Bone stimulators and TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) units are two devices that use electricity to heal the body or relieve pain. They are used in distinctly differently medical circumstances.

The Facts

According to Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota, bone growth stimulators heal broken bones with either electrical or ultrasound (sound wave) energy. TENS units use heat generated by electrical current to relieve pain and stiffness and improve mobility.

Bone Stimulator Treatment

During bone stimulator treatment, a patient places an external stimulating device over the site of a bone break, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Treatment time varies from roughly 20 minutes to several hours on any given day.

TENS Treatment

During TENS treatment, electrode patches on the skin carry current from a TENS unit to the site of treatment.

Bone Stimulator Facts

Some forms of bone stimulators require the use of electrode leads inserted through the skin, or the implantation of an entire stimulating device under the skin at the site of injury.

TENS Unit Facts

TENS units achieve their effects by decreasing the body's sensitivity to pain. They may also be used to treat acute pain by delivering steroid drugs through the skin.