No, a TENS machines shouldn't be a painful sensation – it feels a little like pins and needles, but kind of like they are jumping up and down dancing or rumbling on your back.
TENS machines get a little bit of a bad wrap because of things like 'the TENS machine challenge' on social media where people put them on full power without working up to it and 'shock' their nervous system (𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘤 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘤𝘬). Or because TENS machines can be used to simulate labour pains for people wanting to know what it feels like - but these are different.
If you've ever fallen into the trap of '𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘥𝘢𝘮𝘯 𝘛𝘌𝘕𝘚 𝘮𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘪𝘵 𝘰ff' and then you immediately realised you've screwed up and put it back on with the level you had it on before, your body won't have a chance to get used to it and it won’t be the most comfortable sensation. Whenever using the TENS machine, even if you've already been using it but have taken it off at one point in your labour it's important to start from the lower levels again, though you'll end up powering up a lot quicker and that is okay, because 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗼𝗹 of it. 𝘉𝘛𝘞, 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘱 𝘯𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘴 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 - 𝘴𝘰 𝘸𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘱𝘶𝘴𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘪𝘵 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘪𝘵 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘣𝘦 𝘰𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘦𝘧 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘪𝘧 𝘪𝘵'𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘨𝘰𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯 𝘮𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘱𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘧𝘶𝘭.
There are some people who do say their TENS machine did hurt or they didn't like the feeling. There are know studies to show why there are some people who get that sensation. Though commonly those who feel the sensation is uncomfortable are those who starting using the machine when they were already very well into active labour, this may be because you've already got a lot of uncomfortable/painful feelings and you may have reached the stage where you don't want to be touched, the TENS machine could increase that feeling. If you don't feel like it's doing any harm though you can try to keep it on and see if that changes as you get used to the sensation, it likely will. It's best where possible to pop the TENS machine on as soon as you're in labour.
People think TENS machines work by giving you a different pain to take your mind of the labour pain, but this isn't true.
Share your experience:
What did the TENS machine feel like for you?👇🏻