Product Type: Lloyds health products
Newest Review: ... words not mine!), people with inflammation, acute diseases or infectious skin wounds should avoid these and oddly it says it isn't suitabl... more
Ineffective for me
Lloydspharmacy Dual Channel TENS Machine
Member Name: Tracy_1127
Lloydspharmacy Dual Channel TENS Machine
Advantages: cheap, easy to use
Disadvantages: didn't help, pads itch, programs sting
TENS means Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation which translates to electrical stimulation delivered through the skin. TENS machines work by blocking some of the pain signals that are sent via the spinal cord to the brain so the brain perceives less pain. They are recommended by doctors and physiotherapists and work well for some people but not so well for others. It doesn't matter if the pain is somewhere else on the body, the pain signals are still sent through the nerves of the spinal cord but that doesn't mean you have to place the pads on your back, you place one each side of the painful area you are treating.
This particular TENS machine has 4 pads, they are attached to 2 wires so each pair of pads are controlled by one side of the machine. There are 8 mode settings and the screen is a large easy to read LCD screen. The actual machine is about 5 inches by 3 inches at the widest part so it isn't particularly small, it has a clip you can use to attach it to your clothes so you can walk about whilst wearing it. The wires are a good metre long each so it shouldn't be a problem getting them to reach areas of the body but if you wanted to do your upper back at the same time as say your lower legs you might struggle.
Some warnings before you buy one of these: people with pacemakers, pulse regulators or any other implanted medical device cannot use TENS machines, people with heart rhythm problems cannot use TENS, people with cancer, diabetes or epilepsy should consult their GP first, the use of the machine must be supervised by an adult of sound mind (their words not mine!), people with inflammation, acute diseases or infectious skin wounds should avoid these and oddly it says it isn't suitable during pregnancy or labour which surprised me as they used to bang on about how helpful TENS machines were for labour pains. Children under 16 cannot use this machine and you should consult your doctor if you have any acute diseases, heart diseases, a fever, abnormal blood pressure, skin conditions or any areas of the body with a loss of feeling. It really makes the machine sound lethal doesn't it?
Some other advice is not to use the pads on wet skin or anywhere you have applied ointments or creams etc, do not place the pads on the head, face, neck, throat, heart, chest, eyes, oral cavity or sexual organs. Do not use on scarred areas following surgery for at least 10 months, do not use on stomach muscles within 90 minutes of eating and people with chronic alcoholism should not use the machine.
The unit must be turned off while you position pads and if you move them it has to be off for this too. It should be kept away from humid areas like bathrooms, shouldn't be used while driving or operating machinery, shouldn't be used while sleeping, the gel pads should be kept away from metal and the cables should not be inserted into anything else except the TENS machine. If you attempt to repair it yourself it invalidates the warranty. The warranty is for one year by the way.
So after all those dire warnings I decided I wasn't in a high risk group and had no intentions of placing the pads in my oral cavity or anywhere else equally bizarre so I got to looking at the modes available. The 8 modes are as follows: tapping slow, tapping fast, vibrating slow, vibrating medium, vibrating fast, kneading slow, kneading fast 1, kneading fast 2. Each program has a different symbol and the number of bars near it indicate how fast it is. I can't remember the symbols even a month later so just remembered which ones I liked.
The machine also has an intensity setting which goes from 1 to 8 and this makes the electrical impulses stronger. The machine takes 4 triple A batteries which are not included but do last a long time.
So onto using the machine. Each set of pads is controlled by one side of the machine, these are side A and side B. The pads are really sticky and come with a plastic backing to put back on them after use to keep them sticky. If they lose their stickiness a wipe with a damp cloth (remember to have the machine off while doing this) will improve this but if not replacement pads can be bought.
Peeling the backing off the pads is easy but each pad has repeated warnings not to pull the wire as it may come out of the pad so you have to hold the corner of the pads away from the wire. The pads feel awful actually, really jelly like and sticky but they do stay put once you apply them to the skin. Putting them on is a bit of a phaff because you can't put them directly on the spine so you have to feel where to put them if you use them on your back and work out where the wires will be so they don't get tangled but once on you set the machine.
This machine has a set time of 15 minutes and you can't alter that, you can repeat programs over and over if you want to but after 15 minutes it will stop. 15 minutes a day is fine for mild pain but not enough for me and I used mine for an hour each day. To set one side you choose either A or B buttons and then press the "mode" button where you choose the program by using the arrow keys to flick through them. Once that's done you press the "Int" button which is intensity and use the arrow keys to increase or decrease it. Once you press the intensity button the machine starts on that side so then you have to repeat all that for the other set of pads. That means initially while you get used to it one side will start and finish quite a long time before the other side but once you get used to it you can have them working with only seconds apart. I didn't really like the space between the two sets of pads until I got used to setting it and could then start them within seconds of each other.
That's it, machine set for the next 15 minutes so all you have to do is let it work. Due to the amount of pain I've been in for many years my nervous system is very sensitive and even light touch is painful for me so I have to stick to a low intensity or it's agony. Everyone will differ with what intensity they can use however. Some of the programs are fine for me but the tapping one is very painful and I avoid that one.
The sensation for me is like being stabbed with needles, especially on the first 15 minutes but as I reset it over and over it drops down to just a stinging sensation. I didn't expect that, I actually didn't really expect to feel much at all through the pads. I also find the gel pads make me itch after a short period of time so I think my skin is reacting to them a bit too.
I lay down while I use the TENS machine but you can attach it to your clothes and walk around. Don't think you can wear this discreetly though because there's wires everywhere so it isn't the best choice for one to go to work in. I found for the first couple of times I used it it did seem to decrease some of the pain I felt afterwards but not for very long. Unfortunately after that initial success it seemed to stop working and made no difference to my pain whatsoever so I was using it for an hour each day with no gains. I eventually gave up because the stinging and itching weren't pleasant and I got nothing from the machine so it's been packed in its box for weeks now and I never even think about using it.
For me it was a waste of time and money and didn't help me so it's back to the painkillers for me but I do know some people get pain relief from TENS machines. Whether it's the particular machine I bought (I doubt it) or just my messed up nervous system I don't know but for me it was a pointless exercise. For mild pain it may well help so it's still a low enough price to buy if you only have mild pain and want to avoid painkillers.
A low 2 stars from me, the price is good and it may work for some people but it doesn't for me. The pads make me itch and the programs range from stinging to excruciating so it wasn't a good buy for me. However if you know a TENS machine will work for you this one is very cheap and easy to use.
Summary: Not recommended for anything more than mild pain
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