How to Use a TENS Unit for Back Pain – Ask Doctor Jo

How to Use a TENS Unit for Back Pain – Ask Doctor Jo

hey everybody it’s Doctor Jo, and today
I’m going to show you how to use the tens unit to relieve back pain. so let’s
get started. And if you haven’t already, make
sure you subscribe down here. so the folks at Auvon sent me their tens unit,
and ten stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and that’s
great because it’s a good way to help relieve that pain without using any kind
of medication. so I really like using the tens unit and I’m going to show you
different placements on the back to really get some good relief. and I should
probably use a model for this. Ahhh! There’s Brian! So it’s easier to show you what I’m
talking about. I will kind of do the low back, cold hands, a little bit on this
side here, maybe the mid back and then up in the neck area as well. and so for a
tens unit, you can cross the spine. if you’re using an actual EMS where you’re
doing the muscle contraction, you don’t want to cross this part because then
you’re contracting the muscles pulling into this spot, but a TENS unit is okay
because you shouldn’t actually be contracting the muscles. so a lot of
times people have low back pain down here around their SI joints, but
sometimes it’s right in the middle. so if it’s middle back pain, like let’s say
right here on his low back, what you want to do, the best way for me I think is
taking two channels and actually crossing that X. so this channel has two
electrodes, and then this channel has two electrodes, and they should cross each
other so they’re making those currents go into that X. that’s what you want. so
you don’t want a channel on this side and then a channel on this side because
then it’s not actually getting that area of pain. so sorry Brian these are going
to be really cold, I would start one low right here, and then one up a little bit
higher here. as you can see and so as far as getting the distance, the closer together, it’s gonna be a little bit stronger than
the further apart. you’re just gonna get more area space so it won’t be quite as
strong, so I usually say medium you still want it to be in the general area and
then so the other one, here we go sorry cold again, there and then the other one
is going to be right down below about right here. so then once you turn it on
again it’s going to cross and it’s going to cross. and you can see I don’t have
them exact here if you if you’re a little OCD about that you can change it
a little bit and then just have it cross that area again. see the X is a little
bit lower but that’s still gonna get that area right there. so if you know if
this one would be maybe a little bit more here and you could just move these
down a little bit more passes the belt line if you wanted to get those. so for that
one that’s what you would use. and let’s say if it was a little bit further on
the side like those erector muscles on the sides here, and it’s really specific
maybe he’s had some specific pain right here. I’m gonna take these off, they
warmed up for you, and so maybe like right here’s where his pain is so let me
withdraw a little X right there. if he had that, I would probably just go
with one channel and just two electrodes for that. so then what you would want to
do is just get them right that spot right in between it. so one up on top one
on the bottom because the muscle goes in this direction. so you could do it side
to side but if you’re following the muscle line, you want it to be there and
there. and so then that channel just goes back and forth right to that specific
spot there. so that’s that’s the way you can do that as well. now if you want all
four you certainly can and then you can put one right here in here, but I found
it it’s kind of more of a specific spot than like a general low back pain,
usually just the two channels are better because it’s gonna be a little bit
stronger, it’s gonna be a little more concentrated to that spot. so I like that
as well. same thing kind of with the mid-back,
that thoracic area. let’s say maybe we’ll do one here, where it’s not directly on
the spine, but it’s pretty close. so maybe he’s having some pain right just below
his shoulder blade. I would maybe go back to forth, and then get the whole area. so
you’re getting some of those muscles around the shoulder as well. but always
remember if you’re having some pain kind of up in this area, and it’s a sharp
weird pain, and it doesn’t really feel like muscular pain, go get it checked out
because this is a referral pain sometimes of the organs maybe even
something like the gallbladder, so if you’re having sharp pain that’s just not
going away, best thing to do is go talk to your doctor and get some tests just
to make sure everything’s okay there. but so then what I would do is maybe put it
here, and then down there a little bit, and then same kind of thing. then take
the other ones cross it here, and then here. so again this one’s going to be a
little more general area but then you’re going to get a little bit of the
shoulder as well where those muscles might be, maybe some of those rhomboids
around in that area, and then just getting that good general area here. so
again the placement doesn’t have to be exact, so you can do it yourself just
kind of slap them on there, but if you have somebody to do it for you, then
that’s always great as well. and then the last one kind of maybe up in his neck
area. a lot of people have questions about placement of the neck because you
do need to be a little careful with your carotid arteries in the front, those
vagus nerves are on the side, so let’s say you have some general pain right in
here. maybe usually if it’s neck pain maybe
it’s a little bit on both sides. so what I would do a lot of times those that and
those muscles maybe the levator scap coming up this way, it’s going to
cause pain all the way up into that neck area. of course it’s a little bit easier
if you have shorter hair, so there’s not some down here but same kind of thing.
I’d probably use four, but if you have you maybe your hair line comes down a
little bit, you don’t have a lot of space you could just do going across this way.
if you wanted to one channel that way and then having those off so you could
do it that way, or you could even have a little bit smaller
pads, and then do a little cross like that because you can get different sizes
of pads for the tens unit and maybe do something a little bit more like that. so
then it’s gonna cross that area in there. so a lot of different ways to do it you
can do just the two electrodes, you can do four electrodes, so either one channel
or two channels, and just play around with a little bit. a lot of times on the
units there’s different settings, people ask me a lot about, hey you know what
settings should I use for this specific thing. a lot of people will tell you use
this for the specific thing, use that for this specific thing, but I personally say
whatever feels the best for you because remember tens is different than the
electrical muscular stimulation where you’re trying to activate the muscle, but
tens is just to relieve the pain, following that same pathway as a pain
pathway, to get that vibration to calm down the pain. so whichever one makes it
feel better is really the one that you should use. so let me tell you quickly
about the Auvon unit. it’s really coo,l I like it because it’s different than most
of the other ones. it’s more streamlined it’s got the smoother curves, so it fits
really really nicely and comfortably in your pocket. it’s also got a little clip
right here so if you don’t want to put it in your pocket, you can clip it on to
your pants or you can clip it on to the edge of your pocket, and then just kind
of go with it, and you can do your everyday activities and have it on. it’s
also pretty neat because it’s battery powered. some of them you just charge in
the wall, but all it takes is two triple A batteries so that’s really nice too,
that it has a lot of power with just that. also as you can see when you turn
it on, you have just very simple settings. it’s not trying to give you pictures
that you have to figure out what you want, you can just circle through
the settings. and so you can just you know try them and see which one feels
best for you, and then you have the more intensity less intensity and then your
timer as well. so there’s not a whole lot of buttons where you have to figure
stuff out. sometimes when there’s a whole lot and pictures, and you’re trying to
figure out which one do I use, it gets a little confusing, but with this you just
do 1 2 3 4 5 so that’s that’s pretty cool. you can just
test it out and then the one you liking say, okay I like number two so every time
I turn it on I’m gonna go straight to number two. so I really like that as well.
the on/off button on the top just really easy to turn on and off, and then really
easy to do one channel if you want to or two channels if you want to to get to
electrodes are four electrodes. so really nice really smooth feels feels nice in
your hand. so there you have it, that’s how to use a TENS unit to relieve back
pain. if you’re interested in purchasing the TENS, make sure you click up here, and
don’t forget to subscribe by clicking down here. and remember, be safe,
have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.

42 thoughts on “How to Use a TENS Unit for Back Pain – Ask Doctor Jo

  1. Where would you put the pads if the neck pain is at the base of the skull, on both sides? Also, I would appreciate a demonstration on using EMS and maybe why to use one vs the other. Thank you in advance for your help.

  2. Thanks for posting g this but I do have a question. Can you use a TENS unit on the neck are when you had neck fusion (c-3 through c-7)

  3. Can you keep it on for maybe all day if you have chronic sciatica pain? I know my TENS unit has 30 min intervals but because I feel so much better with it I tend to keep turning it on every 30 mins.

  4. Thanks! I usually placed that wrong. Still, it did help, but its good to know that there are better solutions! I have only one problem, my skin gets small burns and gets itchy. What would be the recommended strength of the TENS treatment? I have a machine up to 100 mA per channel and usually, I take up to 20 mA per channel. Should I feel the stream or not?

  5. Hi thanks for posting! I do have a question. Can you use tens on upper back if you have an artificial heart valve?

  6. Thank you so much!! For this video, I have one machine from V.A. and I didn't have the time to take de class… God bless you ! Thank you again

  7. Hi! Thanks for this video. I wanted to ask you…at 4:45 you talk about having pain in that mid to upper left area of the back and how it could be something other than your muscles. I've been having pain exactly there for 3 months, accompanied with nausea. I've gone to a chiropractor and a doctor. Chiropractor said everything looks fine; doctor scratched his head, did an x-ray, everything looks good, prescribed me an anti-inflammatory. I wonder if you could please elaborate for me what problems that pain might be hinting towards. I just don't know where to go or who to talk to. I can't find anything on google. Feel free to respond here or message me!

  8. Hi Doctor Jo, can I use a TENS unit to treat menstrual cramps? I’ve been having bad menstrual cramps lately and I don’t wish to rely on oral pain killers. Thanks !

  9. Purchase an Auvon TENS Unit here: (affiliate link) Note: This is not the unit featured in the video. That one is no longer available. Want more in-depth info about TENS Units and/or EMS Units, including step-by-step color photos for a wide variety of placements all over the body? Buy my book here:

  10. How do you place the pads on by yourself? I can't reach the spots that hurt (I have mid thoracic pain due to T7-T8 spondylolisthesis). My husband usually puts them on for me. When he's not at home, I can't get them on properly. I can reach my lower back, but that's no help as the pain isn't there.

  11. I have pain where the second cross is (3:37). What might be the cause? Is there a specific name for this area, so I can pinpoint it to my doctor?

  12. Thanks Doc that was very helpful. I just bought one of these machines hopefully it helps relieve my lower back pain.

  13. Hello ma'am, do you recommend IMF and EMS for muscle strengthening ( not pain management) in Multiple Sclerosis ?

  14. Is it true that you can’t use on the same spot more twice a day?
    I have a very stiff neck most of the time, and i used it for 15 mins, and it does not feel relief, later an hour or so, i repeat it back. And i feel just a tiny relief, and my neck still feels stiff.

  15. I am also having upper back pain frequently alone with tingling sensation in lower forearm same side.. doctor says there is a trigger point Around t1 cervical vertebrae.. can I use this equipment for pain relief

  16. If you have the pads on your back can you lay on your back or do you need to lay on your stomach or can you sit in a chair?

  17. Thank you very much for your help I did subscribed as well as I did bought this machine hopefully I will receive it in two weeks and I’m going to watch your video again too know how can I use it

  18. Hi, I am very happy I watched your video as I have the machine but not sure the best way to use it for my neck and back pain and now I know about crossing the pads I can not thank you enough!!

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