Over centuries, and especially over the last few decades, electrotherapy has become a safe and trustworthy tool for pain relief, recovery, and more. Today, thanks to accessible and affordable over-the-counter (OTC) products like those by iReliev, it’s very easy to bring the benefits of electrotherapy straight into the home. The OTC products from iReliev are FDA Cleared and user-friendly. For instance, each iReliev TENS or TEN + EMS unit comes with a variety of preset programs. These settings allow users to explore different levels of intensity and treatment patterns. However, there’s one other thing that users can explore to hone in on that perfect treatment, and that’s pad placement. One can experiment with how they arrange their electrode pads on their own to maximize their pain relief and muscle strengthening, conditioning, and recovery.
Optimal Electrode Pad Placement
To optimize the best pad placement, we have compiled our best suggestions for effective pad placement and tips to help ensure that you can benefit from TENS and EMS therapy.
Locate Your Area of Pain
First, please determine exactly where your pain is located. Sometimes pain radiates outwards, but for a more effective treatment, you’ll want to find the most concentrated and tender source of pain and place the pads around this area.
Distance Between Electrode Pads
The distance pads are placed can vary from person to person. Electrode pads should never touch and should be at least 1 inch apart.
Placement of Electrode Pads
If you have a dual channel TENS Unit, that means you will have the ability to have 2 small or 1 large electrode pads per channel with the ability to place up to 4 small or 2 large electrode pads. This is particularly helpful if you need to cover a larger area of pain, such as the back or quads. We don’t advise placing electrode pads directly over a joint such as the knee, spine, elbow, or ankle. The movements of the joint can alter the adherence of the pad.
For more specific placement of your electrode pads, check out our Electrode Pad Placement Guide.
Direction of Electrode Pads
The direction of pad placement will vary from person to person. Effective pad placement might occur for you in one of three directions: vertical, horizontal or diagonal. If your pain is wide, you’ll most likely benefit from using more pads and possibly a diagonal placement. For example, if you’re feeling pain between your shoulders but below the neck, try arranging two pads vertically to the left and two pads to the right side of your spine. If your pain extends out even further above or below the shoulder area, the pads can be angled to encompass the region of discomfort.
Special Tips & Tricks for Electrode Pad Placement
One secret to effective pad placement is that you can alter the flow of the electrical sensation by changing the distance and/or the direction of the electrode pads. Experiment safely and cautiously with how much space you create between the pads but keep in mind that as the distance between them increases, the effectiveness decreases.
When the pain extends across a significant distance of your body (e.g. low back to just above the back of the knee), try placing two of the pads vertically, one at the top of the pain, and one at the bottom. If your pain is focused over a smaller area (e.g. calf pain), place your electrode pads opposite of one another on each side of the pain.
Hopefully these guidelines will assist you in finding the perfect and most effective pad placement for you. Add a little creativity to these tips and you’re sure to find that TENS + EMS treatment can provide relief for you in more ways than one!
If you are interested in the best way to buy electrodes for as little as $1, consider the Dollar Electrode Club.