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Pain relief without the pills!
TENS Pain Relief Unit
Member Name: liz.wallbridge
TENS Pain Relief Unit
Date: 20/02/03, updated on 24/02/03 (3868 review reads)
Advantages: You can cut out the painkillers, Is portable, so can be worn anywhere, Has various settings, so can alternate according to pain
Disadvantages: Got a rash from wearing, so do not wear electrodes when not in use
I was unfortunate enough to be involved in 3 car crashes in the last 5 years (none of them my fault), suffering whiplash on each occasion. The last 2 were a year apart, so I had not recovered from one before having another! After much physiotherapy, I was loaned a Tens Pain Relief unit by my physiotherapist, to see if it would be effective, before perhaps purchasing one myself. Prior to having the Tens machine, I was on painkillers and anti-inflammatories, but they unfortunately did not touch the pain, and after the amount of tablets I have had to take over the last few years for this, I was reluctant to keep pumping drugs into my system, as they were becoming less effective.
The Tens unit works by attaching electrodes to the areas of pain, you can use 2 or 4, and it recommends you attach them either side of the site of pain, rather than right on it. It sends an electrical impulse into the muscle, which is very good if it is in spasm. The only thing you have to be careful of, especially when attaching on your shoulders & neck, is that if you put them on a pressure point on the muscle, you find that your arms or shoulders jump up and down with the pulse - which can be very funny for onlookers! There are various settings depending on which model you use, but all generally have a setting for immediate pain (a constant 'buzz'), which they say takes about 30 mins to relieve pain, but I found a relief started almost straight away, and a more long term setting (pulse). I checked with my doctor when I started using this, to make sure there were no side effects from long term use, and you cannot overdo it in a day, so it is a great benefit to be able to turn it on and off all day as you see fit. This particular model has 9 pre-set settings, ranging from a constant 'tingle', a pulse, and even an 'up and down' pulse. It also has 2 manual settings, so is very comprehensive. It is available in Boots, and you can also get replacement electrodes there.
You must read the booklet before use, as people with heart problems have to consult a doctor before use. It also warns that you must not attach on your chest (over your heart) or on your throat.
I found the Tens unit to be wonderful - for the first time ever, I was not having to take any of the tablets to deal with the pain - just used the Tens unit during the day, and a heat pad in the evening. One of the problems I have had in the past is not being able to use anything apart from tablets whilst at work - I work in an office, and do not have access to a microwave or anything to be able to use hot/cold pad on my neck and shoulders. Therefore, the benefit of having this portable unit, which just clips to your waistband, or can sit in your jacket pocket was wonderful. Also, finding this review site has been very helpful to me, as it seems no-one has had a bad word to say about them.
The only disadvantage I have had over the last few days is a rash over my neck and shoulders, whereever the electrodes were used, which only came up after I had been using it for 3 weeks, and came up in one day! I have not found any other reviews which mention this, but would be very interested to see if anyone else has had such an experience, or is it just me! My physiotherapist was also quite surprised that I would have such a reaction so long after starting to use it as I have not changed anything - length of time used etc.
All in all, I think this unit is a blessing in disguise for anyone who needs help with their pain, but doesn't want to become reliant on using tablets to cope.
I just thought I would add this footnote - regarding the rash I mention above, I have now consulted my doctor who said it was probably a mild inflammation which is quite common, which just got infected with bacteria. I was given some cream for it, and after discontinuing use of the Tens machine for a few days, it has almost gone now. It seems that it was from wearing the Tens el
ectrodes all day - I was wearing it to work and switching it on and off throughout the day. I have now purchased my own unit, as the one I had before was just on loan, and from reading the booklet, it looks like although I wasn't overdoing the use of the unit, by wearing the electrodes when I was not using it, I was not giving my skin a fair chance to 'breathe'. Therefore, make sure when you are not using it, you take the electrodes off, and also vary whereabouts you do use it, to give your skin a chance.
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