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How to use a TENS units & EMS machines for sports injuries recovery? Placement of electrode pads

The number of people who practice sports, at any level of intensity, exceeds hundreds of thousands around the world, so injuries derived from these activities are extremely common and although their severity can be variable, they are not to be taken lightly, since they can cause serious damage to different body systems.

Sport subjects the body to great stress in different areas depending on which discipline is practiced, causing injuries and ailments, for whose treatment one of the safest and most effective options is electrotherapy. Below, we will teach you everything you need to know about the most common sports injuries and how you can use electrotherapy to treat them.

How to use TENS for pain relief during injuries?

The use of TENS therapy is an extremely popular pain relief method in the field of highly competitive sports, thanks to its ease of pain reduction and lack of side effects.

Benefits

TENS units is one of the most effective and safest therapies for the treatment of injuries and ailments, and offers a wealth of benefits, among which we can highlight the following:

  • Increased pain tolerance
  • Relaxation of muscle and fibrous tissue
  • Improved blood supply
  • Increased medullary circulation
  • Stimulation of endorphin production

What intensity to use?

The intensity of the therapy must be adapted to the type of injury and the severity of the same, in order to block the electrical impulses that generate the sensation of pain, so you can not apply the same frequency in all injuries.

However, it is possible to define a range of intensity applicable to most of them. For treating a wide range of ailments caused by injuries, the ideal frequency ranges from 65 to 85 Hz, whereby nerve tissue stimulation can be generated to block pain impulses in the affected area, increasing its resistance and gradually reducing the sensation of pain

Best TENS devices for pain relief in sports injuries

The versatility of TENS machines allows us to find a wide variety of machines specifically designed to treat one or several types of ailments caused by sports injuries. Among the best TENS units for this purpose, we can highlight the following:

TechCare - Dual channel TENS & EMS device includes 24 modes and 8 electrodes with touchscreen display
  • Type: Combo
  • Channels: Dual
  • Modes/Programs: 24 Modes
  • Intensity: Not specified
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Heat Therapy: No
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium (up to 20 hours)
  • Electrodes: 8 Pads
  • Display: Touch
  • Size: Not specified
  • Includes user manual
  • Long battery life (up to 20 hours)
  • Portable and small size
  • TENS+EMS Combo
  • Reduces pain symptoms
  • Does not specify intensity levels
  • Does not specify measurements and weight
  • Does not include carrying bag
This multifunction electrotherapy device is one of the most complete and versatile electro stimulators you will find. Brought to light by TechCare Massage, this device combines the most commonly used electrostimulation technologies to treat different types of ailments. The TENS and EMS technologies allow you to relieve acute and chronic ailments, deep muscle pain and promote the rehabilitation and regeneration of muscle fibers.

It includes 24 massage programs in total, which are designed to treat a wide variety of ailments. Each of the modes has 4 different options to choose from, and comes with all the accessories you may need, from electrodes and guide wires to a user guide and an electrode positioning guide.

AUVON - DUAL CHANNEL RECHARGEABLE TENS EMS UNIT WITH 24 MODES 12 PADS INCLUDES USB CHARGER
  • Type: Combo
  • Channels: Dual
  • Modes/Programs: 24 Modes
  • Intensity: 20 Levels
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Heat Therapy: No
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium (up to 10 hours)
  • Electrodes: 12 Pads
  • Display: Digital
  • Size: Not specified
  • Long battery life (up to 10 hours)
  • Includes carrying bag
  • Includes user manual
  • Portable and small size
  • Prevents muscle atrophy
  • Does not specify measurements and weight
  • No heat therapy
  • No touch screen included
The AUVON brand has one of the most versatile electrostimulation machines on the market, which has a powerful combination of TENS and EMS technologies, allowing you to treat any muscle or nerve ailment, as well as generate activity in the muscle to stimulate its growth. It has a dual channel fiction that will allow you to treat different parts of the body using different settings for each channel.

It works with 24 pre-programmed modes of use and 20 intensity levels with a programmable session timer up to a maximum of 60 minutes, and is powered by an internal lithium battery that allows continuous use for over 10 hours. The package contains 1 AUVON electrostimulator, 12 TENS pads 5 x 5 cm, 2 guide wires, 1 USB cable, 1 carrying case and 1 user guide.

TENS 7000 - TENS unit for pain management, back pain and rehabilitation with 4 electrode pads
  • Type: TENS
  • Channels: Dual
  • Modes/Programs: 5 Modes
  • Intensity: 10 Levels
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Heat Therapy: No
  • Battery: Rechargeable Battery
  • Electrodes: 4 Pads
  • Display: Digital
  • Size: 8.8" x 2" x 7.8" - 1.15 lbs
  • Includes user manual
  • Prevents muscle atrophy
  • Accelerates recovery from sports injuries
  • Includes carrying bag
  • Reduces pain symptoms
  • Non-universal electrode replacements
  • Not suitable for muscle hypertrophy
  • Few types of programs
The TENS 7000 has one of the most complete models of electrostimulator, which includes a wide variety of functions and accessories. It is a digital unit that combines TENS and EMS technologies together with an innovative dual channel function that allows you to apply these electrostimulation modalities on different parts of the body simultaneously.

The TENS 7000 muscle stimulator includes one of the most complete electrical stimulation therapy packages you will find. It includes 1 TENS 7000 unit, 2 guide cables, 4 packs of reusable pads, 1 9-volt battery, 1 instruction manual and a hard case to carry your electrostimulation equipment wherever you want.

TechCare Massager - Portable TENS+PMS unit with 10 rechargeable massage modes and LCD display
  • Type: Combo
  • Channels: 2
  • Modes/Programs: 10 Programs
  • Intensity: 20 Levels
  • Wireless: No
  • Heat Therapy: No
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium
  • Electrodes: 8 Pads
  • Display: LCD
  • Size: 3.3 x 0.2 x 2.5 inches
  • Reduces pain symptoms
  • With adjustable timer
  • Accelerates recovery from sports injuries
  • Includes carrying bag
  • Improves blood circulation
  • No battery life specified
  • No weight specified
  • No heat therapy
The TechCare mini massager is an incredibly practical device designed to treat all types of pain safely and effectively. This electrostimulator combines TENS and EMS stimulation modalities, consisting of applying low frequency electrical impulses to effectively eliminate the sensation of pain, while increasing the natural production of endorphins.

It has 10 pre-programmed massage modes and 20 intensity levels that focus on treating various types of pain, and a session timer function that allows you to set the duration of these between 10 and 60 minutes. Additionally, it has a lithium battery that allows you to apply therapy for more than 20 hours at a time.

TenStim - Rechargeable wireless TENS & EMS unit with 2 independent dual channel
  • Type: Combo
  • Channels: Dual
  • Modes/Programs: Not specified
  • Intensity: 20 Levels
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Heat Therapy: No
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium
  • Electrodes: 3 Pads
  • Display: Digital
  • Size: 4.25" x 2"
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Portable and small size
  • Accelerates recovery from sports injuries
  • Wireless electrodes
  • Prevents muscle atrophy
  • No weight specified
  • Does not specify number of modes/programs
  • Battery life not specified
Tenstim introduces its flagship electro stimulator, the Tenstim Wireless, an EMS muscle stimulation device with a variety of therapeutic modes and 20 intensity levels for greater depth of action. Its two channels can be controlled independently, so you can use them on different areas of the body according to your needs.

The box contains 1 remote control, 2 independent receivers, 1 AC adapter, 1 USB charging cable, 2 electrode cables, 2 reusable adhesive gel pads and 1 electrode board. In addition, it has a session timer that allows you to organise each therapy efficiently, which you can modify for sessions from 10 to 60 minutes.

How to use EMS to regain training rhythm after an injury?

One of the main advantages of muscle electrostimulation therapy is the ability to activate muscle groups, generating contractions that produce physical activity without the need to apply tension on joints or muscles, making it one of the safest methods for reconditioning the musculature after a period of injury recovery.

Benefits

Electrotherapy treatment is one of the safest methods for recovery from sports injuries. This is because it does not exert any stress on the body and allows a progressive recovery of muscle capacity, in addition to other benefits, among which we can highlight:

  • Improved blood flow
  • Increased muscle strength
  • Increased muscle mass
  • Increased metabolic efficiency
  • Reduction of musculoskeletal disorders

What intensity to use?

Unlike muscle training with EMS therapy, the rehabilitation of injuries requires a different approach when applying the treatment, since it is a muscle group that has not been worked for long periods of time. This means that the intensity in the rehabilitation process should be lower compared to training.

With this in mind, it is necessary to highlight the fact that each injury requires a slightly different process depending on the type and severity of the injury. However, in the case of EMS therapy application, the average intensity range is around 50 Hz, in order to generate a mild stimulation that favors the production of muscle fibers gradually.

Best EMS electrostimulators to improve sports performance

Among the best muscle stimulators, we can find the following:

Compex Wireless USA 2.0 - Wireless muscle stimulator and TENS with 16 electrodes & 10 programs
  • Type: Combo
  • Channels: 4
  • Modes/Programs: 10 Programs
  • Intensity: 5 levels
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Heat Therapy: No
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Electrodes: 16 electrodes
  • Display: Digital
  • Size: 4.25" x 2.75" x 0.75", 1 Lb
  • Wireless electrodes
  • Prevents muscle atrophy
  • Improves joint mobility
  • Reduces pain symptoms
  • TENS+EMS Combo
  • Touch screen not included
  • No battery life specified
  • No heat therapy
The Compex Wireless USA 2.0 electrostimulation unit gives you one of the best alternatives to improve the results of physical training, while providing relief from the aches and pains caused by it, through its 10 electrostimulation programs divided into strength training, warm-up, recovery and TENS massage modes.

It is the perfect tool to maximize the results of your workout thanks to its electrical impulses that stimulate the growth of muscle fibers, while reducing and even preventing pain caused by exercise and promoting a quick recovery.

OMRON - Dual channel heat therapy TENS & EMS unit with 9 programs and 20 intensity levels
  • Type: Combo
  • Channels: Dual
  • Modes/Programs: 9 Programs
  • Intensity: 20 Levels
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Heat Therapy: Yes
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium
  • Electrodes: 2 Pads
  • Display: Digital
  • Size: 4.05" x 1.14" x 4.05" - 0.42 lbs
  • Improves joint mobility
  • Improves blood circulation
  • With heat therapy
  • Portable and small size
  • TENS+EMS Combo
  • Battery life not specified
  • Non-universal electrode replacements
  • Few electrodes included
The Omron Total Power is a very complete electrostimulation device by Omron, which has TENS electrostimulation technology for the treatment of any type of muscular ailments, as well as a heat therapy function that allows to reduce deep tissue ailments in a very easy way, providing a sensation of immediate relief to the patient.

This versatile device can treat both chronic and acute pain in a safe and natural way, thanks to its ability to increase the production of endorphins in the human body. It has 20 intensity levels that can be adapted to your needs and its heat therapy function allows it to reach a temperature of 43 °C (109 °F). Its long-lasting pads have a fairly long lifespan, allowing up to 30 uses.

AccuRelief - Wireless TENS & EMS combo unit with remote control and mobile app control
  • Type: Combo
  • Channels: -
  • Modes/Programs: 14 Programs
  • Intensity: 60 Levels
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Heat Therapy: No
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium
  • Electrodes: 4 Pads
  • Display: Digital
  • Size: 0.96" x 2.09" x 4.53" - 0,013 lbs
  • TENS+EMS Combo
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Accelerates recovery from sports injuries
  • Control from mobile app
  • Portable and small size
  • Does not specify battery life
  • Does not include user manual
  • Does not include carrying bag
The physiotherapy accessories brand AccuRelief presents one of the most versatile and complete electro-stimulation device models on the market. This is its massager that includes TENS and EMS therapy functions, together with a very interesting pulse massage function, which makes it the best option for treating pain and complementing physical training.

Its 60 adjustable intensity levels can be easily modified via the mobile app, and coupled with the device's cordless and compact size, means you can have constant access to full massage therapy whether you're at home, in the office or on holiday, as you can take the AccuRelief with you wherever you go.

DOMAS - Dual channel TENS EMS muscle stimulator with 6 massage modes and 13 pads for pain relief
  • Type: Combo
  • Channels: 2
  • Modes/Programs: 6 Modes
  • Intensity: 20 Levels
  • Wireless: No
  • Heat Therapy: No
  • Battery: Lithium Rechargeable (up to 10 hours)
  • Electrodes: 13 Pads
  • Display: Digital
  • Size: Not specified
  • TENS+EMS combo
  • Long battery life (up to 10 hours)
  • Portable and small size
  • Prevents muscle atrophy
  • Improves joint mobility
  • No heat therapy
  • Does not specify size and weight
  • Some electrodes dry quickly
In DOMAS you will find one of the best electro stimulators available in the market, which allows both the relief of different types of pain, thanks to its TENS technology, and muscle stimulation through EMS electrical impulses. It has a dual output channel through which you can treat two areas of the body simultaneously and has 24 modes of use and 20 adjustable intensity levels.

It has a rechargeable lithium battery that allows you to use your device for up to 20 uninterrupted hours. It can be plugged into wall outlets, or charged via USB connection. It is a perfect alternative for the treatment of ailments without side effects and avoiding the use of drugs.

Laspi - 4-channel TENS/EMS muscle stimulator with 20 modes and 8 electrode pads
  • Type: Combo
  • Channels: 4
  • Modes: 20 Programs
  • Intensity: 40 Levels
  • Wireless: No
  • Heat therapy: No
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Electrodes: 12 Pads
  • Display: Digital
  • Size: Not specified
  • Includes 40 intensity levels
  • Portable device
  • 12 pads with different sizes
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Features 20 modes
  • Somewhat slow charging
  • No size specified
The Laspi brand of products has an electrostimulation machine designed to maximize the results of your workouts through a complete massage therapy provided by TENS and EMS technologies, which will allow you to combat acute and chronic ailments, as well as increase the results of your exercises by stimulating muscle growth.

It has a function of 4 individual channels that will allow you to apply different massage programs in various areas of the body, in addition to 3 programs that together give you more than 20 options between TENS, EMS and recovery massages, 40 levels of intensity and time control function that will allow you to define the duration of each session.

Video: How to place electrodes pads to relieve pain during a sports injury?

Electrodes for arms

Electrodes for arms
Electrodes for arms
Electrodes for arms

Electrodes for shoulders

Electrodes for shoulders
Electrodes for shoulders
Electrodes for shoulders

Electrodes for back

Electrodes for back
Electrodes for back

Electrodes for legs

Electrodes for legs
Electrodes for legs

Electrodes for abdomen

Electrodes for abdomen
Electrodes for abdomen

More types of EMS electrostimulators and TENS machines you should know

What are the most common sports injuries?

While the body is a fairly resilient system, it is necessary to highlight the fact that the overexertion involved in the execution of some sports puts excessive stress on different tissues of the body, whether bone, fibrous or muscular.

Among the most common injuries that can be suffered in different types of sports, we can highlight the following:

  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Dislocations
  • Muscle inflammation
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Meniscus tears
  • Fractures

What is electrotherapy and how can it help you recover from sports injuries?

Electrotherapy is a physiotherapy technique that has several modalities oriented to different objectives. In the particular case of physiotherapy, the most common types of electro-stimulation are TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) and EMS (Electro Muscular Stimulation), which have different functions that can increase the speed of recovery from sports injuries when correctly applied.

EMS

Electro Muscular Stimulation is a method of physical conditioning and rehabilitation that uses medium to high intensity electrical impulses to generate contractions in the treated muscles or muscle groups, increasing the production of muscle fibers to promote their growth and toning.

Its application for the recovery of sports injuries is applied at a later stage of the recovery period, when the pain phase of the injury is over. Applying these electrical impulses at the appropriate frequencies allows reconditioning the muscle, accelerating its recovery and reducing the waiting time before resuming physical activity.

TENS

This therapy, called Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, is a physiotherapy technique that uses low frequency electrical currents applied through electrodes on the skin, positioned on the areas to be treated. Its electrical currents are applied at an intensity that varies between 1 and 250 Hz, and directly influence the nervous tissue of the treated area to minimize the sensation of pain.

It can be used in injuries generated by sports activities in their early stages, in order to minimize as much as possible the pain caused by the injury. Through this process, it is possible to reduce the duration of pain to begin physical rehabilitation and muscle reconditioning,

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 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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