What Is The Best TENS Unit For Back Pain?

What Is The Best TENS Unit For Back PainOne of the main reasons why people start to look for a TENS unit is because they suffer from some type of physical pain. Back pain is probably the most common form of pain there is, and lower back pain accounts for many days of sick leave by the average American worker. It makes sense for people to ask the question “What is the best TENS unit for back pain?”

First, let us define what is a TENS Unit Device and why it is different compared to other therapeutic devices which use the application of pulsed electrical signals to stimulate some type of medical benefit. Some people might think that a TENS unit is the same as a Electrical Muscle Stimulator but they are not exactly the same thing.

EMS Machine – The purpose of a EMS Machine is to send the electrical signal past the skin where the electrode is being applied at and stimulate the nerves in the muscle groups using a pulse to get the muscles to contract or release tension. This means that when you see something like the FlexTone Abdominal Muscle Toning Belt, the device is using the EMS technology.

TENS Unit – The purpose of a TENS unit is to send the pulsing electrical current to the nerves to get them to block out pain signals that have been originating from that area from ever reaching the brain. The TENS device is used to block out pain. I personally don’t think we need to give an example on what is a TENS unit since most of the product we review on this website are in some way a tens unit.

Many types of electrotherapy device or therapeutic massagers are sold and rebranded as a type of TENS unit or a EMS and TENS Combo unit. The PL-009 from Prospera is the perfect example. You can use it to relief muscles which have become cramped and led to discomfort or use it to remove pain by stimulating the nerves

I have reviewed dozens of electronic pulse massagers and TENS units, which have been relabeled electrotherapy devices, therapeutic massagers, and acupuncture machines. Some of them have consistently had problems and break apart after just a few weeks of usage. Others work really well and last a long time.

When it comes to finding out which is the best TENS unit, I always say that it really depends. What does it depend on? It depends on what type of applications do you want to use it for?

Is it for muscles aches, sports rehabilitation, pain relief, or healing of injuries? If the TENS unit is going to be used for back pain, I have four main recommendations, which are listed from the cheapest all the way to the most expensive. I chose three because all of them have had mostly good things said about them. They are…


1. The PM3030 by Omron – Price: $34 w/ Free Shipping

Omron PM3030 Electrotherapy DeviceQuick Summary: Out of all the pain relief devices that are sold on the market, the general consensus has been that the PM3030 Electrotherapy Device sold by Omron has been the best TENS unit for treating not just back pain, but for pain relief in general. Currently it has over hundreds of people who had said that this device which has very few options and controls is really good. From the product specifications we see that there is just 5 intensity modes to move in, you have a button which tells you which massage mode you are in…. Read the full review here or Check out the device here


2. The PL-009 by Prospera – Price: $35 w/ Free Shipping

Prospera Electronic Pulse MassagerQuick Summary: The PL-009 TENS unit has 6 pre-progammed massage modes which focus on each specific muscle area of the body. There is 3 massage types that it is programed to do which are to knead, beat, and massager. You can change either the pulsing electrial signal’s frequency or the intensity level. The device is light and has been consistently reviewed and rate to be among the best in marekt for many years. It runs on 4 AAA batteries which are rechargeable…Read the full review here or Check out the device here


3. The XFT-320A  – Price: $25 w/ Free Shipping

XFT-320A-Massager-300x300Quick Summary: The XFT-320A has been one of those really strange electrotherapy devices or TENS units which have a lot of reviews but don’t seem to be as high quality as many other types around. When I compared the XFT-320A vs. PM3030 vs the XFT-502 by looking at the number of features and controls you have, this one had the most. It has 4 pre-programmed massage modes for different body parts and 4 massage styles like acupuncture, kneading, tapping, and rubbing… Read the full review here or Check out the device here


4. The TENS 7000 Pain Relief Device – Price: $50

TENS 7000Quick Summary: The TENS 7000 which is sold on the Overstock website has been one of the most versatile TENS units I’ve seen so far, if not among the top 3 best TENS units. The number of features it has and what it allows you to do is unlike any other models of TENS units I’ve seen. There is 5 main modes you can choose from. You can adjust the pulse width, the pulse amplitude, and the pulse frequency. It is a dual channel device which means that…. Read the full review here or Check out the device here


So if I was forced to choose one of the 4 devices, which one would I actually choose?

Overall Conclusion: Even though the Omron PM3030 seems to be ranked so well on Google for the term pain relief device or best pain relief device I don’t think it is that good. The amount of features it does have is extremely limited. There is just three massage modes and 5 intensity levels. You can’t even change the pulsing frequency, and definitely not the pulsing width. The same can be said for the XFT-320A which is slightly better with 4 massage modes and 4 massage types. The device is small but is not very easy to hold so it is not ergonomically designed for easy handling.

I really can’t make a choice on which TENS unit for back pain is the best. I would give the reader the choice between either the PL-009 or the TENS 7000, both of which have had several hundred reviews all saying that the device is extremely useful in treating back pain, but more specifically lower back pain in the lumbar area. The TENS units seem to be really good for herniated discs, sciatica, and muscle spams.

In terms of price, the PL-009 is slightly cheaper usually around $35 while the TENS 7000 is around $50 sold on Overstock.com. However, the TENS 7000 has quite a few more features than the PL-009. Only the company which makes the TENS 7000 and the TENS 3000 have been able to also allow the user of the TENS device be able to also adjust the pulse width, which is measured in microseconds. This is a bonus feature that no other pulse massagers sold currently have.

Both of the devices are almost equally good with their own unique features which sets them apart from almost all the other types out there currently. They work extremely well.

Buy the Prospera PL-009 – (Price: $35) or Buy the TENS 7000 – (Price: $50)

(or check out the XFT-320A or PM3030)


To see a real TENS device being applied and used on a muscle group to relieve pain watch the video below.