The main difference between TENS and EMS units is how and when they’re used. TENS units are typically used to treat pain. The treatment might be conducted in hospitals, physical therapy offices and doctors’ offices, and at-home TENS units are also an option. TENS therapy may be used during chiropractic visits as well.
Chronic or acute pain caused by a variety of conditions might be treated with TENS units. Some common conditions that TENS might be used for include:
- Lower back pain
- Severe menstrual pain
- Some types of headaches
- Pain associated with some chronic conditions
EMS units, on the other hand, are used as a physical therapy and sports rehab tool. The electrodes are attached to specific muscle groups, and the electrical signal is used to create a muscle contraction. This can help build up strength and muscle functionality in an area that’s experienced injury or deconditioning.
An example of EMS use could be for rehabbing a knee after a surgery. The EMS may be used to help jump-start muscle strengthening and growth. If someone had a knee surgery due to long-standing knee pain, it’s likely that the muscle would be deconditioned as well as damaged from the surgery.