Can You Use TENS for Sciatica Pain Relief?

Many people wonder: can TENS be used for sciatica pain relief? The answer is yes. TENS can relieve sciatica pain—even the radiating, and sometimes debilitating shooting pains that patients often experience. It’s a safe, non-addictive painkiller alternative that might help you reduce discomfort and gain some mobility from sciatica.

If you suffer from Sciatica pain you know how uncomfortable it can be. The radiating pain that can be hot or throbbing causes discomfort throughout your lower and upper back, in the buttocks, and down your legs to your feet and ankles.

But there’s no reason to continue to suffer—even if you have tried painkillers and had no results, or fear addiction to stronger narcotics. Using a TENS unit for sciatica pain offers relief that is safe, non-addicting, and often more effective than traditional remedies. You can also use the therapy at home anytime you need it.

How Can a TENS Unit Relieve Sciatica Pain?

How can TENS relieve sciatica pain symptoms? TENS units send a low-voltage electrical pulse to your skin. This pulse can do two things. First, it stimulates your nerves and travels across your skin causing the production of endorphins, a natural pain killer your body produces on its own. It can also confuse or misdirect pain signals even block them from entering your nervous system where the pain signal is actually “felt”.

When the TENS unit sends these electrical impulses to your body it can reduce the pain you are feeling from sciatica giving you the relief you seek. TENS units are simple to use and they are very cost effective. The machines themselves are very affordable starting as low as under $40, and the only thing you need to replace are the electrode pads.

Using a TENS Unit for Sciatica Pain Relief

Using a TENS machine for sciatica is fairly simple and similar to how you would use it for any other types of pain. To start the TENS therapy simply attach the electrodes to the machine and then attach the machine to your skin on your lower back. Adjust the unit until you feel pain relief. It may take several tries until your find the right frequency to ease your pain. You can find a TENS unit to treat sciatica here.

Positioning the electrodes properly on certain spots on your lower back can better ease the pain. Read on to learn where to place tens electrodes to relieve sciatica pain.

TENS Unit Electrode Pad Placement for Sciatica Pain

Where do you place electrodes to relieve sciatica pain? TENS unit electrode placement is critical when using TENS therapy to relieve sciatica pain. For best results position the electrodes on your lower back near the area of pain. Adjust the frequency as necessary and move the electrode pads around as necessary to achieve the best relief from your pain. You should begin to feel relief from TENS almost immediately after you have achieved the right settings and pad placement.

Sciatica pain can also occur down the legs as well as in the lower back. To relieve leg pain from sciatica, place electrodes on the back of the legs. Again, adjust the frequency and move the pads until you relieve the radiating pains in your legs.

What is Sciatica Pain

Sciatica is a condition in which pressure is placed on the sciatic nerve causing pain at the site of the pressure, down the back and even in the legs and ankles. Your Sciatic nerve extends from the back down the legs, and whenever it is inflamed or impacted, pain radiates from the area around the nerve.

What Causes Sciatica?

Sciatica is caused by several conditions including a herniated disc or stenosis. Herniated discs can protrude out from the vertebrae and the tough, fibrous material in the disc pushes against the sciatic nerve. This pressure causes pain to shoot down the legs and into the buttocks.

When discs bulge they cause pressure on the sciatic nerve which in turn causes sciatic nerve pain.
A bulging or herniated disc is one of the main causes of sciatica.

What else Can be Done to Relieve sciatica pain?

Sciatica pain is hard to relieve. This type of pain is very uncomfortable and usually chronic. If a herniated disc is causing sciatica pain, whenever the disc becomes more inflamed due to activity, the pain can intensify. In these instances keeping activity to a minimum can reduce flare ups.

Physical therapy may also help strengthen the back muscles which might in turn limit how much the disc is inflamed due to activity. Always consult a doctor and physical therapist about a therapy routine for sciatica and any other back problem.

Sitting can also aggravate a herniated disc. Avoid sitting for long periods of time, or when you need to sit, get up and walk around every half hour to an hour or more if possible. Sitting places all the pressure on the discs in the back aggravating the sciatica condition.

Your doctor can prescribe more ways to reduce pain incidents depending on your particular condition and symptoms.


  1. James

    My wife suffers from sciatica nerve pain to the point of receiving four steroid injections this past twelve months. I have purchased a quell device. It is unclear as to it being a tens/interfrential or an EMS method of delivery system. It is expensive as appose to some of the tens systems and if it were not for the sixty days money back garentee I would have wanted more assurances for success. Is there a better recommended system available?

  2. Nera

    I had sciatica for almost 2 years and was unable to sit and walk. Chiropractors, acupuncture didn’t help me at all. The situation was really bad. However, one day by searching google for alternative treatments I found an e-book that was created by former sciatica sufferer. He claimed that he cured his severe sciatica in one week at his home. After receiving it, I didn’t believe that some specific stretches can help me to deal with sciatica, but I started following it and surprisingly after first session my pain was almost gone! It didn’t last long until my sciatica went away permanently. So from now on, I recommend everyone who have sciatica to practice specific stretches and hope for the best.

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  4. Gary Owens

    I suffer from siatic nerve pain as well as lower back pain due to arthritis lumbar spine and scoliosis of it. Any new post about it and Tens use will be helpful. I do have a TENS unit with 2 electrodes.

  5. Heather Neal

    Hi there! I just wanted to mention that as someone with scoliosis, I understand back pain but after purchasing tens machine 4 myself I was told that I shouldn’t use it specifically because of the scoliosis. Not sure if this was true or not but I’m not gonna be using it unless it’s proven to be good for said condition after all. Still researching. Let me know what you have heard?

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