Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation can help alleviate muscle pain and aid in recovery.
Maybe it's time to add a new tool to your recovery kit.
Chiropractors and professional athletes have long used electrical stimulation of both muscles and nerves to alleviate pain and speed recovery. Electrical muscle stimulators send low electrical signals to activate different muscle groups to help aid circulation; they're often used as an alternative or complement to massage and have become popular recovery products.
Nerve stimulators work on a higher frequency to help "reset" neurons that might be causing painful spasms; they target specific soreness and are often used in medical pain relief therapy.
After testing a Marc Pro Plus dual muscle and nerve stimulator, one of our editors wrote that it works like a recovery ride; the electrodes stimulate your muscles to pump out waste and facilitate muscle recovery. And unlike a recovery ride, which is easy to overdo, you’re not doing anything but sitting there as the unit works. Ultimately, she says her legs felt lighter and fresher and that she "definitely had more spring going up the stairs" after hard rides.
But the Marc Pro is an expensive piece of kit and if you're dealing with stubborn muscle pain and want to try basic electrical nerve stimulation, you can start with a regular TENS unit, such as the Omron HVF021 Therapy Device which costs just $169.
It features 15 different intensity levels, and modes for specific pain in your lower back, shoulders, arms, feet, legs, and joints. It’s small and portable, the pads last for 150 uses, and the preset modes make it easy to get started even if you've never tried electrical stimulation before.