Causes of chronic neck pain

There are many conditions that can cause chronic neck pain.

Herniated disc

Herniated discs can cause pain that radiates down the arm, and possibly into the hands and fingers, possibly accompanied by numbness or tingling in the arms and/or hands, may start suddenly or develop over time. When the symptoms are moderate or temporary, the pain can be treated successfully with nonsurgical care.


This is neck pain that Is related to activity or position. Usually, impingement of one nerve root on one side of the spine causes most of the symptoms. This type of spinal stenosis is caused by wear or aging related changes in the joints of the neck or at the margins of the discs.  As with a herniated disc, the mainstay of treatment for stenosis is non-surgical care.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Low level chronic neck pain (with or without arm pain) that sometimes gets worse or is made worse by position or activity, may indicate cervical disc degeneration. The disease is virtually ubiquitous in humans.

Cervical osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is indicated when neck pain is worse in the morning and at the end of the day, or better in warm, sunny weather.

Treatments for Chronic Pain

Range of motion exercises, physical therapy, electrotherapy and stretching can all help preserve motion and lessen chronic pain.

ActivBody TENS therapy

After a diagnosis of chronic or degenerative neck pain, your pain management plan will include several methods of pain relief and should offer drug-free options.

ActivBody is the TENS machine we suggest for chronic neck pain.

ActivBody electrotherapy can be used everyday - outside the clinic - for drug-free, on-demand pain relief, relaxation and circulation, plus it will help keep you moving.

  • RELIEVE mode:
    • Fast and lasting pain relief (modulated low and high frequency TENS; continuous, comfortable intensity)
    • Circulation and reduced stiffness (modulated low to medium frequency ECS; continuous, low intensity)
  • BLOCK mode:
    • Fast acting pain relief (modulated high frequency TENS for pain gating effect)
    • Release of serotonin, if applied for long enough
  • RELAX mode
    • Lasting pain relief (modulated low frequency TENS for release of beta-endorphins)
    • Relaxation (modulated low frequency TENS for release of beta-endorphins)
    • Circulation (modulated low to medium frequency ECS; continuous, low intensity)

TENS machine for stiff neck

ActivBody effectiveness

We conducted a survey of 459 customers with neck pain.

98% of them were satisfied with the pain relief provided by our TENS machine. [67% of results were excellent or very good].

Neck pain - pad placement

neck pain electrode placement
neck pain electrode placement
neck pain electrode placement
neck pain electrode placement

Settings for Mode, Intensity, Time and Repeat frequency

Everyone has a different level of skin resistance; therefore we cannot specify an exact intensity setting for you. Simply choose a level of intensity where you can feel the stimulation but ensure it is below a level of discomfort. See the table below for examples.

Muscles should not twitch or spasm. So long as you avoid muscle twitching, you cannot overdose.

Purpose ModeIntensity TimeHow often
Acute pain BLOCKMedium 30 minutesas required
Chronic pain RELIEVELow to medium Minimum 60 minutesas required
Nagging pain RELIEVELow Overnightas required
Relaxation RELAXLow Minimum 2 hoursas required
Circulation RELAX or RELIEVELow 60 minuteswhen practical
TENS machine for neck pain

Pain page links

ActivBody Complete TENS Kit
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