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How to use a TENS / EMS Unit for Tennis Elbow & Golfer’s Elbow Pain Relief – Ask Doctor Jo

August 22, 2019


hey everybody it’s doctor Jo, and today
I’m going to show you how to use a TENS / EMS unit for elbow pain like tennis
elbow or golfer’s elbow. so let’s get started. the folks at Healthmate forever sent me
their PRO18AB and their W19, which is the wireless one, so it’s really cool
because if you are putting it on an area your elbow or even your back, your knee,
and you want to go somewhere, it’s nice that you don’t have all that wiring. but
you can use this unit with the wiring ones as well. so I’m going to show you
both for the elbow, but we’ll start off with the wireless one. and so the
wireless like I said is really cool because you can kind of stick it on and
you don’t have a whole bunch of other stuff with you. so these are the little
wireless buttons here, and they go on with specific pads so the pad comes
with it, and the coolest part is you can get two and it will control two. so I’m
just going to show you with the one because they come in sets of one and so
you just kind of snap it on like that and make sure you have everything off
while you’re getting it set up. and then this little piece just connects into the
wireless approved one, so there’s a bunch of different units that have the
wireless, so you can make sure that it has the wireless icon and then you just
plug that in right there, and then they’ll talk to each other. so if you’re
interested in purchasing any of the tens EMS units you can just click on the link
up there. so once you get everything kind of connected in, still don’t turn it on
yet, you’re gonna put it on and then we’ll turn everything on. so I’m going to
show you kind of setup for the tennis elbow, but it would be the same for the
golfer’s elbow or even something like triceps tendonitis if you had something
going on with your elbow there as well. so you can put the electrode or the pad
on a couple different ways. you can wrap it around like this kind of right on
that lateral epicondyle or the medial epicondyle, but I found for me personally,
I liked it a little bit better longer because it not only covers the
epicondyle where all those tendons come in and attach where that irritation is,
but it comes down into the muscle belly a little bit too. so for the tens, you really want to do that because that’s going to help with
that pain. so with the tens, it really is for pain control and to increase
circulation. so tens is different than the EMS. tens is a transcutaneous
electrical nerve stimulation, so it’s just getting those surface nerves. so if
you have a contraction if you see a muscle contraction, like a big
contraction, when you’re doing the tens it’s either on too high, or your
placement isn’t quite right. for a contraction, you want to use the EMS the
electrical muscle stimulation because they are different currents. so even
though you can get a contraction with the tens, you should really use the EMS
if that’s what you’re using because for the tens, you want it to be relaxed and
you want it to be comfortable. you don’t want it to be super painful. and when
you’re trying to get the muscle contraction with the EMS, it’s it’s
pretty uncomfortable and sometimes just a little bit painful. so once you get it
set up, then there’s a little on button here that you’re going to turn on to
turn this piece on, and then you’re going to turn the unit on. and so you can see
here that it has the little red light that’s on, and then the green light came
on saying it was Wireless, and then the blue is on for the channel a. if you want
to do channel B, you just hit the middle button. so if I had to they both could be
on a, and that you just have to use a or if you wanted it maybe stronger here and
less here you could do channel a and then channel B and then increasing
intensity separately for each one. so that’s kind of a nice component as well
because you might want it a little bit stronger on the muscle belly versus
right at the bone joint, so it’s a nice kind of component to be able to do it
that way. so we’re just the same with the TENS / EMS that once you get everything set
up, the top ones here are more for the tens and then there’s some that are lower
down for the EMS, and we’ll talk about that in just a second. so a lot of times
people say well which one should, which setting, which modes should I use? you
know they they give you a lot of choices and some people might tell you this
one’s for this way frequency, you should use this one this way, but honestly I
really think whatever one is most comfortable for you because tens is
supposed to make it feel better. it’s supposed to be comfortable, maybe a
little painful but that good hurt, not just hurt hurt. so I
would go through each mode and just try it a little bit. so with this one you
just hit the M and that changes the mode, and the plus and minus is the intensity,
and the T is just for the timer up top there. so once I get to a different mode
I just start pressing it and even just one I can feel it there, so as you can
look and see there’s no muscle contraction there, and maybe that’s just
not the one I like this one’s just kind of almost like it’s just kind of poking
at me, so I’m just going to move on to the next one, and then you each time you
move it it starts back over with intensity which is nice because then you
don’t end up having it higher on one a minute jumping really high to the next
one. so it kind of starts over with that which is nice. I’m going to go back to
the first one here, and I’m gonna start turning it up a little bit, and so I’m
gonna see if I can get a muscle contraction and just show you what I’m
talking about with the tens because you you can especially if you don’t have a
lot of tissue in that area, but again if you’re using it for tens, it really
shouldn’t be contracting or that muscles shouldn’t be jumping because then you’re
just fatiguing the muscle out. so there we go I don’t know if you can see that a
little bit, but there’s a little bit of a contraction there, and so that’s
definitely too much. so I would just either take it back down again to that
comfort level because that was a little bit painful, or if I needed to
move that electrode pad, I could just a little bit so that’s that’s really cool.
and then if I wanted to do the EMS, I wanted to get that muscle contraction,
the settings here there is the ones for strengthening usually either has a
person doing barbells or actually just barbells here, and so that’s mode ten so
I’m gonna take it to mode ten and just show you really quickly the EMS which is
the electrical muscle stimulation. so for this you you really do want to get it on
the muscle belly. so let’s say I wanted to now work those wrist extensors this
is probably something you want to do later if they’re really irritated. you
don’t want to do this in the beginning, but these extensors come through here, so I might even put it just a little bit
higher where that bulk of that muscle is. and if you pull your wrist up sometimes
you can find that bulk right there and then once you get it nice and set up, I’m
on the electrical muscle stimulation and then again I just start taking it up. so
with this one for the for the muscle stimulation, it is gonna be painful, it’s
gonna be really uncomfortable. so what you want to do is you want to go until
you get a really strong contraction, and see how my hand just came up?
I didn’t actively do that, that was done by the the… and see how it just
dropped down? I’m not doing. that that’s the EMS doing it. so when you get to that
point, it’s working those muscles and it’s it’s a little uncomfortable now.
it’s tolerable, but you really want it to be strong. so I say go as high as you
comfortably can, and then try and click one more to get that extra strengthening
in there. but make sure when you’re using the EMS
especially, but the tens as well, if you have had an injury especially if you’ve
had a surgery, make sure you talk with your healthcare professional, your doctor,
your physical therapist, you know to make sure that it’s okay to use because there
are some injuries, there are some conditions that you might have where you
shouldn’t use a TENS or an EMS unit. so just make sure that you’re using it
appropriately, how you’re supposed to. so now I’m going to show you how to use the
tens with the wired ones. so it’s nice because with the the wired ones you have
two channels, so one channel has two electrodes, and then the two channels
have four electrodes. so what’s really nice about that is let’s say your elbow
pain is the whole elbow. so maybe it’s tennis elbow. maybe it’s golfer’s elbow.
maybe it’s just the whole elbow hurts. so four electrodes would be better because
you can kind of get more area with the four electrodes. so what I would do with
that is when you have four you want each channel to cross. so if I have this first
channel, I want it to be one on this side and one on that side, but I don’t want
them just to be here and then them there because then they’re not going to cross
and get that whole area. so I would just kind of get the whole general area kind
of here and then cross the one up on top maybe over here. and then
same thing that I would take the channel to with the other electrodes and now
cross it the other way. so then I’m getting that cross channel. so it’s
really getting that whole elbow area and the cool thing with ten’s is the
placement doesn’t have to be exact. when you’re doing the EMS, it should be a
little bit more exact because you’re going on the muscle belly, but with the
tens, you’re really just trying to get the general area for the pain. so you can
see here once again these are crossing and then these are crossing here. so when
you turn it back on, you want to go back to the tens settings and that’s usually
those those first ones, and then just start bringing it. and so again you
really shouldn’t be having a contraction in there, and so it should be comfortable
you know a little bit slightly uncomfortable, but not painful. you know
this is to really just kind of get everything nice and relaxed, so that
would be the way you do it. now let’s say you wanted to get a little bit more
specific you know maybe if it was this time the golfer’s elbow, it would still
be the same setup on the outside, but we’re gonna go with the golfer’s elbow
on the inside here. so I’m just going to take one channel off and then use the
other channel, find which one that was, and then use the other one to get that
specific area. so if I wanted to get a little more
specific, let’s say it was hurting right there, so this time if you’re just using
one channel with two electrodes and they’re a little bit closer this will
make it a little bit stronger. so that’s really just going to be a little more
concentrated into that area. so if it’s hurting here, I want that one channel
just to be talking to each of those electrodes back and forth like that. and
then so same thing you just kind of start bringing it up. now you can see
here, see what’s happening? I’m not doing that it’s kind of pulling forward
because I’ve got it just in a little bit of a spot where is picking up that nerve.
so all you have to do is just take take the power back down a little bit, and
just move it a little bit in a different spot. so that was probably just hitting
that ulnar nerve a little bit and getting that going. so then you just move
it and then start over again, and see so now now it’s not doing that, but I’m
feeling that TENS vibration going and that feels pretty good. so that’s how you
do it with one channel versus two, and so you can get the wired if you’re just
kind of sitting around hanging out, and if you want to use the wireless it’s
cool because then you can kind of slap it on, especially if you have you know a
sleeve over it nobody even knows it’s there. it’s in your pocket and you can go
about doing your thing. and again you can put it on your back, you can put it on
your knee, maybe even down at your ankles. so you don’t have the wires coming all
the way up. so it’s really neat to have that Wireless option. so if you’re
interested in purchasing a healthmate forever tens EMS unit, make sure and
click on the link up there. and don’t forget to subscribe by clicking down
there. and remember, be safe, have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.

15 Comments

  • Reply Alex kelly August 6, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Could you make a play list please

  • Reply Shivchandra Rai August 6, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    Natural please

  • Reply MeMe 38 August 6, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your Health technician

  • Reply SAHIL DHIMAN August 7, 2018 at 1:03 am

    Wao it's very useful

  • Reply Rahul Chauhan August 7, 2018 at 9:46 am

  • Reply OgilvyDisciple August 7, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    +AskDoctorJo,
    Thanks for the video series on using the TENS / EMS units. Could you give some advice on the length of time for use on the different areas?

  • Reply Hh Nh August 8, 2018 at 8:19 am

    I'm from Iraq and now I understand more about the writing bar
    ..good job ❤

  • Reply Kevin kevin August 28, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    Is tens needed for all golfers elbow ??? Did get that at my therapy ??

  • Reply Chris Williams September 1, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    Is it ok to use on both sides of the forearm at the same time if you have both tennis and golfers elbow?

  • Reply Gentle Prince September 19, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    hi doc, i have the type HM8GL device to use for my shoulder pain . How can i use it for ems purpose??

  • Reply AskDoctorJo September 29, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Use code DRJO to get 10% OFF a Healthmate Forever TENS/EMS Unit here: http://shrsl.com/171gb (affiliate link). Want more in-depth info about TENS Units and/or EMS Units, including step-by-step color photos for a wide variety of placements all over the body? Buy my book here: https://amzn.to/2GPQvzK

  • Reply janasheenz November 5, 2018 at 1:56 am

    If you have ulnar and medial nerve inflammation and resultant pain, would this treat the condition and make it better, and is there any kind of negative side effects from long term use?

  • Reply Edward Hurlburt February 28, 2019 at 11:50 pm

    I'm confused. You said don't use this unit where it makes your muscles jerk. Then around the 8 Minute mark, you said see how it's contracted my muscle oh, that's what you want. Am I looking for a burning tingle or some sort of twitch. Any time I've ever used this for a muscle I always crank it up as high as I can possibly tolerate it. I hope this isn't wrong LOL but it sounds like it is

  • Reply julie kane August 4, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    My physical therapist put their pads connected to the machine right next to each other , I usually use the one channel on my tens unit but I place them from instruction from my PT . What about placement at the wrist? Thanks Dr Jo

  • Reply Jim Cunningham August 6, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    Thanks for the great information on using a TENS unit and for all your other PT advice. I also watched your video on untrasound therapy. I have a home ultrasound unit as well. Would I get additional benefit for my tendonitis by using each several times a day?

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