Choose The Best TENS Unit Pads And Care For Your Skin
TENS units for back pain relief come with their own pads or electrodes, and their exact number depends on whether the device is single or dual channel. Dual channel units typically work with 2 or 4 pads at a time (2 pads per channel), whereas a single channel device can only handle 2. Dual channel TENS units are a great option because you can set different treatment strengths for each channel.
If you need more electrodes, use a 4 channel TENS unit; also called a quad channel, the unit allows you to use 2, 4, 6 or 8 pads at a time. The downside is that all electrodes need replacing eventually, and the more you have to begin with, the more replacing them will cost. However, keep in mind that the more pads you have, the more areas you can treat simultaneously, so the number is important.
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The pads can be self-adhesive or work in conjunction with a conductive adhesive gel that carries the pulse to where it is needed, and that helps stick portable wireless units to your back, so that you can go about your business as usual. If you buy the electrodes pre-gelled, make sure it is a high quality gel. Note, however, that not all device models require the use of a gel to work properly. Other times, even if the pads may hold the unit firmly to your body for a limited time, they may not be strong enough if you need to wear the device throughout the day; in such cases, an adhesive gel will help keep it firmly attached.
While it is recommended to get your spare electrodes from the same manufacturer you got your TENS unit from, there are replacement pads that are universally compatible, and that may be a more affordable option. Either way, most reusable electrodes are suitable for multiple applications, and can be used three to five times, sometimes more, as long as they keep adhering to the skin.
Since strong adhesives will keep the electrodes on for hours, look for pads that do not cause irritation, are easy to apply and remove, and that leave no sticky residue behind. Larger adhesive pads may prove too uncomfortable for people with sensitive skin, though. The best electrodes in these cases have a cloth backing that makes them more comfortable. Cloth is also more flexible than foam.
So, to prevent further issues, it is important to care properly for your skin throughout treatment. Make sure your skin is not irritated or broken; then, gently clean the area both before and after using the electrodes; dry your skin thoroughly before applying the pads. If your doctor has provided any ointment, make sure to use it before placing the electrodes. Next, insert the lead wire into the pin connector, remove the pads from their protective liner and apply them from center outward, without stretching them over the skin; remove the pads by pulling in the direction your hair grows.
Quality pads typically come with their own instructions, so make sure to read and follow them carefully.