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tens for shoulder pain

Thousands of people suffer from shoulder pain everyday. Most of the time, this is because of injury and/or overuse. The worst part is that it affects every part of your life, right from sleeping to simple tasks. Working is especially painful, because you’re always on the move and shoulder movements are usually expansive. Patients may try many things to cure or manage their shoulder pain, but options may be limited depending on how severe it is. 

In this article we talk about how you can find relief from your shoulder pain using a Tens Unit. (Please make sure to consult your doctor before attempting any of the following techniques.) Thousands of people have found this method very helpful and effective in reducing shoulder pain. 

If you are one of the silent sufferers, we are here to tell you that there is hope for your beloved shoulders!

What Is A TENS Unit?

To start with, you’ll need to know what a Tens (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) Unit is and how it works. A tens unit is an electrical device that produces electric impulses. Don’t be alarmed, they are not painful. In fact, many people use them on a daily basis to relieve pain.

These units are used by physical therapists, chiropractors and doctors for faster recovery of muscles and joints due to its muscle stimulating effects [1].  

When using a Tens Unit, the electrical impulses are transferred through pads that stick to your skin and when activated the electrical signals stimulate the muscles and reduce pain sensation. 

How Does A TENS Unit Work?

The TENS unit sends electrical signals into the muscles and stimulates nerves. This blocking of pain signals from reaching the brain interrupts or dampens the body’s natural response to pain. The muscles then respond by contracting, which releases tension in the muscle and relaxes them.

How To Use TENS Units For Shoulder Pain Relief?

As explained above, the TENS unit sends electrical pulses to your muscles. Similarly, when used on the shoulder, the electrical pulses are sent to your shoulder muscles below the injury area. The continuous trickle of mild electricity blocks pain signals from reaching your brain and creates a sense of well-being. You can choose the pulse rate according to how comfortable you feel – it is usually set between 2Hz to 80Hz, but if you find it uncomfortable, adjust it up or down.

How To Use A TENS Unit?

The TENS unit is a small device that can be carried around in your bag or on your belt. It looks like a box with wires and electrodes which you attach to your skin to relieve the pain in a specific area. The device has four and five- button controls that help you select the level of stimulation or adjust the pulse width, frequency, pulse rate and duration.

Where To Place TENS Unit Pads For Shoulder Pain?

Remember that you are not supposed to use TENS unit over the heart!

Place the electrodes onto the sore area on the shoulder(s). You can place a single electrode pad on one side of your shoulder and attach an electrode cord from there to a clip that will be placed over the other shoulder or arm. Wearing 2 TENS Unit pads is more effective in relieving pain than wearing just 1 TENS unit pad, but it is advised to start off with a single electrode pad and work up.

How Long Should I Use The TENS Unit?

The units come with different pulse rates, so you can set it at any one of the three settings – high, medium or low. The recommended time limit is 30 minutes per day for adults and 15 minutes a day for children. Always consult your doctor before using it for longer stints.

How To Choose A Tens Unit?

There are many TENS units on the market, but not all of them are created equal. It can be difficult to find out which TENS unit is best for pain relief. 

We have spent hours of research and have picked the 10 best TENS unit machines out there that we found to be most effective in relieving severe pain and discomfort. We have very detailed reviews for each of the ones we have picked and also talk about what we love about them and what we don’t like. If you decide to purchase a TENS unit for pain relief, then we suggest that you carefully read what each machine offers. It is important to get something that best suits your needs to have the best results.


Shoulder pain can be very debilitating. Shoulder injuries are common in sports and can get very painful if not dealt with effectively. Also, with a growing number of people working at their desks, shoulder and neck pain is becoming more of a problem. Using a TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) unit is one way to treat them. Even though some people may just treat the pain with medication, we recommend looking into more natural solutions such as TENS units for shoulder pain, since it is non-invasive and less costly.

We hope you found this article helpful and you can now make the most of a TENS unit to help you deal with shoulder pain.

For more reviews on massagers and general wellness guides, please check out our massage and wellness guide.