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Thread: Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Warsaw, MO
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    Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

    Has anyone ever used a TENS unit to help with pain?
    Tamena

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,729
    yes...did nothing for me...
    used one many years ago...

    jess

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
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    1,592
    I used a TENS unit and found it helpful. Apparently the further apart that you place the pads, the deeper the impulse goes. I need to find my unit, but the only setting that helped was the intense setting which eats batteries, so I bought rechargeable batteries. It especially helped my lower back pain.

    I have lots of patches if you need some. My insurance provides them for free and I have saved them over the years. Pads lasted me about 5 uses each.

    I also found Lidocaine 5 percent patches mostly helpful.
    Susan
    Adult Onset Degenerative Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Severe disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal Spinal Cord Injury T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Revision Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone
    2018: Removal L4,5 screw

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    88
    I used an EMPI TENS unit effectively for years. I would place the 4 electrodes in a 3" square over the spot where I needed pain relief most. The unit used the same 9 volt battery for months but I didn't need to use it all the time.

    Even though I was only supposed to use it for a short period at a time per day, when the pain was really bad I used it about 8 to 10 hours a day for three or four days in a row. That effectively numbed the nerves so I had very little pain for weeks at a time, sometimes months. It's important to place the electrodes so the path of current forms an X over the spot. The unit should come with directions and a doctor or physical therapist can explain that further. I didn't take pain medication and relied solely on that TENS unit for pain relief for almost 10 years.
    1973 Age 15 diagnosed with scoliosis but told too old for surgery.
    2001 age 43 told too old for surgery, did physical therapy & traction.
    2001 to 2008 Intermittent use of home traction machine and TENS unit.
    2009 traction no longer effective - physical therapy.
    2011 More physical therapy. 2012 Collapsing scoliosis - MRI before surgery
    At age 53, surgery on October 2nd, 2012 with Dr Hey
    Fusion with titanium rods and bolts from T1 to pelvis.
    Post op x-ray

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,729

    according to the dictionary, transcutaneous is like transdermal...
    it means thru the skin...
    i never understood the principal of it for helping deep pain...
    i had a PT with me the first times i used machine...
    my pain was deep...she said she was sorry the machine
    wasn't helping me...
    i gave up on it after about 5 tries...
    i had a doctor tell me that the more structural the problem,
    the less likely something treating nerves will help the pain.
    he said that was a reason epidural injections did little for me...
    maybe that is why Gabapentin didn't help me either.

    jess
    Last edited by jrnyc; 03-10-2013 at 12:18 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Warsaw, MO
    Posts
    373
    I went ahead and took the script the ortho gave me to order the unit. I guess it is worth a try to reduce the pain that I have below and above my short fusion. I am refusing the narcotics to help with pain because I do not want to rely upon that. If this doesn't work we may be looking at a revision in the near future.

    Tamena

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    8

    Really helps

    I highly recommend the TENS unit. It blocks the pain impulses. In my case, very helpful, especially when I have to sit for hours.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    881
    I have a tens unit. I used it all of the time when I went back to work after my 1st surgery. It was the only thing that helped me through the day. It also seemed to continue to help after it was off. It has been while{4years}since my lumbar surgery---I will still use the unit when something acts up. I also use rechargable batteries. It is worth the money!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Warsaw, MO
    Posts
    373
    Susan,
    How long do the electrodes last? I got four with the unit. Also, do I order more electrodes at the Physical Therapy office that I purchased the unit from or can I get them other places?
    Tamena
    Diagnosed at age 12 with a double major curve

    Braced till age 15

    SSBOB T12-L2 Anterior age 34. (October 22,2012) Dr. Robert Gaines Jr. ( Columbia, MO)

    Revision Surgery T2-Sacrum with Pelvic Fixation Prosterior age 35 (November 13,2013) Dr. Michael Kelly (St. Louis, MO)

    Revision Surgery L4/L5 due to BMP Complication age 36 (November 20,2014) Dr. Michael Kelly (St. Louis, Mo)

    Revision Surgery due to broken rod scheduled for October 19, 2016 with Dr. Michael Kelly (St. Louis, MO)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    881
    Hi My electrodes last about a week. I get mine through Empi---they send them through the mail. If you want the contact info--message me and I will send it to you. I don't know if the price is different then the PT place,but it may be worth a phone call.
    Jackie

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