TENS electrodes are also called TENS pads or TENS patches
What are TENS pads?
In scientific terms, TENS pads are electrodes that conduct an electrical signal through the skin. You must have 2 pads attached to your body to create a complete circuit.
The pads have the appearance of a bandage on the upside and an adhesive gel on the skin side. They are generally shaped in squares, rectangles or circles of varying sizes. All ActivLife electrodes attach to the connecting lead via 2 mm pins.
Pre-gelled pads are convenient and effective; they adhere to the body strongly and require minimal attention. They are, however, consumable items. Eventually the gel will wear away and the signal will not feel as strong. At this point you should replace the pads.
Our pads are imported from the USA and the manufacturer, a company called Axelgaard, recommends that they be stored between 5 and 27 degrees Celsius, and used on clean, dry skin. Sweat and high temperatures shorten the life of the gel.
For specific pad placement locations for chronic pain and injury, please use the two menus to the right.
Pain relief and relaxation
Each individual's experience of pain is unique. Therefore we suggest you try one or more of the options below, to discover what is most effective for your needs. Also remember, your needs may vary over time.
- Pads may be placed at the precise site of pain or tension - most people try this option first
- Pads may also be placed on the same dermatome as the pain (see Dermatomes heading below); try this if your skin is becoming a little sensitive OR you have nerve damage at the site of pain
- Place pads on areas with maximum access to major sensory nerve gatherings, e.g. ankles, wrists, sacroiliac joints or the nape of the neck - this location is especially recommended for relaxation
- For referred pain, first treat the original source of the pain and/or complement this by managing the pain at the referred location
- Where possible, choose locations that are not over major muscles
- This will mean you can apply optimum intensity without causing unnecessary muscle twitching and consequent discomfort
- When muscle tissue cannot be avoided, chose an intensity below muscle twitching threshold
- Leave the machine working for as long as necessary
A dermatome is an area of skin that is supplied by a single spinal nerve. There are 8 cervical nerves, 12 thoracic nerves, 5 lumbar nerves and 5 sacral nerves. Each nerve relays sensation from a particular region to the brain. This includes both painful and pain-blocking sensations.
Along the thorax and abdomen the dermatomes are like a stack of discs. Along the arms and legs, the dermatomes run along the limbs.
- Cervical dermatomes cover the cervical spine, the head, shoulders and backs of the arms
- Thoracic dermatomes wrap around the thoracic spine, chest and abdomen and down the inside of the arms
- Lumbar dermatomes cover the lumbar spine, down the front of the legs and the feet
- Sacral dermatomes encompass the sacrum, buttocks and backs of the legs
Although the general pattern is similar in all people, the precise areas of innervation are as unique to an individual as fingerprints.
Therefore, a little trial and error will help you to find your sweet spot.
- Pads are placed at the location of the injury
- Where muscle tissue will be stimulated, use a SURGE mode
- Follow treatment time and frequency guidelines
- For exercise of a specific muscle, place one electrode at the top (or insert) of the muscle and the other electrode over the muscle mass - that is about one third of the way along the length of the muscle or at the centre of the muscle
- Use a SURGE mode
- Follow treatment time and frequency guidelines
Do not pass the stimulation through the uterus.
See Pain relief and relaxation - above
Place large electrodes either side of the spine. You may vary between positions at the lower back and mid back.
Six to eight weeks after childbirth your doctor will probably give you the "all clear" to resume normal physical activity. This is the time you may commence rehabilitating your abdominal sheet muscles.
Place the electrodes above and below the centre of the abdomen OR place electrodes either side of the abdominal centre line.
Pelvic floor - external electrodes
These electrodes are pre-gelled and require no further preparation. Follow cleaning instructions in the electrode pack.
Place one small electrode on the perineum, i.e. the surface area between the anus and the vulva. Place one large electrode over the sacrum, i.e. the large, triangular bone at the base of the spine and above the coccyx.
Place one small electrode on the perineum, i.e. the surface area between the anus and the scrotum. Place one large electrode over the sacrum, i.e. the large, triangular bone at the base of the spine and above the coccyx.