TENS is a therapy that uses small electrical currents to stimulate nerves and cause a reaction that helps block the transmission of pain signals to the brain. These small currents can be varied in duration and intensity so that you can find the zone of “best benefit” for pain relief.
What is included in a basic TENS system? Most of the very basic systems will include with the TENS unit one set of electrodes, batteries, users guide and a carry case. The batteries are usually considered optional and so they will not always be included. However, I would be look for and favor systems that include them. These companies tend to have better customer service and care more about your satisfaction with their product.
The TENS unit itself has controls that vary the pulse rate, width, and amplitude. The pulse rate or frequency, is basically how often the pulse is triggered. The pulse width or duration is how long you will receive a pulse from the unit and the amplitude is how much energy is transmitted in the pulse.
What to Look for When Buying a TENS Unit in UK
When considering how to buy a TENS Unit in UK, you must first gain a good understanding of what TENS is and what it does. Knowing the basic operation of TENS units will help you evaluate each model according to its ability to deliver the pain relief you need. With the basics down you will then want to look at several key features in order to get an idea of the quality of the product. Finally, you will want to look at the deal being offered. Sure you may find a good basic TENS at a good price but, if you look around you may find the same device offered with extra electrodes, leads and a carry case for virtually the same price.
So now lets dive in and look at the factors you should consider when buying a TENS unit.
Factors, Features and Included Items
As you probably already know, a TENS unit is a handy device for relieving pain but not everyone knows how to buy a TENS unit. There are a lot of factors to consider when purchasing one.
The Basic System
When looking at the basic TENS unit you’ll want to concentrate on a couple of features. Look at the control set up to see what you have. Push buttons and touch pads are the norm for digital units but the thing to consider is how easily can these controls be accidentally adjusted? The best setup is to have a cover over the controls to eliminate the possibility. After all, the TENS is meant to relieve pain not inflict torture.
A good TENS unit should be easy to use. A large LED display to easily read your settings. Clearly labeled, easy to operate controls for making adjustments. Easy to access battery compartment so that changing batteries is a snap. Look to be sure that an AC adapter is included so that you don’t need to burn up your batteries if you will be setting near a plug in.
I always look for deals that include essential items so that I don’t need to purchase these items before I can use the device once I get it. I like package deals that will allow me to get the benefit of the item right away. If I don’t like the way the includes perform I can always try different electrodes or maybe some pre-TENS gel to get better performance from the device.
Quality, Customer Service and Warranties
It is essential to examine the company and retailer who are offering the TENS Unit. Find out what other people have to say about them. Read reviews of products offered by a particular manufacturer, not just the product you are interested in. This will help you get a good overview of the company to see if they are truly interested in delivering a quality product or just looking to grow their bottom line.
Reviews written by actual users of the product are the best and so online retailers who offer their customers the opportunity to review their purchases are a good place to look. Search for items that have several reviews. Actually, the more the better in order to get around any potential red herrings inserted by manufacturers or sellers to skew how the public see’s their products. A good in depth warranty is the best indication of a quality product. When a company stands behind their product and offers a good warranty then you know that they have a great quality culture and are committed to customer satisfaction.
Something to keep in mind is that people love to complain and so it is normal to see complaints. It takes a lot more to motivate someone to give praise about a product or good customer service so normally you will see a two to one (2:1) ratio of complaints to praise. Variations from this should raise a red flag and prompt you to look harder.
Benefits of TENS Machine
When your Doctor prescribes the use of a TENS unit your insurer will often want you to rent rather than buy. Rental entails a lot of paper work and hassle to get coverage from your insurer and then at the end of the prescription period you must return the unit irregardless of your possible need for further pain relief. If your Doctor agrees that you still need to continue treatment with the system odds are you will have to go through all that rental aggravation again.
To me, if you have an injury that requires a TENS for pain relief you will probably need it again in the future. If you buy a TENS up front, it’s available when you need it. No waiting on authorization from insurance, no hassle with paper work to make a claim. You should always consult your physician before beginning any type of treatment. But as a reminder or clarification, you can use this placement guide which is organized by condition and also gives standard settings for your TENS unit. Before beginning any treatment you should take a few moments to learn how to use a TENS unit correctly. I’ve attached a very good video that gives you all the basics of TENS unit operation.