How does transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) treat pain?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) is an alternative pain relief therapy that uses a low-voltage electrical current to stimulate nerve fibers. It is especially used to treat musculoskeletal pain, such as muscle and joint pain.

However, children, pregnant women or anyone with an implanted electronic or metallic device should not use TENS. To use the TENS machine, proper training is required. Always consult your doctor before trying an alternative therapy.

This content originally appeared on
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), whereby electrodes are placed on the skin and electric current is applied at different frequencies, is a frequently used treatment for pain relief. TENS may work by blocking pain in the spinal cord. Another theory is that stimulation with TENS causes natural pain relieving substances, like endorphins, to be released.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.