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Thread: anybody use a TENS unit?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    177

    anybody use a TENS unit?

    just got a call that my dr. ordered a TENS unit for me. anybody use one of these post-op, and did it help relieve pain at all?

    my pain level goes up and down, and it seems so does my ability to deal with it. last night i was feeling really down and like this recovery was taking forever, and today I feel happy and my pain isn't as bad.

    i'm just 3 weeks post op, so I know I'm still in the thick of it. overall I am happy with my decision, it just gets tough with the day to day boredom and pain. I am walking 10 minutes every 2 hours during the day, and that really seems to help with the stiff muscles, but sometimes the pain is just horrible. hopefully the TENS unit will help with those times.

    I'm taking oxycodone every 2-4 hours and flexeril every 8 hours. sometimes that doesn't seem like enough to me, but i am so scared of getting hooked, i haven't asked for anything more. i was on a stronger muscle relaxer, but it made me sooo sick i couldn't take it. they switched me to the flexeril which is much more gentle, and seems to work, but it is not quite as strong on the pain.

    anyway, was just curious if anybody else had been prescribed the TENS unit, and if it seemed to help at all.

    OOOOOPs, just found out, it's not a TENS unit, its a BONE STIMULATOR machine. kind of disappointed. Bone stimulators don't help with pain do they? You can see my listening skills are very affected by the drugs lol...

    Thanks!
    Rebecca
    Last edited by peachrush7; 01-18-2011 at 06:42 PM.
    Rebecca
    Age: 28
    Dx w/ scoli @ age 12 S curves T-40* L-42*
    wore night bending brace as teenager
    Curves changed to 50's plus or minus
    herniated disc L2-3, Discectomy October 2007
    fusion L2-3 November 2008
    Revision L2-3 Fusion, Removal of hardware August 2009
    Curves measuring 52 T&L September 2010
    Fused T4-L4, all posterior December 27th 2010
    gained almost two inches in height

    Before and After Exterior
    Before and After X-rays
    My blog: http://herscoliosisjourney.blogspot.com/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,158
    Hi Rebecca,

    I think from the sounds of it you are doing very well. Yes I know the boredom and pain get very frustrating, and you feel ready to feel better. Believe me, each week you will get better.

    I might suggest adding in 1000 mg of Tylenol every 8 hours if your doctor says this is ok. I think this helped me quite a bit believe it or not.

    I made it through the early weeks by trying to have some sort of recovery routine each day--I don't know, get up, help send kids to school, lay down and watch part of a movie, shower and walk, try to eat something, watch something else on TV or nap, get up and go to the swimming pool with hubby for a little water exercise, go home and lay down, lay down and watch a movie in afternoon, etc. Over time I was able to add more activity and started puttering around the house doing light housework (I never thought I'd be happy to be able to do that, but was haha).

    Hang in there and try not to get discouraged. These tough early weeks will pass, and before you know it you will be amazed by how much more you can do. Just be careful not to overdo it!! You will get off the meds when the time comes.

    Take care,

    Gayle
    Gayle, age 50
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1


    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    2010 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    2017 curves stable/skeletely mature

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    177
    thanks for the encouragement Gayle!

    I will take your suggestions, I think you're right. Today I had a great friend come over and watch a movie with me, and even that simple thing made the time go faster. I am going to try and have more people over during the day and not feel bad about watching so much tv. It definitely makes the day go by faster when you watch a few movies. I have been so out of it up until now I wasn't really able to even watch a movie.

    I am going to call my dr. tomorrow to ask about the Tylenol. I know what you mean about not over-doing it. On my good days I get so excited and tend to go up and down our stairs (i have 2 story house) a few too many times, and that leads to my bad days, like last night.

    anyway, I really appreciate your kind encouragement!

    Thanks,
    Rebecca
    Rebecca
    Age: 28
    Dx w/ scoli @ age 12 S curves T-40* L-42*
    wore night bending brace as teenager
    Curves changed to 50's plus or minus
    herniated disc L2-3, Discectomy October 2007
    fusion L2-3 November 2008
    Revision L2-3 Fusion, Removal of hardware August 2009
    Curves measuring 52 T&L September 2010
    Fused T4-L4, all posterior December 27th 2010
    gained almost two inches in height

    Before and After Exterior
    Before and After X-rays
    My blog: http://herscoliosisjourney.blogspot.com/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    91

    Tens...

    Hey Rebecca,

    I have actually used a TENS machine. My husband bought one a few years ago for his own backpain (doesn't have scoliosis). I had a horrible experience with a hair dresser who was so rough with me I was in serious pain for a good three days afterwards (never went back!). I took the TENS Machine on a camping trip since I wasn't going to have access to any heating pads, etc. It worked pretty well! It feels a little funny first, especially on areas that are still numb from nerve damage but I felt like it made a difference.

    I really hope it helps with your recovery pain! Some random ideas on how to pass the time while you're at home & bored: audio books - they're great because you don't have to figure out a way to sit & read & be comfortable, lay down & just listen! Seasons of a show you like on DVD - getting hooked on a show and watching back to back episodes makes time FLY!

    Good luck with everything!
    lisanicolegrace
    29/F/Canada
    Surgery - 11/10/2000
    80 curve to 19 post op.
    www.lisanicolegrace.com
    @lisanicolegrace
    facebook
    x-rays
    picture of my back

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    41
    Hi, I have been searching for a tens unit. I am not sure what I need to look for or what kind. Any suggestions? I d really appreciate it!


    Thanks,

    Amber

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    1,250
    A scoliosis surgeon I see locally who does some follow-up for me, prescribed one for me. Company is called Empi--or maybe that's the model or whatever. I still use it on occasion. I think insurance covered most of it. Janet
    Janet

    61 years old--57 for surgery

    Diagnosed in 1965 at age of 13--no brace
    Thoracic Curve: 96 degrees to 35 degrees
    Lumbar Curve: 63 degrees to 5 degrees
    Surgery with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis--March 30, 2009
    T-2 to Pelvis, and hopefully all posterior procedure.

    All was posterior along with 2 cages and 6 osteotomies.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,158
    Hi,

    I got my TENS unit through physical therapy. The PT office handled getting the prescription through my PCP, and also handled all the insurance. It ended up being billed at about $600, I had to pay around $200, plus 1/3 of the cost of the electrode pads (which can add up). Insurance also pays 2/3 of the pad cost under durable medical equipment.

    I have not tried my TENS post-op (but probably should).
    Gayle, age 50
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1


    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    2010 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    2017 curves stable/skeletely mature

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    791
    I had a Bone stimulator machine and it is not a big deal to wear at all. It helps with the fusion.

    I also have a TENS machine which really does help with the pain. You should speak to your doctor about it because if he orders it your insurance should help pay for it

    Melissa

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Vancouver, Wa
    Posts
    2
    The bone stimulator well help your bones heal. It did wonders for my husband's broken hip, which wouldn't heal for 3 years, and healed in 3 months after using one.

    I do have a TENS unit, which has an IFC frequency (I've been told to use that as it allegedly 'distracts' your pain from the pain signals for longer than the TENS). I had always been skeptical, but it actually works. If you have good insurance coverage, it's worth getting.
    57 Degrees Thoracic, 23 Degrees Lumbar - "Corrected" 09/29/10

    Living life one turn at a time - Vivendo a vida uma curva de cada vez.

    "We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are." -Anais Nin

    http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q...scoli_shot.jpg -Before

    http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q..._post_shot.jpg - After

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    122
    My therapist used a Tens unit on me twice now at my first 2 of 3 therapies since surgery. I am 3 1/2 mos post op. It helped the first time she used it on me while it was ON, but was short lived after it was taken off. The 2nd time, it worked better and helped with pain all afternoon once off. Dies it have to be plugged into an outlet? Could it be used on a plane ride ?
    The Bone stimulator, I have not heard of but would like more information on that if anyone can provide it. How do we know if we would benefit or need that ? I want to heal my bones too .)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    791
    Quote Originally Posted by leannebr View Post
    The Bone stimulator, I have not heard of but would like more information on that if anyone can provide it. How do we know if we would benefit or need that ? I want to heal my bones too .)
    My surgeon gave it to me. It really helped

    Melissa

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    177
    Quote Originally Posted by leannebr View Post
    The Bone stimulator, I have not heard of but would like more information on that if anyone can provide it. How do we know if we would benefit or need that ? I want to heal my bones too .)
    My surgeon said he prescribed the bone stimulator for me because I've already had 3 previous spinal surgeries in 3 years, and he wanted to make sure I healed well from my 4th one in the same area. He said he doesn't always prescribe it for younger patients because they usually heal fast/well on their own. I have just had a LOT of surgery in 4 years, and my poor bones have had to do a lot of work.

    Here's the link to the bone stimulator information for the one I'm using, I'm sure you could ask your dr to prescribe it, but like I said, he said he prescribed it for me because I've had 4 surgeries in 4 years. It needs to be covered by your insurance, it costs around $5,000.00. http://www.bonestimulation.com/spinal/index.html
    Rebecca
    Age: 28
    Dx w/ scoli @ age 12 S curves T-40* L-42*
    wore night bending brace as teenager
    Curves changed to 50's plus or minus
    herniated disc L2-3, Discectomy October 2007
    fusion L2-3 November 2008
    Revision L2-3 Fusion, Removal of hardware August 2009
    Curves measuring 52 T&L September 2010
    Fused T4-L4, all posterior December 27th 2010
    gained almost two inches in height

    Before and After Exterior
    Before and After X-rays
    My blog: http://herscoliosisjourney.blogspot.com/

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