TENS units can be helpful in the early stages of labour, it is not recommended to begin using TENS partway through labour, as preliminary research suggests that it is only beneficial from the beginning. To use TENS during labour, four electrodes should be placed on your back. The top two pads should be spaced on either side of your spine, with the top of the pads placed at bra-strap level. The bottom pads should be placed lower on either side of the spine, just above your bottom. Switch the machine on at the lowest setting, and increase the frequency as your contractions get stronger or the back pain worsens. Marsh, Lorna. 2021. Using a TENS machine in Labour. Babycentre.co.uk. https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a542581/using-a-tens-machine-in-labour
Women seeking a natural alternative to anaesthetics during labour can consider a TENS machine for pain relief. You will need a machine specifically designed for maternity use, and you can start using it when you start to feel regular contractions or backaches (Marsh, 2021). While many TENS units can be helpful in the early stages of labour, it is not recommended to begin using TENS partway through labour, as preliminary research suggests that it is only beneficial from the beginning.
To use TENS during labour, four electrodes should be placed on your back. The top two pads should be spaced on either side of your spine, with the top of the pads placed at bra-strap level. The bottom pads should be placed lower on either side of the spine, just above your bottom. Switch the machine on at the lowest setting, and increase the frequency as your contractions get stronger or the back pain worsens.
Marsh, Lorna. 2021. Using a TENS machine in Labour. Babycentre.co.uk. https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a542581/using-a-tens-machine-in-labour
Where do you put TENS pads for sciatica?
Sciatica is described as nerve pain stemming from abnormalities to the sciatic nerve (Davis et al., 2021). As a result, symptoms from sciatica often spread from the lower back to the calf and foot. Using a TENs unit for sciatica pain has been shown to significantly reduce pain, improve movement and improve sleep quality (El-Sayed et al., 1999).
The TENs electrodes placement for sciatica will vary depending on each individual's symptoms and condition's cause. Research that found significant benefits of using TENs machine for sciatica utilised two channels (two pairs TENs machine pads) over each end of the hamstring and calf muscles where nerve pain is frequently experienced (El-Sayed et al., 1999). Johnson and Bjordal (2011) noted that these are common pad locations to help relieve sciatica symptoms. Additionally, one pair of TENs pads can be placed across each side of the lumbar spine (lower back spine) where the sciatic nerve originates (Johnson and Bjordal, 2011; Watson, 2018).
Please consult a relevant healthcare practitioner for further clarification of TENs electrodes placement for sciatica pain.
- Davis D, Maini K, Vasudevan A. Sciatica. [Updated 2021 Sep 2]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507908/
- El-sayed, A. G., White, P. F., Ahmed, H. E., Hamza, M. A., Craig, W. F., & Noe, C. E. (1999). Percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation: an alternative to TENS in the management of sciatica. Pain, 83(2), 193-199.
- Johnson, M. I., & Bjordal, J. M. (2011). Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for the management of painful conditions: focus on neuropathic pain. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 11(5), 735-753.
- Watson, T. (2018). Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). printed on, 1-17.
Extracted from : (El-Sayed et al., 1999)