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TENS Units vs. EMS Units

What is a TENS Unit?

A Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation unit (a TENS Unit) is an advanced technological medical device that is most commonly used for the assistance of pain management. TENS Units provide a non-invasive, drug-free treatment option for reducing and managing pain by using subtle electrical currents to stimulate specifically targeted nerve paths. Unlike most traditional methods of pain management, the use of a TENS Unit has been deemed safe, effective and side-effect free.


What is an EMS Unit?

An Electronic Muscle Stimulator (commonly referred to as an EMS Unit) is a technological medical device most commonly used to send customized electrical impulses to specifically targeted muscles. Using an EMS Unit has been proven to be one of the most effective means of muscle rehabilitation and preventing total muscle atrophy – a condition characterized by the weakening of muscles and loss of muscle tone (commonly seen in those who have recently undergone surgery or experienced an injury).


What is the difference between EMS Units and TENS Units?

Electrical Muscle Stimulators (EMS) are often mistakenly confused with a similar device called a TENS Unit (a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation unit). The fundamental difference between the two devices is that EMS Units target specific muscles, whereas TENS Units target specific nerves.

Some models of TENS Units can also be used as an EMS Unit, but an EMS Unit cannot be used as a TENS Unit. Where a TENS Unit it used for the management and treatment of pain, EMS Units are more of a therapeutic intervention for muscle rehabilitation. Instead of functioning to mask the pain symptoms, EMS Units help resolve the cause of the pain.


Uses for TENS Units (Electronic Muscle Stimulators)

TENS Units are used to assist with the treatment and management of the pain associated with a wide variety of health conditions. Some of the more common conditions and/or circumstances where the use of TENS Units helps with pain management include (but aren’t limited to) the treatment and/or management of:

  • Chronic back pain (especially that of the lower back and sciatica)

  • Diabetic neuropathy

  • Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis of the knee

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Cancer

  • Bursitis

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Childbirth labor and post-operative cesarean sections

  • Soothing sore and/or injured muscles

  • and much, much more


Uses for EMS Units (Electronic Muscle Stimulators)

Electronic Muscle Stimulators are extremely beneficial devices used for the rehabilitation of muscles. The therapeutic utilization of Electronic Muscle Stimulators is a very beneficial aid in the process of muscle rehabilitation because they promote:   

  • The prevention of muscle retardation due to chronic muscular disuse atrophy

  • The relaxation of muscle spasm

  • Muscle reeducation

  • An increased range of motion

  • Increased localized blood circulation

  • The prevention of post surgical venous thrombosis

Electronic Muscle Stimulation can also be used as an effective means of stimulating muscle groups that are notorious for being hard to activate, such as the gluteus maximus.