TENS Unit for Pain: Has Anyone used them, and Are They Worth the Money?

Seeing a pain specialist on Tuesday and just remembered he recommended a TENS unit last time. It was recommended for both nerve pain and hip/wrist/shoulder. I meant to look into it but forgot.

Has anyone here ever used one? If so, would you recommend it? I’ve got enough recurring pain issues, nerve and joint, I could certainly find justification for it, I just don’t know if it’s worth it.

I’m not sure if the Libre has a metal piece under the skin like the Dexcom, but if it does then I don’t know that you could use a TENS unit with it. The electrical current plus metal inside your body would be a bad combination, if I’m not mistaken.

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Interesting… I also wear a Guardian and 670G. I didn’t think any of them had anything metal, but I also didn’t know that about the Dexcom. Well then. I’ll make sure to ask those questions first. :thinking:.

Thanks, lady. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I believe all cgm sensors [currently FDA approved] have metal components which are required to be under the skin.

I do not believe there would be any bodily injury caused with a TENS unit while also wearing a cgm sensor. If this did have the expectation of actual injury, then I would absolutely expect to see it explicitly called out on the FDA Label of the cgm sensor.

My opinion would be to try the TENS unit. Other than the cost, I do not believe there would be any downside? My understanding is it works for some people but not others. If it was me, I would try it and see if it had positive impact for myself. It is also my understanding that all TENS units are not the same. Reading reviews and comparative shopping is probably a good idea as it is with anything.

@Richard157 - I have a recollection of you posting about TENS units. Do you have experience with these?

@Nickyghaleb I run a tens unit regularly on my knees. I also have a dex and steel set in my thighs.

Electrode pad placement makes all the difference for both pain and not getting shocked elsewhere. Unless I have the tens unit running with a lot of amplitude for an extended time, I have no issues with electrical shocks except where I want them.

I find that I run different cycles depending on what type of pain I am having. Some are jarring and stabbing which outwardly sounds horrific, but can do wonders to disrupt the pain cycle. Other days a slow gentle building pulse is preferable. I have replaced my tens unit 3 times in ~14 years. I now have one at the office and at home for when I am “having a day”.


I DID know it contained metal… I do know this. These are the kind of comments that leave @eric wondering about my common sense. I’m going to go ahead and just tag him so he can bring any comments now rather than just thinking them.

Of course there’s metal. Eric.

What it did make me wonder was whether or not there was a problem with these various things I have attached, but it looks like there are some people answering that from experience so I’ll check that out.

I have crazy pain when I have it, and the idea of disrupting it is great. It doesn’t sound horrific. It sounds like something I’d have to experiment with, but when I’m having “a day”, I’ve got nothing to lose. I don’t know much about it, but I understand the draw is that it doesn’t require use of a drug? I currently use Tylenol and Advil, and I have concerns about both.

I think I mentioned that a TENS unit has been used by some people on Facebook. Some users liked it, I have not tried it myself. That is all I remember about it at the moment.


Yes, I believe you’re right.

I suppose I could ask Medtronic, too. I’m on the phone with them often enough.

Good idea, and reasonable thinking. Thank you.

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@Nickyghaleb I use ice and aleve daily to get through the day. On occasion I will take something stronger if i have been unable to sleep for 3 or more days. I use the Tens as an adjunct to the ice and I get great relief. My ortho & pt team usually say to use it until numb when icing, but i have been know to wear it 24/7 at times and just keep cycling the various programs to find relief. I guess I am one of the fortunate ones that is able to get relief with a Tens. I also run at least four pads at a time when I use it. My suggestion is to buy a quality unit (and there are some available for less than $300) that will give you many options of wave patterns and quantity of electrode hook-ups.

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I was just on Amazon looking at options. Do you mind my asking if you recommend a certain brand? It might just point me in the right direction… there’s quite a selection.

And, if this is too personal then I apologize and withdraw the question, but do you mind my asking what kind of pain you get relief from with using it? I’m all of a sudden feeling very hopeful that this thing might be good for something but realize that’s not really based on much…

@Nickyghaleb I have significant knee pain in both knees. Replacements while warranted are not an option at this time. The tens unit that I use has many different types of wave patterns. When I have acute pain I use a spiky pattern for 15 minutes as strong as i am able to handle. I follow that with a softer rolling wave pattern that gradually declines in intensity over a 40 minute period as i ice my knees. Generally following all this I have minimal pain(if any ) for several hours - enough to sleep the night.

I currently own an Empi Phoenix (IP22).


That is excellent information, and it sounds like it is probably ballpark for the kind of pain I’m talking about. So maybe it will help.

Thank you for taking the time to answer! I’ll go take a look now…

My pain dr (anesthesiologist) and my geneticist who manage my connective tissue disorder (which results in chronic pain) both recommended a TENS unit, but I haven’t gotten one yet. They did say to be wary of inexpensive ones, and that you usually need to spend a bit to get one worth buying, so I would definitely do plenty of research before selecting a model. Good luck, and I’d be interested to hear how it works for you. I’ve been thinking about it increasingly though, since some of my pain has been worse lately.

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You may want to see if a medical supply house can rent you a high quality one, before committing dollars to a purchase.

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Oh, how I dislike commiting dollars. That’s a great idea. Think I’ll start there…

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