Why a TENS Unit Can Be Great for Zapping Sciatica Pain

Is a TENS unit good for sciatica?

Research has shown that TENS units can relieve sciatic pain.

It’s a widely available option for natural pain management with little or no side effects.

In fact, the devices are recommended by medical professionals to treat both acute and chronic pain.

Though not effective for everyone, they can be powerful for treating the symptoms (though not the root cause).

So let’s take a look at the research when it comes to sciatica:

A 2015 study, published in the International Journal of Current Research and Review, compared TENS with the traditional heat treatment Kati Basti for the treatment of sciatica.

After just two weeks, significant pain reductions, and improvements in the Straight Leg Raise Test, were observed in both the TENS and Kati Basti groups.

However the Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) group saw greater improvements than the Kati Basti group.

Online forum users, desperate for solutions for sciatica pain, have also provided their own anecdotal feedback:

What I have found helps loads is the tens machine I use this for about an hour before bedtime and it helps me get a sleep of sorts.

Correct electrode placement is key to getting the most from the therapy.

Physical therapist and health influencer, Doctor Jo, explains why:

It’s important to know where the sciatic nerve pain is originating from for the best treatment.

When the sciatic nerve is pressed, you might feel pain, numbness, tingling, shooting, or sharp pain. The nerve can get compressed at the spine or at the piriformis muscle.

When it’s getting compressed at the spine, it can be from a herniated disc, stenosis, bone spurs, or degeneration. Once you know where the pain is originating from it is easier to target treatment areas.

Once you have the pads in the right spot, Doctor Jo describes how your recovery can begin:

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) can be a good way to help relieve sciatic pain so stretches and exercises can be done that are needed to help the healing process.

Easing sciatica is just one of the many TENS unit benefits.

Regular use of low-frequency transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation can be powerful for menstrual cramps, offer back pain relief and help those suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Use of such a tool also provides you with control over your own treatment and allows you to treat when and where you need to both quickly and easily. Plus TENS machines are available to buy online and at your local pharmacy.

Yet despite being widely accessible you should still speak with your doctor before starting to use a device.

There are a number of different groups who should avoid the therapy, such as those with pacemakers.

Plus there are those that should take extra care such as pregnant women, so it’s essential that you seek medical advice before you make a purchase.

Need to find the right tool?

We’ve created a list of the top-rated TENS units on the market right now.

In the our roundup you’ll find a great selection of devices plus a breakdown of the different features.

Laura Smith


Laura Smith

Associate Editorial Manager

Specialist health & wellbeing writer, passionate about discovering new technologies & sharing the latest research.