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Does Medicare Cover TENS Units?

Close up of a woman sitting on a bed experiencing back pain
By Daniel Petkevich
Nov 23, 2022

Not typically, but read more to see if you might qualify

For those suffering from chronic back pain, it's likely that you've tried a dozen different treatments. With new technology, there are new opportunities to find relief. TENS therapy is an exciting new method of treatment, but does it receive coverage under Medicare? Generally, no. Medicare only covers TENS units on a case-by-case basis. If you are interested, read more to find out what you need to get Medicare assistance.

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What is a TENS Unit and what does it do?

TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. You may have seen it called the ReBuilder as well. This device is a battery-operated, portable machine that sends electrical signals through electrodes placed on the skin to stimulate nerve fibers. This stimulation can help reduce pain and provide relief from many conditions, including back pain.

How TENS therapy works

The TENS unit works by sending an electrical signal through the electrodes placed on your skin. This signal stimulates nerve fibers, which can reduce pain and help with relaxation. The stimulation creates a tingling sensation that can also help reduce muscle spasms and promote natural healing. The main benefit of using a TENS unit is the potential to alleviate pain. It can also help reduce muscle spasms and promote natural healing. Additionally, it may have psychological benefits such as reducing anxiety or depression.

Candidates for TENS therapy

TENS therapy is usually recommended for people with chronic pain, such as back pain. However, it can also be used to treat injuries from sports or accidents, arthritis, and many other conditions. TENS therapy may be a good option if your pain is lingering despite trying other forms of treatment such as medication or physical therapy. It's important to talk with your doctor before trying any kind of treatment to ensure it is right for you.

How can Medicare cover your TENS unit?

Medicare does not typically cover TENS units as they are considered a form of alternative therapy. However, in some cases, Medicare may provide coverage for the device. If you have severe chronic pain that is not responding to other treatments, your doctor can submit a request to Medicare for coverage. This request must include documentation of your medical condition and a prescription for the TENS unit. You may receive coverage if your doctor deems it medically necessary.

Alternatives to Medicare coverage for TENS units

If Medicare does not cover your TENS unit, there are other options for coverage. Some Medicare Advantage plans might offer coverage for the device and its associated costs. Talk with your plan provider to see what extra benefits your plan has. You can also consider purchasing a used TENS unit from a reputable seller or renting one on a monthly basis.


In conclusion, Medicare generally does not cover TENS units, but there are some cases in which they may cover the device. If Medicare does not provide coverage, there are potentially Medicare Advantage plans and other options that can help you access a TENS unit for your chronic pain.
Be sure to consult with your doctor about any questions or concerns related to using a TENS unit before you begin treatment. This content is for informational purposes only. And if you have any Medicare questions, call an expert at Fair Square Medicare today.

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