Talk:Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

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Medical Uses --> Pain section[edit]

This section talks about studies that show TENS to be effective or not, but the sentences discussing these studies are not specific as to whether these studies were evaluating TENS' ability RELIEVE pain temporarily (e.g., pain relief for a short period of time--hours/days) or ELIMINATE pain altogether forever (e.g., no more chronic low back pain forever... necessitating a longitudinal study). It would be helpful if the author could provide a bit more about the study goals and methodology to make this point clear. Otherwise the summary of studies is really too general, too superficial to make any assessment of the efficacy of TENS. Thanks! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:31, 22 September 2014 (UTC)


This is an interesting aspect of TENS history that might merit inclusion in the Wikipedia article:

Citations needed[edit]

Please insert citations, there are many medical quotations but no citations to verifiable sources. You may consider establishing some footnotes instead of inline citations. JennyLen 22:34, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

The IEEE references an article here that mentions the Scribonius Largus connection: IEEE abstract of The retrospectroscope: medical electricity. I. Electrostatics JCDarrow (talk) 21:31, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

The Safety section has a meta-comment that: "This section contains instructions, advice, or how-to content. The purpose of Wikipedia is to present facts, not to train.". In my opinion, this can easily be resolved by stating that the FDA suggests that the following warnings be placed with devices that are sold, and then referring to the appropriate FDA docs. [1]. This is the "Labeling" section of the FDA document titled: "Draft Guidance for Industry and FDA Staff: Class II Special Controls Guidance Document: Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator for Pain Relief", which seems to be the latest version of this document that I can find using Google. I have not managed to find a document beyond the "Draft Guidance" version. Also, in my experience, actual user manuals from the vendors contain the languaging that is recommended by this FDA "Draft Guidance". For example, see [2].

In other words, instead of saying "TENS electrodes should never be placed:", the article can say that "the FDA suggests that TENS units contain warning that TENS electrodes should never be placed: ...". This is not "factual" rather than "advice or training". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ideality (talkcontribs) 19:46, 12 March 2013 (UTC)


I've put a "tone" tag on the section labelled "Safety". Whilst I appreciate the intent, the tone is suggestive of advocacy--it instructs the reader on the use of the equipment, it warns of possible risks, and so on. As an encyclopedia we may want to present some or all of that information but not in this way. --Tony Sidaway 23:54, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

  • Hopefully better like this; I had thought there was a template for the medical disclaimer, but I didn't find it yet... --Firien need help? 15:52, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

Sexual Uses[edit]

TENS is often used by men for sexual stimulation. Does this use need to be at least pointed to here? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:05, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

There was such a reference, removed by User:YOW2PBI on 4 April. I've replaced it 13 July 2008. It was removed again on 20 September by User:Ksluka, I've replaced it again 8 October 2008. This is a very common usage, and should be left in the article. Metkat (talk) 01:44,

Removed again as uncited use by User:Anthonyhcole on 28 October. I've replaced it 1 November 2010, and added a cite. Metkat —Preceding undated comment added 21:59, 1 November 2010 (UTC).

From the preceding, mention of sexual stimulation obviously comes and goes like the tide. It's very odd that this article (currently) contains no such reference. Tempted to add it back but not keen to get into an edit war. Tesspub (talk) 10:49, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Clinicians are people too[edit]

The phrasing of paragraph three under "Uses" seems to imply that they are not. I'm unsure how to correct this, as I don't know what the writer meant to say or where they got their information. LSASM (talk) 01:49, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

Hilariously bad article[edit]

I hope people take no offense, but this article made me chuckle a few times. Compare it with the corresponding chapter in on the two somewhat mainstream electrotherapy books [3] [4]. Probably the most damning issue from a medical perspective is that this article doesn't even mention the lack of efficacy in most metaanalyses (starting on p. 277 in Tim Watson's book, and going for a a couple of dozen pages!) Also, the purported theories of how TENS works are presented as a sure thing here. Even the distinction between TENS and AL-TENS is lacking. The safety section seems to have some "improvements" over the usual stuff mentioned in those books. Compare with the similarly terse exclusion rules in [5] (the other books have more detailed discussions) Etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tijfo098 (talkcontribs) 03:36, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

So do you think you could do better? Huh? Do you? Looie496 (talk) 04:36, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, I'll work on it a bit. Already done a little referencing, but I don't have a lot free of time, even on weekends. Tijfo098 (talk) 14:30, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Great. Apologies for being a little bit belligerent, but your first sentence and section title were a little bit offensive. (Not to me personally; I haven't contributed to this article.) Regards, Looie496 (talk) 15:26, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Totally agree - I have tagged with weaknesses as I see them, and broken into sections (and other recommendations as per my edit summaries). I strongly urge separate sections for efficacy and usage to clarify. Widefox (talk) 15:04, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

This really is a hilariously bad article. The mundane truth is that TENS is a simple means of acute pain relief. Does it have any therapeutic value? I don't know. My uninformed guess not much. But as a means of acute musculoskeletal pain relief it is very effective in a massage-like way. It seems like this article could capture that without looking like it's a cratered no-man's land of edit wars. Joseph N Hall (talk) 08:42, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Fact: I suffer from lower back disk problems. When my back would go out, I would be laid up for two weeks. About 20 years ago, I was introduced to a Tens unit by a friend. It has been the answer for me in dealing with this issue. If the electrodes are placed on the proper spots on my back, (which took a while to figure how to use effectively), I am immediately relieved of pain while it is running, and after a day and the cost of one 9 volt battery, I am back to normal. It is the greatest Lower back pain reliever medical science has come up with to date. PERIOD! What's hilarious to me, is that there is any dispute about it at all. Pocketthis (talk) 16:56, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

Penis, clitoris etc.[edit]

Someone kept adding that exception to the safety section, but I didn't find support for it in the medical literature. On the contrary, Robertson p.160 says:

While this is not a blanket endorsement for sexual use, probably no adverse effects have been recorded. Tijfo098 (talk) 14:21, 11 November 2010 (UTC)



  1. REDIRECT ČÁáĐđĮÄä — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:35, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

How does it work?[edit]

I came to this article hoping to find technical information on how TENS machines work, in particular their mysterious (to me) ability to run two circuits through the same body. Any engineers out there who can fill in this missing information? Tesspub (talk) 10:52, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

  • I'm not qualified to add to the article on the matter, but it's straight forward enough as to why they can do that. Think of it this way: If you try to power something by connecting it to the positive of one battery and the negative of another, no juice will flow unless you complete the circuit by connecting the batteries as well. For current to flow there has to be a complete circuit, so all the tens unit has to do is keep the two voltage supply circuits electrically isolated from each other. The design used to do this I don't know... might be two tiny isolation transformers for all I know. Nazzy (talk) 23:52, 10 September 2015 (UTC)