Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!


Quick Start Forum Video Tutorial

Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

The main site has all the formal medical articles and videos for you to research on.

TENS machine - what's the best place for the pads

seaniboysseaniboy Posts: 14
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Pain Management
I wonder if anyone can help me?

I just got a TENS unit. It has two channels that can be independently set.

I have a L5 S1 herniation with sciatica pains down my RH leg. Quite a lot of numbness in the RH side of my foot too.

The diagram that came with the machine isn't very precise. So I have had one set of pads either side of my spine around the L4 type height; and the other two at the top and bottom of my thigh.

But I have seen other diagrams where the pads are arranged in a much more criss-cross system with +ve on one side of the lower spine and the related -ve terminal at the bottom of the thigh etc.

Any suggestions?

I'm not sure whether it does a lot of good - but it seems pretty pleasant!


  • I found that an X pattern slightly above and below the area that the pain is being generated from works the best for me. Since it is based on the Gate Theory of blocking signal transmission, interrupting the pain signal near the source should help with the leg pain as well.

    So if I can explain this well enough via text ... I always take one channel and place the red lead just about an inch and a half off the left side of my spine about 2 inches above the pain source. From the same channel took the white lead and place it the same distance below and to the opposite side of the pain source. Then take the second channel and place the leads in a mirror image of the first channel.

    This is what works for me.

  • I had spinal fusion L4-L5. My pain has been located in my sacral area with some leg issues. I will attempt an illustration of my tens placement. The } indicates the spine and the 0 will be the start of my "butt crack." As you can see, I use an X pattern with the electrodes. I generally try to keep them about 2" apart or perhaps a bit farther apart. I sometimes move them about a bit - maybe higher or lower because the pain and generate from different areas. I hope this somewhat general illustration will help you. I also experiment with the settings to find the most effective at the time. Good luck!

    X1 } X2
    X2 } X1

  • advertisement
  • I couldn't get the illustration right. Sorry. Just pretend that the spine is in the center and place the electrodes about an inch or so (depending on how if feels) on either side of the spine just above your "butt crack." Sorry but I can't think of a better way to describe. Kathy
  • Dear all,

    Thanks so much for your help. Sorry not to have responded before. I have been rather caught up in the pre-Xmas stuff.

    I've tried out a few things - but have settled for Kathyy's scheme of things.

    I was a bit alarmed when the cat unexpectedly jumped up on my lap when I had the machine on. (I was wondering whether he would absorb the residual electric charge!).

    But it didn't seem to bother him (or perhaps he was just enjoying it!)

  • Cats seem to be able to feel electrical fields when others can't. My cat can feel the electrical field from my SCS and loves to snuggle up against the areas the stimulation is the strongest.

    Glad you were able to have some success with the TENS placement.

  • advertisement
  • Maybe the cats think "their human" is purring?


    I've also heard (here on this site by someone I can't remember - sorry!) that if you have problems with your feet and the wires are long enough, you can put one or 2 leads right on your foot! WOW! My wires did not stretch that far; or else I'd have to be so twisted and bent (physically - not my usual mental twisted and bent state) for it to reach.

    Good luck. I hope you find your happy medium!
  • I'm going to have to try cranking mine up some and see if our cat, who does not really like me much, will respond?
    haglandc said:
    Cats seem to be able to feel electrical fields when others can't. My cat can feel the electrical field from my SCS and loves to snuggle up against the areas the stimulation is the strongest.

    Glad you were able to have some success with the TENS placement.

  • I think the best place for those pads are up the doc's -----!!! LOL ;) I hope the TENS works for ya, I really do. For my I have to turn it up so high the spasms it causes aren't worth it. Sorta like if your left toe hurts stub your right one, then the left doesn't hurt so bad. lol
Sign In or Register to comment.