The human back

Your back has many interconnecting structures including bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. The main support structure is the spine, plus the bones of the sacrum and coccyx. Between the vertebrae are discs that act as shock-absorbers and allow your spine to bend. Your spinal cord threads down through the central canal of each vertebra.

Lumbar spine

The lumbar spine is built for power and flexibility.

The five vertebrae of the lumbar spine (L1-L5) support the weight of the entire torso. The lowest two spinal segments, L4-L5 and L5-S1, bear the most weight and are therefore the most prone to degradation and injury. The lumbo-sacral joint (L5-S1) allows for considerable rotation, so that the pelvis and hips may swing when running and walking.

Thoracic spine

The thoracic spine is built for stability.

It is made up of twelve vertebrae, labeled T1-T12, joining the cervical spine and extending down about five inches past the bottom of the shoulder blades, where it connects with the lumbar spine. Stability plays an important role in holding the body upright and providing protection for the vital organs in the chest.


The sacrum is built for protection of the organs of the pelvic cavity.

It is at the bottom of the spine between the fifth lumbar segment and the coccyx. The sacrum is a triangular-shaped bone, consisting of five segments (S1 - S5) fused together plus a series of four openings on each side through which the sacral nerves and blood vessels run.

Using TENS therapy for back pain

After a diagnosis of chronic or degenerative back pain, your pain management plan will include several methods of pain relief and should offer drug-free options.

ActivBody is the TENS machine we suggest for chronic back pain

ActivBody electrotherapy can be used everyday - outside the clinic - for drug-free, on-demand pain relief, relaxation and circulation; plus it will help keep your spine less stiff.

How to use ActivBody for back pain

ActivBody effectiveness


We conducted a survey of 748 customers with low back pain. Only 2% of them did not achieve satisfactory pain relief using our TENS machine.

User Guide

Please read the User Guide that comes with your TENS machine.

Pad placements - back pain

The objective is to place the pads either side of the spot where your back pain is at its worst. The signal passes from one electrode to the other, therefore passing right across the spinal column. You can place the pads further apart if that is more comfortable for you.

These are examples only. Please phone us if you need further advice.


Mode, Intensity, Time and Repeat frequency - back

Please click the image for more information.