TENS Pain Control Unit Manual

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TENS Pain Control Unit Manuel



With proper use, TENS can provide a safe, drug free method of relieving your pain.

TENS is an acronym for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. TENS is widely recognized as an effective method of relieving chronic and acute pain.

TENS sends tiny electrical impulses through the skin to the nerves lying directly beneath the skin surface. These impulses help to block the body's ability to send a pain message to your brain and increase the body's ability to produce its own pain killing substances, called endorphins.

It should be noted that TENS does not stop pain in 100% of the situations in which it is employed (neither does any other pain reliever). In the majority of situations in which it does produce pain relief, it does not mean that the underlying cause has been cured. The patient is expected to maintain contact with their prescribing professional until the underlying cause of the pain is resolved.

Remember that the presence of pain is not necessarily bad. Pain provides a very useful function of warning us that something is wrong. Because of this warning, it is mandatory that you have seen a health professional to obtain a prescription for this unit. In doing so, you and your clinician will be able to identify what is causing the pain and by working together, you can utilize your TENS to control the pain during the healing process.

Read this manual carefully and listen to your professional as to how they want you to utilize this instrument. Properly used, you will be able to control your pain without any of the risks and side effects of pain relieving drugs.


Description of Patient Controls

Green OFF/ON Lamp- When either Intensity Channel is turned on, then the Green Lamp will glow indicating that the instrument is on.

Intensity Knobs- There are two Intensity Controls located at the top of the instrument. Each control represents an individual electrical circuit or channel. The numbers one through eight located on the top of the knob indicate the relative intensity of the stimulation output and should not be used as a method of measuring the Intensity. The Level of Intensity you require for your TENS session may vary from day to day according to the type and condition of the electrode pads you are using, the moisture of your skin and even the progress of your rehabilitation.

When each knob is rotated clockwise, an audible "click" will be heard as you move past the "OFF" position. At this point the unit is turned on, the Red Channel Lamp will be lit and that channel is stimulating. By continuing in a clockwise direction, you may increase the level of stimulation output of that channel to the intensity suggested by your prescribing professional. When you have selected the proper intensity for one channel, then follow the same procedure for the other channel (if more than one channel is desired by your professional).

Any time the stimulation output begins to become uncomfortable, turn both controls counter-clockwise to turn down the intensity. When the treatment is finished, turn the controls counter-clockwise until the audible click is heard and the word "OFF" is selected on each channel.

As your battery begins to drain, you will need to gradually turn up the Intensity Knobs to maintain the same level of stimulation output. Remember the correct intensity level for your treatment is based upon what your nerves feel, not what the numbers on the Intensity Dial may show.

Electrode Cord Jacks- Each output jack will fit a standard subminiature phone plug that ends with two single .08 inch electrode pins (commonly used among various TENS manufacturers). In a single channel (two pad) application, a single TENS electrode cord is used in one of the output sockets. With a two channel (four pad) application, two cords are used. One electrode cord in each Intensity Jack. At all times, make sure that the phone plug is firmly seated in the receptacle of the instrument.

Red Channel Lamps- Will be lit or flashing (depending upon the pulse rate) when that particular channel is being used. As you increase the pulse rate, you will notice the lamp flashing faster until the flashes are so fast they appear as a steady glow.

Removing the Battery Cover

If the battery Cover from the front of the unit is removed, you will find additional controls. Normally the patient should not adjust these controls unless directed to do so by their professional. When the unit is initially prescribed, the professional will select the proper settings for you to use.

Removing the Cover- To remove the cover, push in on the cover latch and push up. The cover will tilt up and may then be removed from the instrument.

Batteries and the Battery Compartment

Your device has a battery ribbon that will help you remove the battery once it has been discharged. Insert the batteries into the device so that the battery is on top of the ribbon and the battery terminal polarity is correct. When the battery is in place, fold over the ribbon on top of the battery and replace the battery cover.


The TENS units use a standard 9 volt style battery available at any local store. You may use either Alkaline non-rechargeable batteries or the rechargeable Nickel-Cadmium (known as NiCad) variety. Alkaline batteries are cheap and will generally last longer than the rechargeable NiCad batteries but the Alkalines are more expensive in the long run because they must be constantly replaced.

We recommend the purchase of a rechargeable battery system with at least two NiCad batteries. With such a system, the patient can use one rechargeable battery while the second battery is charging. Be very careful when purchasing new Rechargeable NiCad batteries from retail stores. NiCad batteries are available in two versions, those having a voltage of 8.4 volts and those having a voltage of only 7.2 volts (there is no such thing as a true '9-volt' NiCad battery). We do not recommend the use of the 7.2 volt variety, as they will have an extremely short operation period. Unfortunately, most of the brand name Nicad batteries are of the 7.2 volt variety. Look at the package carefully before purchasing!. If you have trouble locating 8.4 volt NiCad batteries, then please call the factory and we will make them available to you at nominal cost.

NiCad batteries should be charged 10 - 12 hours with a U.L. listed charger. Be careful that you do not overcharge the NiCad Batteries by constantly recharging them after an hour or two of use. NiCad batteries work best if they are completely drained or used up before recharging, otherwise a 'memory' condition will develop and the battery's operation period will be severely reduced.


Battery Compartment Controls


Pulse Duration Control

Adjusts the duration of the electrical waveform pulse (also known as Pulse Width). The range possible is 50 to 250 microseconds. Changing the pulse duration will provide a different feel or texture to the electrical current. This is because different types of nerve fibers will respond differently to a particular pulse duration.

The longer the pulse, the more total energy each individual pulse generates. It may therefore be necessary to readjust the Intensity Controls after the pulse duration has been changed.

Pulse Rate Control

As this is rotated clockwise, the frequency (number of individual pulses per second) will increase. The range available is from 2 to 120 pulses per second.

At the lower frequencies (below 30 - 40 pulses per second) you may be able to feel the individual pulses and a tapping sensation will result. Above that rate, your body is not able to differentiate each individual pulse and a buzzing sensation will be perceived.

As with the Pulse Duration Control, if you increase the pulse frequency, you are increasing the amount of energy being delivered to the body. You will then need to adjust the Intensity Controls. Always turn any dial slowly so that you don't surprise yourself.


Mode Switch

The Mode Switch allows a choice of Normal (N), Burst (B) or Modulated (M) modes. Use the setting that your professional has chosen for you.

Do not switch modes while the instrument is operating. Turn off the instrument using the Intensity Controls (the green lamp will be off), then move the switch to the new Mode position.

Normal Mode (N)

Normal Mode is the conventional TENS mode. The Pulse Rate and Pulse Duration controls work independently according to the settings chosen.

Burst Mode (B)

In Burst Mode, the instrument will deliver a group or "Burst" of approximately seven (7) individual pulses. Each of the "Bursts" will occur twice per second. When using Burst Mode, the Pulse Rate Control will be disabled. The Pulse Duration Control is still active.

Modulation Mode (B)

Modulation Mode is designed to prevent nerve accommodation. The Pulse Rate will start at approximately 100 pulses per second, gradually change frequency to approximately 50 p.p.s. and then return back to 100 p.p.s. The cycle occurs approximately every four seconds. Note: When using Modulation mode increase the intensity very slowly so that you can feel the Intensity over the entire range of the cycle.

In Modulation Mode, the Pulse Rate control is disabled. You may still adjust the Pulse Duration.

Electrode Pads & Electrode Cords

Your TENS unit can use many different styles of Electrode Pads. The most common are the "Pigtail" style where the pin on the cord is inserted into the female receptacle on the electrode pad. With other types of electrodes the pin is inserted directly into a small hole in the carbon rubber.

Multiple Use electrodes have an adhesive which can be used repeatedly by the same patient until the adhesive wears out (typically 10-20 applications). The adhesive will last even longer if the patient is careful to clean the skin prior to use and returns the electrodes to their storage bags.

Your TENS unit works by applying electrical current to your body through the cords and electrode pads that are provided with the unit.

Each channel of your TENS unit uses one cord and two electrodes as in this single channel application (shown here with pigtail electrodes).

If you are using two channels then you will be using two cords and four electrodes as in this diagram using direct pin electrodes.

General Operating Instructions

1. Clean the skin surface of the body area to be treated.

2. Inspect the electrode cords and electrode pads for wear. If they are not in good condition, they should be replaced. If they are acceptable, then insert the cord pins into each electrode pad.

3. Peel away the paper backing of the disposable electrode and place it on the body. Use the electrode sites recommended by your prescribing clinician.

4. Verify that the Battery Compartment Controls are adjusted to the settings chosen by your clinician. If the clinician has previously set the Battery Compartment Controls for you, leave them alone until the clinician directs how and when to change them.

5. Turn each Intensity Control clockwise and SLOWLY increase the intensity level to that recommended by your clinician. Usually, that will mean increasing intensity until you can feel the `tingling' sensation of the stimulation. If any muscles begin to contract, turn down the intensity slightly. (Note: Some forms of treatment may use a slight muscle contraction. Your prescribing clinician will tell you how far they wish you to turn up the intensity).

6. If at any time the electrical stimulation begins to feel uncomfortable, use the Intensity Controls to turn down the intensity or turn the instrument off.

7. After a few minutes, it may seem that the sensation of the stimulation is diminishing. This is entirely normal as your body adapts to the electrical current. Simply increase the Intensity Controls slightly until the stimulation is once again at the proper intensity.

8. If desired, the unit may be attached to your belt or simply hung from your body using a cloth strap. This is a convenient way of continuing treatment while performing your everyday activities.

9. When you are finished using the unit, turn down each Intensity Control until an audible click is heard and the pointer is on the word "OFF". This will conserve battery life. You may now remove the electrode pads from your body.

Skin Care

Care must be taken during long treatment periods to avoid the incidence of irritation under the pad site. While such irritation is rare (approximately 1.6%), it can occur with sensitive patients or improper use of the electrodes.

The incidence of skin irritation under the electrodes can be reduced by washing and drying the electrode site before treatment. Firm electrode contact with the skin over the entire electrode surface is very important. If the electrode is not secure, intermittent stimulation may occur, which might be uncomfortable to the patient and could result in irritation. Trim any excess body hair which could interfere with smooth electrode contact with the skin.

Do Not place electrodes on cut, broken or irritated skin.

Consult with your professional about using alternate electrode pad positions on your body, so that one particular area of skin does not get constant use.

Sometimes changing electrode styles may also help. Different electrode manufacturers use different adhesives. Despite the fact that TENS electrodes use hypo-allergenic materials, a patient may still have difficulty with a certain brand of electrode.

Moisturizing skin cream, applied after treatment, has been found to be helpful for many patients. If skin irritation still occurs, despite the above recommendations, discontinue use.

Care of the Instrument

The TENS unit is an electrical device. It should not be immersed in water for cleaning. A soft, damp rag should be sufficient to remove any dirt from the instrument case.

Store your electrodes in a cool dry place. Return the electrodes to their storage bag between uses.

Do not attempt to sterilize the instrument or immerse in any liquid.

Do NOT yank or twist the cord (wire) portion of the electrode cord. The electrode wire is deliberately made from thin strands of wire to increase flexibility and reduce the weight of the cord assembly. Otherwise the weight of the cord would pull the electrode right off your body.

When removing the pins from the electrode pad, hold onto the hard plastic part of the pin connector and remove slowly from the electrode pad. Electrode Cords normally last at least 5 - 6 months with normal care and will last considerably longer if reasonable care is taken.

Your instrument is warranted for five years from the date of original purchase. Simply send the unit to the factory with your accessories and we will fix the instrument at no cost to you and send it right back. When sending in your instrument please remember to include your address and day and evening telephone numbers, so the Technical Support people can reach you if they need additional information.

If your instrument is out of warranty, then we will call you after we have inspected the instrument and let you know what the repair cost will be.

Note: Accessory items such as batteries, cords and electrode pads are not covered under this warranty. If during a repair (warranty or otherwise), we determine that any of your accessories are defective, we will notify you and give you the option of purchasing replacement accessories at a nominal cost.

Replacement Electrodes

Electrodes for your instrument are usually available through your local medical supply dealer or a pharmacy that has a home health center. Ask for electrodes that use the industry standard "Pin" style.

If the cost of your TENS unit was covered by your insurance or Medicare, you may be able to get full or partial reimbursement for your electrode purchases. Please ask your supplier and your insurance company about their policies. Your supplier may be able to handle the paper work for you or you may need to send in a copy of the invoice you receive when you purchase your replacement electrodes. If your insurance company or supplier has any questions, you may refer them to us.

If your favorite supplier does not have TENS electrodes, have them contact us and we will make sure they can get them for you.


Safety Precautions

Pad Placement Chart

Prescription Form

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