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Old 08-29-2017, 02:34 AM #1
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Anyone used TENS/EMS devices for chronic spine/nerve pain?

Just ordered a combination TENS/EMS device for spine, joint and other pains.

Cervical damage has my right hand partly numb for the last several months, and undetermined damage to thoracic spine provides accents to life that come and go.

Doc said he'd "have to turn (my) lower back/lumbar into a solid piece of pipe if he considered fusion there," meaning I'm not a candidate for fusion in my lumbar, but I am in my cervical..

Ran into a booth at the Fair that was marketing the devices referenced above, and gave one a test drive for a bit. Seemed to work, but then anecdotal experiences can be quite subjective, too.

Wondering if others have used these things, to what end results, which brands, pointers, etc.?
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Old 08-29-2017, 07:31 AM #2
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I have a small (but powerful) unit that I bought at a home show years ago. Paid stupid money for it, I think they are under $50 now if you know where to look online.

Also used a large commercial unit numerous times at a chiropractors office during a course of treatment for lower back pain a couple years ago.

I asked the chiropractor and my physician about their use and they both said that all they do is confuse the nerves and temporarily numb the pain. They do not heal you, but they are useful along with other treatments i.e. chiropractic adjustments, deep tissue massage, etc.

The best use of the commercial units I have experienced was on my lower back after physical therapy and under a cold pack.

So I have found mine useful for pain relief, especially for muscle pains and much less effective for joint/back pains. IME with no other course of treatment, nothing has gotten better from TENS use alone.

Hope this helps you, others may have differing experiences.
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Old 08-29-2017, 08:53 AM #3
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Thanks.

I was here before a couple times before (the first membership was for a lengthy period), but sue to my status as a Newbie, I'm unable to PM or rep.

That said, I looked up an NIH study that stated, fairly unequivocally, that in a long-term study of TENS users, they decreased their intake of pain meds (I rarely use them now, unless I can hardly move), AND also decreased the need for, or frequency of occupational therapy and physical therapy.

My guess is that if there's a real physical benefit to these things, other than scrambling pain signals, then it might be the nerve's ceasing spasms allowing the muscles to stop their part in the spasms, which is the result of the nerve spasms, but which tends to spiral on and on, reciprocally.

Another source referenced decreasing spasticity for persons suffering symptoms from MS.

The limited experience I had with the 'test drive' at the Fair had me believing that I felt somewhat better. Likely due to the issues stated in the paragraph above re. nerve and muscle spasms working hand-in-hand..

I'm looking forward to being able to slap on a couple patches when nerves are going bonkers, and quieting them down a bit.

And yeah, the one I ordered today had a rating of 4.9 out of 5 (fairly stout rating), and, not counting extra patches and gel, it cost $45 with free shipping. At the Fair they wanted $250, but very quickly came down to $150, though I still abstained to see what I could find out about them.

Glad I waited.

Thanks again.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawn Patrol View Post
I have a small (but powerful) unit that I bought at a home show years ago. Paid stupid money for it, I think they are under $50 now if you know where to look online.

Also used a large commercial unit numerous times at a chiropractors office during a course of treatment for lower back pain a couple years ago.

I asked the chiropractor and my physician about their use and they both said that all they do is confuse the nerves and temporarily numb the pain. They do not heal you, but they are useful along with other treatments i.e. chiropractic adjustments, deep tissue massage, etc.

The best use of the commercial units I have experienced was on my lower back after physical therapy and under a cold pack.

So I have found mine useful for pain relief, especially for muscle pains and much less effective for joint/back pains. IME with no other course of treatment, nothing has gotten better from TENS use alone.

Hope this helps you, others may have differing experiences.
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Old 08-29-2017, 04:55 PM #4
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Years ago a Physical therapist used one on my lower back. It was like a godsend even though the relief lasted only until she turned it off. So I went and bought one on-line. It is only a little battery operated jobby but thought it might be enough. As I remember it had a pretty good price tag.

No matter how much I fiddled with it I never got it to work right so just ended up putting it back it it's case a pretty much forgetting about it.

I guess the moral to this is there are plenty of pieces of crap out there and do your homework and read some reviews.
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Old 08-29-2017, 05:02 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moose eater View Post
Just ordered a combination TENS/EMS device for spine, joint and other pains.

Cervical damage has my right hand partly numb for the last several months, and undetermined damage to thoracic spine provides accents to life that come and go.

Doc said he'd "have to turn (my) lower back/lumbar into a solid piece of pipe if he considered fusion there," meaning I'm not a candidate for fusion in my lumbar, but I am in my cervical..

Ran into a booth at the Fair that was marketing the devices referenced above, and gave one a test drive for a bit. Seemed to work, but then anecdotal experiences can be quite subjective, too.

Wondering if others have used these things, to what end results, which brands, pointers, etc.?
I use mine constantly. My problems are not like yours, but my problem is pain nonetheless.

The only thing noteworthy imo is that the pads need to be high quality. If they aren't, you get a stinging sensation instead of the stimulation. You need to have plenty of high quality pads on hand or you don't end up using the tens machine.

My unit is portable. It's a relia-med 350T. It's nothing special, but my chiro has a large in house unit, and I don't notice a difference. So, I have no complaints.
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Old 08-29-2017, 06:54 PM #6
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I used a quell for the 2 month trial, I have nerve pain in my feet, seemed to work at first then I got tired of the thing shocking me for the relief I got. So I sent it back...
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Old 08-29-2017, 08:56 PM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EsterEssence View Post
I used a quell for the 2 month trial, I have nerve pain in my feet, seemed to work at first then I got tired of the thing shocking me for the relief I got. So I sent it back...
If you mean sick of the "vibration" effect, I hear you.

But if the feeling changed, that's the effect from the pads deteriorating. It becomes uncomfortable, like tiny stinging sensations laced intermittently.

Cheap ones can give you that stinging feeling fresh out the box. For it to be a long term thing, it means spending money on pads.
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Old 08-29-2017, 09:30 PM #8
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Thanks. With my internet connectivity being so INCREDIBLY slow, I put literally days into researching models, and came up with the highest ratings by a respectable number of people, even though it had a somewhat shorter warranty period.

My subjective experience of the one they used on me at the Fair was that it seemed to help for a 2-3 hour period after I left there.. But who knows?

Thanks for helping out with info.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dddaver View Post
Years ago a Physical therapist used one on my lower back. It was like a godsend even though the relief lasted only until she turned it off. So I went and bought one on-line. It is only a little battery operated jobby but thought it might be enough. As I remember it had a pretty good price tag.

No matter how much I fiddled with it I never got it to work right so just ended up putting it back it it's case a pretty much forgetting about it.

I guess the moral to this is there are plenty of pieces of crap out there and do your homework and read some reviews.
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Old 08-29-2017, 09:32 PM #9
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Thanks.

I didn't even think to look to see what model(s)/brands they were using in the NIH study I dug up.

Just guessing, they may have been relying on consumers' personal units, or they might have issued something to them for the purpose of the study. Probably worth a look.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Junk View Post
I use mine constantly. My problems are not like yours, but my problem is pain nonetheless.

The only thing noteworthy imo is that the pads need to be high quality. If they aren't, you get a stinging sensation instead of the stimulation. You need to have plenty of high quality pads on hand or you don't end up using the tens machine.

My unit is portable. It's a relia-med 350T. It's nothing special, but my chiro has a large in house unit, and I don't notice a difference. So, I have no complaints.
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Old 08-29-2017, 09:34 PM #10
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Sounds like the stationary bike or treadmill experience for many folks; ours became a hat and coat rack, which had it seeing far more use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EsterEssence View Post
I used a quell for the 2 month trial, I have nerve pain in my feet, seemed to work at first then I got tired of the thing shocking me for the relief I got. So I sent it back...
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