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Epilepsy Research UK
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Provoked fit

I recently tried a tens machine whilst in America and had a provoked fit. The whole episode was very scary. I'm wondering does this now make me prone to another fit or not and was it simply caused by the Tens machine. The pads were placed either side of the base of my neck and i was wondered if it could have been the placement of the pads. So far I have taken no further action as it seems that it was likely the Tens machine but why would this have happened to me as my husband also tried it. Thanks for any advice.

7 Replies

I don’t know the answer to your question, but I used a tens machine in labour and found it fine, even though my epilepsy was quite bad around that time. I do think the ones used in labour are not as powerful though. Also, of course, the placement is on the lower back rather than the shoulders.


Thank you for your reply. I'm presuming it was the placement of the pads.


Hi Destiny1972,

I have used a tens machine in the past for knee pain and lower back pain but it was clearly stated in the instructions that it should not be used with epilepsy without proper medical advice first and during physio sessions with neck and shoulder pain the therapist totally refused use of ten especially that close to the brain.

I dont know on which part of the body you were using the tens machine but would seriously suggest getting proper full medical advice, preferably with a medical practitioner with a good knowledge of epilepsy before using tens on any part of your body.

I wouls say it shows that proper reading of instructions with any medicine or medical device is essential for anyone with epilepsy.

Kind regards



Thanks for your reply. I went into a store and the shop assistant trialled it on me and placed the pads on the base of my neck. It was not something I had bought and tried at home. My husband had tried it first and i think was interested in buying one so wanted me to try it with an awful result. It was in America on my recent holiday and the store assistant did a runner and left us, fortunately a friendly American called paramedics, I chose not to go to hospital as it was the first day of my holiday. I have not been to my GP as I'm presuming this machine caused the fit. We later returned to the mall and the shop was closed fortunately. I just wondered if anyone else had an experience like this?


Ps I have never had a fit or diagnosis of epilepsy. Thanks for your comments


Even without a history of epilepsy or fits I think use of a tens machine that close to the brain would be inadvisable, it would depend on the type and power of the machine but from memory I am fairly cerrtain the instuctions that came withthe device that I used to use prior to to developing epilepsy (caused by a brain lesion/tumour) actually advised not to use on the neck or face.

Not being a doctor, neurologist or epeleptologist I can't obviously give a definitive answer as to if the machine caused the seizure or not however I would certainly ask for advice from a doctor of possible cause of seizure because even if not caused by machine there may be an underlying reason for your fit.

Best regards



Thank you. I really appreciate you are taking the time to reply 😊


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