TENS Machines


Can i ask anyone if you have bought and use a TENS Machine to cope with the pains of running? Is this a handy gadget to own? It seems a great idea and i'm tempted to buy one as currently i'm suffering from Achilles tendonitis and its giving me much more grief than i ever suffered with ITB 2 years ago?

The thing i'm puzzled about is if a TENS machine "blocks" pain, thus giving me pain "relief!" Blocking the pain isn't solving the initial problem is it? and then likely to cause more damage and even more pain isn't it?


  • SqueakzSqueakz ✭✭✭

    I have a Boots TENS machine and when the machine is set on a high pulse rate (90-130 Hz) it is thought to trigger the 'pain gate' to close. The 'pain gate' is a theory that says that when certain non pain-carrying nerves are stimulated then these can can interfere with ('close') signals from nerves that transmit pain. The TENS machine is thought to stimulate certain non pain-carrying nerves. This may then interfere or block pain messages sent to the brain. This is the normal method of use, When the machine is set on a low pulse rate (2-5 Hz) it stimulates the body to make its own pain easing chemicals called endorphins. These act a bit like morphine to block pain signals

    Recent research trials that have studied the use of TENS machines have provided conflicting results as to how well they work, and how much pain relief they give. Some conclude that they are not effective. Others conclude that they seem to help some people. Further research is needed to clarify their role and effect.

    I personally think they work OK for muscular discomfort such as a tight calf, but not much else. In general im not really convinced enough to recomend buying one

  • I used one to try and relieve back pain during a long distance event and found it gave initial relief, although I had to keep increasing the signals.  It was moderately useful and did mask the pain to a certain extent.
  • I used to have one years ago for a chronic nerve pain condition in my arm. It sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. If I didn't have it positioned quite right, it could actually aggravate my arm and lead to more pain. It's quite a strange sensation too, which can take some getting used to, it seems to work more along the lines of distracting you from your pain rather than taking it away.

  • i used to use one because i have had back problems in the past (2 herniated discs) and it really helped me - it was just a bit of a pain to set up and put on properly

    not sure i'd use one for something like an achilles problem though
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