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Pain Relief Using TENS And Heat

Are you someone who finds physical comfort with heat? Perhaps you relish the prospect of slipping into a hot bath after a long day at work, even if it’s not winter, or you reach for something hot to apply to sore muscles after a workout. If this is you there are science-backed reasons why heat feels so good, and if you’re also a fan of drug-free pain relief and TENS machines you can combine both therapies with PainPod Heat.

The history of heat therapy (1) can be traced back to ancient civilisations, with the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans using heat to treat a lineup of ailments. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that using heat as therapy began to be studied scientifically. Today we know that it is effective for pain relief and as healing help for many types of muscle injuries. It’s also used in physiotherapy to treat issues from arthritis to rehabilitation, and it’s a great way to provide immediate relief from sore, tight and stiff muscles and joints. 

Heat therapy (1) improves circulation and blood flow to an afflicted part of the body. By increasing the temperature of an area, even by just a little, stiff joints are loosened, flexibility improves, achy muscles are relieved and relaxed, and damaged tissue is encouraged to heal. Improving circulation can also assist with flushing out a buildup of lactic acid in muscles, a common cause of post-exercise soreness, and heat helps to calm irritated nerves making it a “feel good treatment that’s psychologically reassuring.

As a result heat therapy (1) can be effective in helping to treat a wide range of problems including chronic muscle pain, sore joints caused by arthritis or osteoarthritis, injuries such as strains and sprains, and overuse injuries like tendonitis. Heat therapy (1) can also offer pain relief for spasms in the neck and back that can occur from injuries, and it can help to reduce spasms in the neck that can lead to headaches. As a bonus, it can also warm up stiff muscles and tissue before exercise or activity.

Along with heat, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) is also a non-invasive treatment that offers drug-free pain relief (2). It works by flooding the nervous system with gentle electrical impulses that interfere with, and block, pain signals from travelling to the brain, and stimulate the body to produce natural pain relievers called endorphins (2).

While TENS and heat therapy (1) are known to help relieve pain independently, clinical studies have shown that when combined they are even more effective (4, 5, 6,7). So why not combine both in a single device? PainPod Heat is the world's first FDA-cleared, medical-grade TENS device patented with heat to help relieve muscle pain, arthritis pain and chronic pain. 

Besides offering drug-free pain relief, and being fully portable thanks to its compact size and rechargeable battery, the device has eight scientifically developed therapy modes, 20 intensity settings and two heat settings. Like all PainPod and Hidow machines, PainPod Heat also comes with electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) technology that has additional functions from strengthening the muscles to improving joint pain and swelling (7), and you can use the TENS, EMS and Heat settings in isolation or combined to help treat a variety of ailments.



  1. Kurkovic B, Vitulic V, Babic-Naglic D, Durrigi T. The influence of heat and cold on the pain threshold in rheumatoid arthritis. Z Rheumatol 1993; 52: 289-291. 
  1. Vance, et al. Using TENS for pain control: the state of the evidence. Pain Management. 3: 197-209, 2014
  1. The effects of Electrotherapy, Heat, and Cold and their combinations on back and neck pain; Elon Eisenberg MD, Victor Shebshacvich, MD Pain Relief Unit Rambam Medical Center
  1. Does transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) simultaneously combined with local heat and cold applications enhance pain relief compared with TENS alone in patients with knee osteoarthritis? Takaya Maeda, RPT, MS1, 2)*, Hideki Yoshida, RPT, PhD2), Tomoyuki Sasaki, MD, PhD1), Atsushi Oda, RPT, PhD2) J. Phys. Ther. Sci. 29: 1860–1864, 2017Additional References
  1. Carroll D, Moore RA, McQuay HJ, Fairman F, Tramer M, Leijon G. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for chronic pain (Cochrane Review) Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2001;3:CD003222 
  1. Solomon J, Shebshacvich v, Adler R, Vulfsons S, Rosenbach A, Eisenberg E. The effects of TENS, heat, and cold on the thresholds of algosity and unpleasantness induced by mechanical pressure in healthy volunteers (Neuromodulation, Volume 6, 2003; 102-107). 
  1. Kwon, DR. et al. Short-term micro-current electrical neuromuscular stimulation to improve muscle function in the elderly: A randomised, double-blinded, sham-controlled clinical trial. Medicine. 96:26, 2017