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How to use a TENS units & EMS machines for thigh pain relief? Placement of electrode pads (UK)

Since caveman times, the thighs have been one of the most important muscles in the anatomy. At that time they were essential for running and being able to reach imposing animals during the hunt, and although today we do not go hunting, we do need them for walking, running and a long etcetera of motor actions.

Although they are not too prone to injury as they are also one of the most resistant muscles, when they do they are a real problem as they limit our day to day life considerably. Luckily electrotherapy puts TENS and EMS therapies within our reach, and today you will learn why they should be your best friends from now on.

How to use a TENS units to relieve thigh pain?

Although the mechanism of action of TENS therapy makes you think that its only benefit is analgesic, the reality is that it goes much further. Among the main benefits of this therapy we can highlight:

  • Increased pain threshold: since the currents act on the femoral and obturator nerves to increase the load of pain neurotransmitters necessary for them to send the pain information to the spinal cord to later reach the brain, which will increase the user's tolerance to pain.
  • Improves nerve-muscle response: it improves the coordination between nerve signal and muscle action in the thighs, a very useful quality to achieve better sports performance. This is why many people use TENS even if they do not suffer from any type of injury due to the neurological benefits.
  • Avoid the use of drugs: painkillers are the number one option to relieve leg pain for most people, without knowing that they cause various side effects such as dependence on them. TENS is a less invasive and more natural alternative for pain relief that does not generate any side effects in the patient.
  • It stimulates the secretion of endorphins: these are the analgesic hormone par excellence. During a TENS electrotherapy session on the thighs, a huge amount of endorphins is generated that will not only relieve pain and make the pain relief last, but will also improve your general mood. The latter will be of great help in speeding up recovery from the injury you are suffering from.

All these benefits make TENS therapy ideal for treating the vast majority of hamstring and quadriceps injuries. With it you will have a healthy alternative to painkillers and other medical drugs that generate various side effects in your body.

So do not hesitate to use transcutaneous nerve electrostimulation in cases such as:

  • Muscle overloads
  • Tears
  • Cramps
  • Tendonitis
  • Contusions

Best TENS machines for thigh injury recovery

Now it's time for you to know the best electrostimulators and TENS devices to relieve your thigh pain and forget about painkillers forever.

Med-Fit - Rechargeable 4-channel wireless TENS machine with 9 clinically validated programmes
  • Type: TENS
  • Channels: 4
  • Modes: 9 Programmes
  • Intensity: Not specified
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Heat therapy: No
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Electrodes: 16 Pads
  • Display: Digital
  • Size: Not specified
  • Wireless Device
  • Includes 16 electrodes of 4 different sizes
  • 4 independent channels
  • Promotes tissue healing
  • Reduces pain and improves blood circulation
  • Few modes/programs
  • No battery life specified
  • Does not specify intensity and size
The Med-Fit electrostimulation unit is the best option to increase the efficiency of workouts, thanks to its incredible 4-channel function, through which you can apply different modes of use to different areas of the body. It includes 9 clinically proven training programs and each of them has a predefined duration time of 3 hours.

It uses a combination of TENS and EMS stimulation technologies, which are completely safe and natural methods to alleviate various types of ailments and improve physical condition by stimulating the growth of muscle fibers. It is the best option for long-term management of chronic pain, allowing you to lead a completely normal life and perform all your daily activities.

PowerDot 2.0 - Wireless TENS & EMS smart device controlled by mobile app (black)
  • Type: Combo
  • Channels: -
  • Modes/Programs: 15 Programmes
  • Intensity: Not specified
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Heat Therapy: No
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium
  • Electrodes: 4 Pads
  • Display: No display
  • Size: Not specified
  • TENS+EMS combo
  • Control from mobile app
  • Reduces pain symptoms
  • Includes user manual
  • Rechargeable battery
  • No battery life specified
  • No intensity levels specified
  • Does not specify dimensions and weight
PowerDot has launched for its consumers one of the best wireless electrostimulation devices on the market, consisting only of smart electrodes directed through a mobile application that you can find for Android and iOS operating systems, making the PowerDot 2.0 one of the most versatile devices on the market.

It has over 400 customised modes of use divided between EMS and TENS muscle stimulation, functions dedicated to the relief of all types of ailments and physical conditioning. The box includes 2 pre-charged pods, 2 sets of electrodes, 2 connection cables, 2 USB chargers, along with a carrying case ready to charge everything wherever you go.

Med-Fit - Dual channel TENS machine with 30 programmes and 16 pads
  • Type: TENS
  • Channels: Dual
  • Modes/Programs: 30 Programs
  • Intensity: 99 Levels
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Heat Therapy: No
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium (up to 12 hours)
  • Electrodes: 16 Pads
  • Display: Digital
  • Size: 839 gr
  • Reduces pain symptoms
  • Includes carrying bag
  • Includes user manual
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Accelerates recovery from sports injuries
  • Does not specify measurements
  • Not suitable for muscle hypertrophy
  • Does not include touch screen
This is one of the most versatile electrostimulation devices you will find. The electrostimulation machine is fully rechargeable and has a dual channel function that allows you to apply electrostimulation to various areas of the body. It contains 30 preset massage programs through which you can relieve different types of ailments as well as strengthen muscles.

This electrostimulation unit is completely digital for an effective and reliable treatment. It has an LCD display and a user-friendly system that allows you to set the functions in seconds. In addition, the purchase includes 16 reusable electrodes of high quality and for all budgets.

AUVON - Dual Channel TENS Pain Relief Machine and Muscle Stimulator with 20 modes and 8 pads
  • Type: TENS
  • Channels: Dual
  • Modes/Programs: 20 Modes
  • Intensity: 20 Levels
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Heat Therapy: No
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium (up to 10 hours)
  • Electrodes: 8 Pads
  • Display: Digital
  • Size: Not specified
  • Accelerates recovery from sports injuries
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Portable and small size
  • Includes user manual
  • Does not specify measurements and weight
  • Not suitable for muscle hypertrophy
  • No heat therapy
The AUVON electrostimulation unit is one of the best options for the treatment of nerve and muscle ailments, as well as a great addition to fitness. This is because it combines transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation technology with muscle electrostimulation, making it one of the most versatile devices on the market.

It has an independent dual-channel control mode, which allows you to treat different parts of the body with different settings and intensities as required. You can select from 20 preset massage modes, each designed to relieve certain types of pain and produce an overall sense of relief.

HealthmateForever - Handheld TENS electrotherapy device with 4 channels
  • Type: Combo (TENS+EMS)
  • Channels: 4
  • Modes: 15 Programmes
  • Intensity: Not specified
  • Wireless: No
  • Heat therapy: No
  • Battery: 4 AAA
  • Electrodes: 8 Pads
  • Display: LCD
  • Size: Not specified
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Includes 15 modes
  • Independent control mode
  • Reduces pain symptoms
  • No rechargeable battery
  • Does not specify intensity and size
The Health Mate Forever brand has one of the most advanced electro stimulator models available on the market, with 4-channel function and 15 modes of use that you can apply to various parts of the body simultaneously. Maximizing the efficiency of your workouts. Its simple and easy to understand design allows anyone to use it, and makes it much easier for you to program your sessions.

It also has a session timer that allows you to control the duration of the therapies. You will be able to set the time of each session in an interval between 10 and 80 minutes. The package includes 1 electro stimulator, 4 sets of guide wires, 4 pairs of electrodes, 1 electrode case, 3 AAA batteries, 1 pad positioning guide and 1 user manual.

How to use an EMS muscle electro stimulator for the legs?

As we mentioned above, EMS is not indicated as effective for treating thigh pain, but this does not mean that you should forget about it. The reality is that this form of electrotherapy is extremely beneficial for avoiding muscle injuries and keeping your hamstrings and quads in a state of total grace.

Among the most important benefits of EMS we can highlight:

  • Strengthens muscle fibers: training with medium and high intensity currents will help you keep each of the fibers that make up your hamstrings and quads strong at all times. This is especially valuable for people who don't have time to go to the gym.
  • Improves muscle response: the thighs are the muscle group that requires the greatest recruitment of fibers to perform explosive and powerful efforts, and this recruitment is considerably improved thanks to EMS electrotherapy.
  • Improves blood flow: during and after EMS training the blood vessels will dilate increasing the amount of red blood cells that pass through them, which in turn will allow greater oxygenation of tissues and increase the assimilation of nutrients in the muscle fibers of the quadriceps, femoral and other hamstring muscles.
  • Prevents muscle injuries: all these benefits translate into a considerable increase in the resistance of your muscles to injury. This will give you more confidence to perform explosive movements with your thighs without fear of injury.
  • Reduces the appearance of trigger points: continuous training with EMS will improve the elasticity of deep muscle tissue, preventing the fascia from shortening and the appearance of so-called myofascial pain points.

It should be noted that these benefits will only be taken advantage of if we use EMS on a regular basis and during periods when we are not injured. Keep in mind that it is not recommended for recovery from ailments and injuries, but rather for prevention or rehabilitation after long periods of muscular inactivity due to long-term injuries.

Best EMS electrostimulators to strengthen quadriceps and hamstring muscles

Now it's time for you to get to know the best EMS electro stimulators you can buy to keep your thighs healthy, strong and turn them into a real anti-injury fortress.

Compex Sport 2.0 - EMS muscle stimulator with 4 channels and 4 electrodes pads
  • Type: EMS
  • Channels: 4
  • Modes/Programs: Not specified
  • Intensity: Not specified
  • Wireless: No
  • Heat Therapy: No
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Electrodes: 4 pads
  • Display: Digital
  • Size: Not specified
  • Prevents muscle atrophy
  • Improves joint mobility
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Portable and small size
  • Includes user manual
  • Does not specify measurements and weight
  • No specified modes or programmes
  • No intensity levels specified
Among the most effective options for muscle conditioning offered by the Compex brand, the Compex Sport 2.0 electrostimulation unit stands out in particular, designed specifically to promote fat burning and the recovery of muscle fibers, allowing you to tone your body and strengthen your muscles, while promoting physical recovery and relaxation.

It has all the basic functions of Compex electrostimulators, plus the innovative MI technology, which greatly increases the effectiveness of treatment by keeping records of the sessions performed. It is the perfect device for athletes who practice their disciplines between 1 and 2 times a week. It has 7 conditioning programs, 3 recovery massage programs, 6 pain management programs and 4 training programs.

Beurer - Rechargeable digital TENS/EMS device with 70 programmes and 50 intensity levels w/ 4 pads
  • Type: Combo
  • Channels: Dual
  • Modes/Programs: 70 Programs
  • Intensity: 50 Levels
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Heat Therapy: S
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium
  • Electrodes: 4 Pads
  • Display: Digital
  • Size: 190 gr
  • TENS+EMS combo
  • Incl. user manual
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Accelerates recovery from sports injuries
  • With heat therapy
  • No measurements specified
  • Does not include carrying bag
  • Battery life not specified
The physiotherapy brand Beurer offers its users one of the most versatile electrostimulation devices available on the market. This is the Beurer EM59, which contains an incredible 4-in-1 function that allows you to apply therapeutic currents, muscle stimulation, nerve stimulation and heat therapy, providing a completely different level of relief to its users with its more than 70 programs and 50 intensity levels.

This powerful electro-stimulator offers immediate relief for almost any type of ailment using stimulation methods that stimulate the production of natural analgesic agents within the body. It also works as an effective methods to accelerate muscle growth and regeneration, while combining with heat therapy to provide one of the most complete treatments you will find.

Med-Fit - 4-Channel TENS+EMS with 24 Clinically Approved Programmes and Manual Adjustment
  • Type: Combo (TENS+EMS)
  • Channels: 4
  • Modes: 24 Programmes
  • Intensity: Not specified
  • Wireless: No
  • Heat Therapy: No
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Electrodes: 20 Pads
  • Display: Digital
  • Size: Not specified
  • Includes carrying case
  • Portable Device
  • Features 20 pads
  • Includes charger and USB cable
  • Stand-alone control mode
  • Battery life not stated
  • No size and weight specified
  • No intensity specified
Med-Fit has a high quality electro-stimulator that has a dual control system for 4 channels through which you can treat up to 4 areas of the body simultaneously. In addition, it has 24 clinically proven programs for pain relief through TENS technology and muscle stimulation through EMS electrical impulses.

Adjustment between TENS and EMS modes can be done manually, giving you full control to set the modes of use you require according to your specific needs. It is also powered by a long-life rechargeable lithium battery, which is also supplied with a compatible charger. The battery can withstand up to 1,000 charges.

EOSVAP - Dual channel TENS & EMS machine with 16 modes and 8 pads
  • Type: Combo
  • Channels: Dual
  • Modes/Programs: 16 Modes
  • Intensity: 20 Levels
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Heat Therapy: No
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium
  • Electrodes: 8 Pads
  • Display: Digital
  • Size: 350 gr
  • Includes user manual
  • Prevents muscle atrophy
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Rechargeable battery
  • TENS+EMS Combo
  • No size specified
  • Battery life not specified
  • Transport bag not included
EOSVAP has a versatile dual-channel electrostimulator with 16 TENS massage modes, through which you can treat a wide range of ailments, regardless of whether they are caused by injury or illness. It is one of the best options to treat the symptoms of arthritis, sciatica, cramps and muscle pain.

Its independent control function allows you to set separate modes of use for channels A and B, so that each applies a different type of massage to each region of the body being treated, adapting to your needs. It is one of the most practical and compact models you can find, so you can take it with you and use it whenever you want.

PowerDot 2.0 - Wireless TENS & EMS smart device controlled by mobile application (red)
  • Type: Combo
  • Channels: -
  • Modes/Programs: 15 Programs
  • Intensity: Not specified
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Heat Therapy: No
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium
  • Electrodes: 4 Pads
  • Display: No display
  • Size: Not specified
  • TENS+EMS combo
  • Control from mobile app
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Includes user manual
  • Reduces pain symptoms
  • No battery life specified
  • No intensity levels specified
  • Does not specify dimensions and weight
The PowerDot 2.0 is an intelligent electrical stimulation electrode that will allow you to apply TENS and EMS current shocks for both pain treatment and conditioning of different muscle groups. It includes more than 400 customised programmes that can be easily managed with the mobile app available for both Android and iOS.

The simple interface of the PowerDot app will guide you through everything you need to know to operate the electrodes efficiently. The purchase package includes 2 pre-loaded pods, 2 sets of electrodes with corresponding pads, 2 sets of cables and 2 micro USB charging cables, along with a carrying case so you can take your electrodes with you wherever you go.

Video: How to place electrodes pads on the thighs?

Electrodes for quadriceps

Electrodes for quadriceps
Electrodes for quadriceps
Electrodes for quadriceps

Electrodes for hamstrings

Electrodes for hamstrings
Electrodes for hamstrings

Electrodes for abductors

Electrodes for abductors
Electrodes for abductors

More types of EMS electrostimulators and TENS machines you should know

Most common types of thigh injuries

Thigh injuries are usually mainly related to the femur, quadriceps and hamstrings. Among the most common we can mention the following:

  • Biceps femoris rupture: it consists of the pronounced tearing of the fibers that make up this femoral muscle. This injury generates severe pain that prevents any attempt at mobility with the affected leg, and if not treated in time, can cause muscle deformities and constant weakness in the leg.
  • Muscle cramps: this is a spasm that generates an involuntary muscle contraction that causes a section of a muscle to remain tense for several seconds. Its occurrence is related to poor hydration, abuse of the muscle during training and in some cases even poor blood circulation.
  • Muscle contusion: this is a blow received on the quadriceps or hamstrings that generates superficial damage to the muscle fibers, which causes the impact area to swell and generate acute pain when trying to contract the muscle. If the impact is very strong, it could cause muscle tearing or rupture.
  • Femur fracture: it occurs when this bone receives a strong impact that causes a superficial or even total crack that generates that the two parts of the femur come out of their position. It is usually accompanied by muscle contusions since, being the most resistant bone structure in the anatomy, a very powerful blow is needed to fracture it.
  • Syndrome of the iliotibial band: it is the inflammation on the connective band that goes from the pelvis to the superior head of the tibia, just in the external side of the knee. This tissue becomes so inflamed that it rubs against the femur, causing instability when walking, weakness and a very uncomfortable sharp pain.

Differences between TENS and EMS: Which one to use for thigh pain?

To treat painful thigh injuries, electrotherapy is one of the best alternatives. First of all, it uses transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or TENS, which is a method that uses current to act on the femoral nerve and the obturator nerve that pass through the thigh to alter their capacity to receive pain.

This is achieved by altering the activation of nociceptors in the cells and the production of pain neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which increases the user's pain tolerance threshold.

The second modality is electrostimulation muscle therapy or EMS. This focuses on training and strengthening the quadriceps and hamstring muscles by using more intense currents that generate contractions in these muscles, thus simulating those we get naturally when training legs in the gym, running or even walking.

If we focus specifically on pain relief, the ability to alter the pain neurotransmitters of the femoral and obturator nerves, make TENS the most convenient. In addition, when suffering from muscle injuries or any ailment that generates damage at the level of the fibers of these, the most recommended is to rest them, which makes EMS can even be counterproductive since contracting an injured muscle can worsen the scenario.

However, this does not mean that the usefulness of EMS cannot help you have a healthier life. The reality is that it is also an important support for maintaining the health of the hamstrings and quadriceps, as using it regularly will significantly reduce the likelihood of thigh injuries.

Contraindications in the use of electrodes and electrotherapy

</p> <h3>Contraindications for electrode placement</h3> <p>
The placement of the electrodes is of utmost importance in electrotherapy, whether TENS or EMS, so here are some things to keep in mind before starting a session:

  • Symmetrical placement: the negative and positive poles of each electrode should be connected symmetrically. That is to say, if we use two pads, we should use one positive and one negative pole in each one, while if we use four, the equivalence should be two positive and two negative.
  • Do not cross the electrodes: you cannot use one electrode in the lower train and another in the upper train and more importantly, never cross the electrodes from the left side to the right side of the body and vice versa, since the current path can negatively affect the patient's health. For this reason it is always recommended to use the electrodes in a localized way.
  • Motor point: at least one of the electrodes, whether positive or negative, must be positioned over the motor point, which is the point where the greatest force is achieved in the muscle in question.
  • Control the intensity: the size of the muscle must be taken into account when choosing the intensity of the current, since the less volume and size the muscle has, the lower the tolerated intensity will be.
  • Be careful with the skin: EMS or TENS units should not be used on recently depilated areas since the pores will be open and this could generate skin sensitivity. Do not use on irritated or reddened areas, open wounds or recent scars.
</p> <h3>Contraindications for the use of electrostimulation</h3> <p>
Being a therapy that applies currents to the body, it cannot be used for all conditions, therefore its use should be avoided in cases where the user suffers from the following conditions:

  • Epilepsy.
  • Cardiac pacemakers.
  • Circulation disorders and problems.
  • Abdominal or inguinal hernias.
  • Neurological disturbances.
  • Tendency to bleed.
  • Skin irritation, burns or wounds.
  • Diseases that affect muscle metabolism, such as diabetes.
  • Metabolic syndrome (diabetes, hypertension and obesity).
  • High uric acid levels.
  • Metabolic disorders and metabolic pathologies.
  • Inflammatory pathologies.

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