Using a TENS Unit for Back Pain Relief & Therapy

Many patients as if you can use a TENS unit for back pain relief. The answer is yes, TENS is an effective way to treat back pain and provide relief from chronic or frequent muscle and disc back pain. TENS will treat  many different types of back pain including sciatica from a herniated disk, multiple disk herniations, muscle strains, muscle contusions, stiff neck from reading or staring at a laptop and other maladies.

If you are suffering from back pain consider using TENS as a treatment  and therapy option. It is a low-cost (and highly cost effective) non-habit forming, same alternative pain relieving method to treating all types of back pain.

TENS Treats the Following Back Pain

  • Sciatica
  • Muscle strains
  • Disk herniations and swelling
  • Trauma
  • Sports injuries
  • Stiff neck from sleeping wrong or staring at a laptop

Using a TENS Unit to Treat Back Pain

TENS unit can be used to treat back pain simply by applying the TENS electrodes to the area affected and adjusting the settings to relieve the pain. Since all back pain is different, there really is no single best method for using TENS on back pain symptoms. You need to adjust the pulse waves until you find relief. This is how you use TENS for all types of pain.

Here are the simple steps to using  Your TENS machine for back pain:

  1. Apply the electrodes to the area of pain. Place a pad on either side of the source of pain for best results.
  1. Begin the treatment by turning on the machine, starting on the lowest setting.
  1. Adjust the pulse length and frequency. Wait a few seconds and readjust until you find relief from the back pain.
  1. Repeat as necessary, using the machine for about 30 minutes at a time.

What is the Best Tens Unit for Back Pain?

While all TENS machines can be used to treat back pain, there are some that may do a better job. But it simply depends on your preferences and how you plan to use the machine.

If you plan to treat yourself at home and need powerful relief plus EMS (muscle stimulation for further back treatment) consider a TENS EMS Combo like the The Omega Tens & EMS Combo Unit. For easy, at-home relief of chronic or minor back pain, the TENS 7000 and TENS 3000 are the best TENS machines to treat back pain.

One of the best TENS units designed specifically to treat back pain is the TENS 7000 To Go Back Pain Relief System. It has a special pad for back pain treatments.

Quattro 2.5 Clinical EMS/TENS/Russian/IF2/IF4 Combo Device

Quattro 2.5 TENS EMS COMBO for back pain
The Quattro 2.5 TENS EMS COMBO combines TENS and EMS (muscle stimulation) for complete back pain therapy treatment.

Tens Unit 7000 – TU7000 – Original Tens

The TENS 7000 Unit can be used to treat back pain at home, and it is wearable.
The TENS 7000 Unit can be used to treat back pain at home, and it is wearable.

Tens Unit 3000 – TU3000 – Original Tens

The TENS 3000 Unit is a very cost-effective way to treat back pain at home.
The TENS 3000 Unit is a very cost-effective way to treat back pain at home. Buy the TENS 300 unit here.

TENS Pad Placement for Treating Lower Back Pain

When using TENS for back pain there are some specific pointers to follow in regards to electrode placement. Set the electrode pads on either side of the pain area. One on the right and left of the pain area on the lower back, and along the leg for sciatic pain will relieve more symptoms.

If you have Coccygeal pain or pain higher up your back, place the electrodes on either side of the spine in your mid-back and along the spine in your lower back.

If back pain is in the shoulder area, place electrodes on either side along the shoulders but in an area that is fleshy and muscular. Avoid placing the pads directly on your shoulder bones, or on your neck.

For neck pain, place the pads TENS pads on the lower neck area. The pads should not be placed above your neck line.

See our Electrode Placement Chart for more pointers. Or read our post for advice on using TENS to treat neck pain.

Can TENS Treat Muscle Spasms

TENS is designed to confuse pain signals inside your tissue, so it is not directly designed to treat muscle spasms. However in some cases muscle spasms can be the result of pain symptoms. In these cases a TENS unit might provide some relief.


  1. Daniel Johnson

    Hi Spencer, I never heard about the Tens Unit. It is very useful for those who are suffering from back pain. Thanks for such an informative article. Keep sharing!

  2. living Thearpy

    Hi Spencer Baselice,,
    If you suffer from chronic back pain, exercise may be an answer for you, even though you may not feel much like moving. The medical literature in support of exercise as a treatment for back pain identifies three symptoms of chronic back pain that can be addressed by an exercise regime: improving reduced flexibility, strength and cardiovascular endurance; reducing back pain intensity; reducing back pain-related disability by lessening excessive fear and concerns about it.

  3. Jeffrey

    I trying to find a company that take Medicade,& Medicare for tens unit .I have a implanted unit but having problems in the middle and hips pain.Dr gave me prescription for a portable unit to help with the other pain. Can you please help or recommend .

Leave a Reply