Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a back pain unit that utilizes low voltage electric current via two electrodes to relieve muscle and joint pain. The electrodes carry an electric current from the TENS machine to the skin. The unit operates on small batteries and attaches to a belt.


Bomberg Chiropractic offers TENS therapy as a supplement or an alternative to chiropractic care and massage therapy. Below we take a closer look at TENS therapy units and how they can help relieve the pain you are experiencing in your back.

The Gate Control Theory of Pain

The premise of TENS therapy is derived from the gate control theory of pain.


The gate control theory suggests that the spinal cord contains a neurological gate that either blocks pain signals or allows them to continue to the brain.

The gate in the spinal cord operates by differentiating between the types of fibers that carry pain signals. Pain signals traveling via small nerve fibers are allowed to pass through while signals sent by large nerve fibers are blocked. Doctors use the gate control theory to explain the phantom or chronic pain you may feel.

TENS: Controlling the Gate

In TENS therapy, the selective stimulation of the large diameter nerve fibers carrying non-pain sensory stimuli from a specific region nullifies or reduces the effect of pain signals from the region. In other words, the effect or severity of the pain is reduced before it reaches the gate.


How does it achieve this?


During a TENS treatment for back pain, electrodes are placed on the skin over an area of pain in the back. This creates electrical impulses that travel along nerve fibers and create a tingling sensation. The unit replaces one stimulus with another.

Why You Should Consider TENS Therapy

There are several benefits to using TENS units as an alternative or supplement to other types of pain management:


TENS is both non-invasive and can prevent other non-invasive procedures for back pain mitigation. When you use a TENS unit, you may require fewer hospital and clinic visits, use less diagnostic imaging, and require less back surgery. TENS therapy does not have the risks associated with invasive treatment approaches.


TENS is affordable when compared to long-term drug therapy. It may help you avoid costly surgical procedures, ongoing physical therapy, medication, and other forms of treatment that you may have to pay out-of-pocket.


Practitioners use tens for the treatment of chronic and intractable pain that is otherwise non-responsive to analgesics and surgical treatments. Although TENS units do not provide relief in all situations, patients often experience pain relief after using the units when other treatments have failed.


Like any other type of treatment, TENS units are safe for most patients. We recommend that you consult your doctor before administering a TENS unit for your condition.

TENS Unit Therapy in Minneapolis, MN

Bomberg Chiropractic specializes in back pain treatment and chiropractic adjustment. Dr. Bomberg provides world-class healthcare through natural chiropractic treatments. You’ll receive comprehensive care that helps you prevent disease and maintain a healthy lifestyle. To schedule a preliminary consultation, contact our clinic at 763-450-1755. We serve patients throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.