Treating sciatica pain be extremely challenging, especially when you don’t know what’s the root and origin of the sciatic nerve irritation. There are a lot of treatments, but a lot of people get discouraged thinking that they don’t work. It can affect anyone with lumbar area pain, including pregnant women. Sciatica treatment options vary, starting from affordable physical activity to needing surgery or chiropractic, which is often expensive.
TENs machines are growing in popularity in treating sciatica pain, as well as other types of lower back pain. With that in mind, we wrote this roundup of the best TENs machines of sciatica reviews and included a compelling buying guide and guide that will help you use these devices easier.
TENs machine, also known as Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation is a small wired or mobile device that can be used to alleviate pain from the lower back area. They’ve been in use for decades implementing either AAA batteries or rechargeable batteries for a more versatile experience
TENs units have a lot of applications, but they’re mostly used for lower back pain caused by an injury or accident, a surgery, lumbar area pain, fibromyalgia, and sciatica. A 2009 study found clinical evidence that TENs units have beneficial effects in helping the treatment of lower back pain-related conditions, including sciatica.
Still, a lot of research encourages patients to consider more intensive treatment options, but that there’s nothing wrong with using the TENs units in alleviating the pain and supporting the therapy.
How TENs Machines Relieve Sciatica Pain?
Let’s see behind the scenes on how TENs machines work. As we said above, TENs machines come with multiple electrodes that send the low-voltage current and electrical pulses that reach deep into the skin, into the affected area pressing onto the sciatic nerve. Here’s the process of the tens unit treatment for sciatica pain.
Why You Should Buy a TENs Machine for Sciatica Pain: 8 Benefits
There is a great number of benefits to using TENs machines, the best part is that they’re affordable and approachable.
1. It Can Help You Sleep Easier
For a lot of people, the sciatica pain can intensify in the late evening hours, when the body is relaxed and no longer ignoring the pain due to movement. That strong and often chronic pain can prevent you from falling asleep easily. A TENs machine treatment in the evening can help relax your discs and muscles and relieve the pain and irritation from the sciatic disc, ultimately helping you fall asleep.
2. Immediately Relieves the Pain
Sciatica pain is usually so intense that it makes even the most mundane tasks feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world. With that, tasks like carrying something, washing dishes, cooking, or simply playing with children or grandchildren become impossible.
If you’re experiencing unbearable sciatica pain, TENs machines will relieve it immediately, leading to relaxation and mood enhancement. If you’re indulging in physical therapy and it’s impossible for you to exercise due to pain, the TENs unit will alleviate the pain to the point you can continue with your therapy.
3. It Helps Produce Endorphins
We said this already, but endorphins are extremely important. Being natural pain killers, your body produces them to fight all sorts of ailment and brings your body back to its function.
4. You Don’t Have to Take Pain-Relieving Drugs
All sciatica-related pain urges for expensive medicines that often come with side-effects. TENs machines (mostly) don’t have any side effects and are providing ultimate pain alleviation, which would usually take some time if you were taking medicines.
A lot of people use TENs machines for different purposes rather than treating sciatica pain. It’s great for pregnancy-related and menstrual cramps, while often being used to relieve uterine contractions at childbirth. It can be used to treat carpal tunnel syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, and much more.
6. Stimulates Reinnervation
A 2015 study showed the evidence that stimulating dead nerves from an injury, surgery or disease could lead to nerve reinnervation – a practice in recovering the dead nerves which are still being widely researched. If it can bring dead nerves back to life, it can easily aid Sciatica pain if you choose the right machine.
TENs machines are available on the market for decades. With that in mind, their price was dropping and changing as time passed and now they are more approachable. There are different ranges of TENs units, and while some may be more expensive than the others, they still allow for a lot of price versatility, so everyone can find what they’re looking for.
TENs machines are portable and don’t take too much space. There are even smaller units that work wirelessly and can be used for multiple parts of the body, including shoulders, hips, and legs. What’s more, you won’t need to go to the doctor to take your TENs or electric physical therapy, you can do it comfortably at your home.
Drawbacks & Potential Risks of TENs Machine for Sciatica
TENs units are generally considered safe as low-voltage electricity isn’t harmful to the human body. Still, keep in mind that:
5 Best TENs Machines for Sciatica
1. iReliev Wireless TENS + EMS Therapeutic Wearable System (Best Overall)
For those with the most intense Sciatica-related pain, it’s best to use a system that comes with both TENs and EMS treatment. EMS is Electrical Muscle Stimulation that treats neuromuscular pain. This FDA approved device is our device of choice because of its convenience of use, adjustability, and immediate pain relief.
- It offers both EMS and TENs therapy, making it suitable for severe pains.
- It comes with 6EMS modes and 4 unique modes for customizing the pods.
- It’s a product that has been researched for decades, providing pain relief from different conditions aside from sciatica
- It’s wireless and comes with good charging times – 3-5 hours for pods and 5-10 for the remote.
- 45 days money-back guarantee, 1 year of warranty +2 more years for registration of the product
The device has been researched and tested for 30 years. Many doctors and other health experts recommend it because it’s safe and non-invasive. More importantly, it works wirelessly, so you can transfer it to any place in the house, freeing yourself from the annoying wires.
Whether you want to use it before or after surgery, during pregnancy, strength training, or after exercise, this device won’t cause itching or burning in the treated area. It’s safe, and can also be used for muscle warm-up.
More importantly, it has 6 EMS modes, which means it’s customizable for different levels of pain. There are 2 wireless pods, which allow up to 4 isolated modes for customized settings. The pods and electrodes feel convenient and won’t cause discomfort, tingling, or itching.
Lastly, this device charges fast and easily. Also, it comes with a backlit display which easily helps you adjust both TENs and EMS modes.
2. NueMedics Tens Unit Machine
NueMedics Tens Unit Machine is more versatile and user-friendly compared to our first option.
- More affordable than our first unit and safer to use.
- Multifunctional, easy to use and portable
- 30-day money-back guarantee and lifetime warranty
- Large LCD that instructs you how to treat affected area
- 24 different modes that will help you soothe your pain.
- Can be easily stored with a protective case.
- Even pregnant women can use it
However, there’s no EMS support, so it’s more suitable for moderate pain. Nevertheless, its function is versatile because aside from lower back pain and sciatica, you can also use it for upper back, shoulders, neck, hips, feet, and knees.
It’s user-friendly thanks to a large LCD that displays all the mode and what the machine is doing at the moment. That makes it extremely easy to set up and even easier to use. It works effectively and sports 24 different massaging modes. It also comes with multiple electrodes. Its battery can last up to 20 hours of continuous use, allowing for longer sessions than 30 minutes. It also charges relatively fast.
3. TENS 7000 2nd Edition Digital TENS (Best Budget)
Although it has annoying wires, TENS 7000 TENs unit can provide instant pain relief that lasts and works great regardless of the therapy you’re taking to treat Sciatica pain.
- Great value for the price and affordability
- The well-researched product that helped over 1 million people
- Sports several useful accessories that make the therapy easier and less uncomfortable
- Versatile control of the pulse intensity
- 1-year warranty
This machine stimulates nerves and muscles and thanks to multiple pods, it helps relieve and stop the excruciating pain that comes with sciatica. Aside from sciatica, it can also be used on shoulders and neck, while also providing support for the carpal tunnel syndrome.
The company has owned the market since 2008, managing to sell and help with over 1 million units to different people experiencing unbearable pain. You can change the pulse intensity, and adapt it anywhere from 0 to 100mA. The increments are only 10mA, so you shouldn’t feel a drastic difference and can adjust slowly, suitable to your needs. It’s extremely easy to set up and use.
It comes with various accessories including the self-adhesive pods and 4-pack of multifunctional TENs unit pads. Lastly, home therapy has never been easier, you can do it at home before and after exercise, as well as a strength and endurance workout.
4. Healthmate Forever TENs Unit HM8GL (Best for Pregnancy)
The second edition of the HM8GL tens unit is great for pregnant women to treat pregnancy-induced sciatica. It helps strengthen the muscles surrounding the lumbar area and relieves pain from the sciatic nerve.
- Helps with pregnancy-induced sciatica pain
- Can be applied to two separate areas
- It’s more affordable than other devices.
- Convenient to use and easily transferable
It’s strong but it doesn’t cause skin itching or irritation, which is extremely important during pregnancy. It comes with 8 different modes, used independently to treat your pain.
The unit is easy to use and comes with 4 pads that can be used in two areas at the same time. Also, there’s an easy to read and use LCD which gives real-time information about the ongoing treatment. It allows extended sessions but comes with a pause button in case you need to stop.
It’s a great unit that won’t require you to use expensive gels and drugs to keep the sciatica pain at bay. It’s easy and safe to use.
5. [email protected] Rechargeable Compact Wireless TENS Unit (Best Wireless)
If you want a more portable option to treat your sciatica pain [email protected] is a wireless TENs unit.
- Great value for the money
- It’s portable and easy to use both home and outside
- Fast rechargeable
- Includes a pair of gel electrodes
- 20 power levels and 6 automated massage programs
- 1-year warranty
It’s just as effective as other wired devices, and it’s also affordable. You can use it at home, but also take it to travel. It’s easily rechargeable but comes with a 20-minute cycle and automatic shutdown.
It comes with 6 automated massaging modes, which are easy to adjust and can treat various pain, regardless of whether it’s caused by sciatica or another ailment. Additionally, it comes with 20 power levels and works with the use of only two buttons.
How to Use TENs Machines for Sciatica?
Using the TENs machine for sciatica is extremely easy, which is why this is another benefit of using them.
First, grab the electrodes that came with your TENs unit and attach them to the machine, and then use the other end to attach them to the skin where you want the pain to be treated.
As you use the machine, you will need to adjust and reposition the electrodes to fit the area where you feel the pain and often, you’ll need to move them to the affected area as the pain travels from the lumbar area to the hips and legs.
At first, you may miss a few times and need to reposition the machine, but don’t get discouraged, once you find the right spot, repeated use will feel much easier.
The YouTube channel AskDoctorJo provided a thorough tutorial on how to use the TENs unit to treat Sciatica. Make sure to check it out, it works with all varieties of the units.
We Also Found Great
6. TechCare Pro TENS Unit (Best for Athletes)
Doctors and medical experts recommend TechCare Pro for decades, as it has shown great results for both athletes and everyone else suffering problems with Sciatica Pain.
- It sports 24 modes that help relieve pain and make your move easier
- Ideal for athletes but also everyone else experiencing pain
- Lifetime warranty
- Great value for the price.
- Instant pain relief and 20 hours of continuous use
The low-voltage pulses relieve pain and bring refreshment to the sciatic nerve and surrounding muscles pain-free and drug-free. You won’t need to use drugs to relieve pain. TechCare Pro will provide all the necessary care your back needs to treat sciatica. The device comes with 1 controller and 4 electrodes. You can adjust them because two are large and two are medium. There are also 2 small electrodes and a storage base that helps you preserve them.
7. Magic TENs (Best for Traveling)
Magic Tens is a wireless and compact TENs machine that is portable and suitable to take out as well as a trip.
- It’s easy to store and carry, making it ideal for traveling
- Helps relax muscles using 5 unique modes and their combos
- Has automatic shutdown after 15 minutes of use
It modes that can help relieve the symptoms of sciatica, relax the muscles and nerves surrounding the sciatic nerve. Aside from the lower back region, you can also use it on the neck, shoulder, legs, and hips. It has 5 auto modes and automatic shutdown after 15 minutes.
8. Belifu Dual Channel TENS EMS (Best for Labor)
We reviewed the best option for pregnancy, but for women who need relief during labor, this is the best option.
- It can provide relief for women in labor
- 24 preprogrammed modes
- Although wired, it has great cable management and is easy to store
- Portable and offers therapy at home
- Non-invasive treatment, no drugs, and other pain relief additions
- 2 years warranty, although it’s extendable to 3 years
This is a multifunctional TENs device, meaning it can treat various back conditions. It has 24 modes that relieve muscle and neurological pain. It also comes with a storage bag and comes with 10 pieces of self-adhesive reusable pads. There are also cable ties that help with cable management. It’s easy to use and can be used for relieving pain at home.
9. Omron Max Power Relief® TENS Unit
- Customized control. You can use different modes in different parts of the body.
- Durable pads that can be reused over 150 times
- Portable and easy to carry
Omron Max Power Relief can be used with lower back pain caused by sciatica, as well as treating the pain that traveled into the hips and legs.
It can be used to relieve arthritis-caused pain, joint pain, and others. It comes with convenient electrodes and 6 preprogrammed modes that will help alleviate pain and discomfort.