Prescription Strength TENS

Prescription strength TENS refers to devices with high output power to stimulate nerves and produce pain relief. Output power is the product of output voltage and output current, the two most important technical specifications of a TENS device. Younger, thinner and healthier people require less power than those who are older, overweight and have multiple medical conditions.

Physicians often prescribe TENS for patients that are older and who have medical conditions that require higher stimulation intensity. These devices must address the needs of a variety of individuals. This can typically be achieved with an output voltage of 100 volts and an output current of 100 milliamps, or equivalently an output power of 5 milliwatts.  Another advantage of prescription strength TENS devices is that the stimulation can penetrate deeper to activate more nerves which may lead to greater pain relief.

Most over-the-counter (OTC) TENS devices use basic electronic circuits with limited power. Prescription strength TENS devices are capable of generating two to five times more power than typical OTC devices.

Quell has the highest stimulation power among leading prescription and OTC TENS devices.  See the table below for a comparison.

TENS DevicePower* (milliwatts)Reference
Quell 2.07Specifications
Quell (original)5K152954
Prescription5K111279
OTC #12.4K183215
OTC #21.8K091757
OTC #31.3K172079

*Power calculated from maximum output voltage over 2000 ohm resistive load (P = V2/R).  Data taken from 510(k) or manufacturers user manual.