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Tens Unit worth the cost if ins doesn't pay?

MaggiePMMaggieP Posts: 349
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Chronic Pain
Monday during my PT session, the therapist supplied me with a Tens unit, so that I can use it at home. We won't know for several weeks if my insurance company will cover it. It's a lousy company, and they don't cover much......The therapist said if they won't cover it for me, the Tens Company would call me, and give me the option to purchase it myself, or send it back, with no charge for the time I have had it. I don't know what the cost would be..... Anybody want to jump in here? And is the Tens good for your chronic pain? I have so many places that hurt, not sure where to put the patches first! :)

Also, this "wonderful" insurance company will cover my visit to a Pain Clinic, but they won't pay much for the Pain Pschologist. He wants $350. cash up front.. Are pain clinics the way to go, since my PCP is very good about perscribing the meds I need, and recommending treatments and visits to other Specialists if I want to see one? I'm just questioning the 2 days off work to get there, cost of gas, motel, food, etc. Since I'm already doing most of what I read on here that those Clinics do. Help??



  • The point of a pain center is to treat your pain..why go if your PCP is already doing so?Also,at most (if not all) pain centers you are bound by a contract and if you see another Dr for ANY reason and he/she prescribes you pain meds,you cannot accept them or you will be in violation of the contract.

    I use a TENS.If I had to pay for it to be honest I would not,but I hope that it works for you.
  • Hiya Maggie >:D<
    I have pain management and to be honest its the best thing i have ever done :) . I have a number of tablets i have to take each day @) , and they told me i will have to take them for the rest of my life :( . I invested in a tens machine its sometimes takes the edge of the pain and sometimes it dont :S . A tens machine is somthing that you will have to try out i bought mine for £40 from physio med :O , its a company that was recommended by the hospital, you can try them out on a 28day trial :? , if you dont want it then you can send it back and get a full refund 8> .here is the website: www.EDITED Good Luck! :H

    Standards agreement and posting rules
    Please note that Spine-Health reserves the right to edit any messages posted or submitted or e-mailed to the Company and use them for content on the website or in other company materials. No e-mail solicitation or advertising of other companies, products, services, or web sites is permitted in the Spine-Health.com forums.

    Edited by moderator paulgla

  • Maggie,

    I would definetly recommend getting the TENs unit. I bought one online for around $125 I think and the insurance ended up reimbursing us. But it would've been worth it if they hadn't.

  • I have one an like it. It was $600 dollars, but my chiro just gave it to me. That or he added to my LOP bill, which was still very generous of him by any means. I enjoy it. It helps releave some tension when I know that I can't get to a doctor.
  • If it turns out that insurance does not cover it but you are getting relief then it may very well be worth the cost to purchase it. If, on the other hand, it doesn't work at least you'll have tried without feeling like you've wasted money. Good luck!
  • I use my tens every single day. On the really bad days I have it on for hours at a time. Of course, I use it on my neck and it just seems to help with the muscle spasming and keeps me from tensing up as much. don't know how it works for low back issues.

    Try it, and if it works, it is definitely worth the investment.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Maybe I should use mine more often and give it a better shot.If I were to be honest I probably have not given it enough of a chance.Listening to the others I feel my previous answer was short and selfish.

    *I'm sorry about that*
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,722
    for my Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar problems. It is a great unit. Omron Tens unit (cost $115 was purchased in Japan, so all the documentations and buttons are in Japanese)
    From what I've seen with other Tens Units and the ones they have a physical therapy establishments, and there wasnt much of a difference
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I use my TENS everyday - especially Mon - Friday at work. I can't do without it or somebody is definitely going to pay.

    I start with mine at 3.5 and by the end of a normal day at school it is up to 5 or 5.5. Cuts so much pain out of the back.

    Of course, with it on my back, it doesn't do much for my arthritis which is acting up a LOT.

    But yes, in my opinion it is worth it. I'm just lucky that Medicare paid for it.
  • I use my TENS unit almost every day. Sometimes it helps me not have to take the percocet for the BT pain. Sometimes I need it anyway. Going to pain management might be a good thing if you doc doesn't help you out, but my PCP handles my pain well and my trip the the PM doc was a disaster. Even though he could plainly see the severely damaged discs on the MRI and CT scan, he pushed me back several times so I had to arch my back and I was in agony. The last time he tried to push me backwards I leaned forward and would not allow him to push me. The only thing he offered me was a spinal cord stimulator and I told him I wasn't ready for a pacemaker in my butt. I will NEVER go back to that doc again!

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I have had a tens unit since 1996 and the one I have now is my second one. I ran the first one so much and so high that it just gave out. A tens surely does relax the muscles in the back and neck. I don't think I can do without mine. =P~ I didn't have to pay for my tens so I can't tell you the price but I can tell you that I would have paid cash for it if the insurance company didn't pay.
  • Using it for hours upon hours at a time.Here is what I found.

    While it does seem to help somewhat,it also seems to distract me from anything else I'm doing.Writing a letter,watching a show,or even just trying to type out a post on here.

    It seems as soon as I take it off it's as if I never put it on.The pamphlet says not to sleep with it,but I can lay with it as long as I take it off before I fall asleep.I'm assuming that is so that I don't damage it by rolling over on it,or strangling myself with the wires(lol).My pain is cervicle so I wear it on my neck.

    So in retrospect it does help my pain,but I find it distracting.All in all I'd have to say that is worth it in the end :)

    I'm glad you asked,otherwise I may not have given it a fair chance.. :)))

    Have you tried it yet?How is it working for you?I hope it helps.
  • I had my surgery last sept 4th 2007. I find the tens unit so good that i have3! One at home, one in office, and one in my bag. Mine are all "pro-Tens". The placement of the electrodes is impiracle and that is problematic. Never over a metal transplant...not dangerous, just unpleasant. you set amplitude and duration and pulse width. It is hard to do a Google search since tens is an acronym in at least 10 other fields. So I always type in "tens" and "electrodes" "placement".
    The best sites are in Australia. Go to advanced search and type in .au in the domain box. .uk is also good.


    TENs stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. TENs can be an effective way of managing both acute (short term pain) and chronic (long term) pain on its own or when used in conjunction with other ways of relieving pain.
    How does TENs work?

    The TENs machine can work in two ways but firstly it is important to understand how the body feels pain.

    Messages are sent from the brain to all areas of the body and back again by the nerves, which run from the brain down the spinal cord spreading out to the trunk, arms and legs. If you touch something hot a message will flash along the nerves, up the spinal cord and into the brain. A second message would immediately be sent back to the same area telling you to move your hand away. This process takes only a fraction of a second.

    "TENs works by a method called pain gating where the stimulation of the TENs machine blocks the messages to the brain telling it the body is experiencing pain. It also encourages the brain to produce the bodies own natural painkilling hormones known as endorphins.

    The electrical stimulation is delivered to the body by a machine about the size of a personal stereo although some machines can be smaller. A TENs machine has a pair of wires connected to two outlets on the machine. Attached to these wires are small electrode pads, which stick to the body like a sticking plaster (see individual machine instructions). These pads are placed above the area of pain, usually on either side of the spine but this may vary depending on where the pain is felt. The TENs machine is small enough to conveniently wear it clipped onto the waistband of trousers or a skirt and continue with your usual activities. When in use a tingling sensation can be felt. This should not be an unpleasant feeling. Adjusting the rate and depth of the ‘tingling sensation’ using the controls on the machine can control the intensity and frequency of this sensation.

    * The electrodes should never be placed over the front of the neck as this can cause problems with blood pressure.

    TENs should not be used in the following circumstances:

    • If a heart pacemaker is fitted
    • During the first three months of pregnancy the electrodes should not be placed on the trunk or pelvis (lower body and hip region)
    • If the skin is broken the electrodes should not be applied over this area
    • Whilst driving or operating machinery
    • Over skin where no sensation can be felt
    • If a cochlear implant is fitted
    • If you have epilepsy you should consult your doctor before using this machine


    Standards agreement and posting rules
    Please note that Spine-Health reserves the right to edit any messages posted or submitted or e-mailed to the Company and use them for content on the website or in other company materials. No e-mail solicitation or advertising of other companies, products, services, or web sites is permitted in the Spine-Health.com forums.

    Edited by moderator paulgla

  • I use mine almost daily and its not gona heal you but rather help loosen up those tight muscles. Everybody will use their unit differently but after so many surgeries I usually just turn in on and keep it on all day. I do average a battery a day but its worth it.

    Also it helps with blood flow in the muscles, its great to wear and put a heating pad on over it.

    As for the PCP or pain clinic I would stay with your primary for your meds, but also a pain clinic wouldn't be bad for getting to the source of your pain and learning how to deal with it.

    I go to a chronic pain clinic at a hospital, but keep all my meds with my PCP.

  • Are you a Dr.,and should I call you Dr.?

    Also,do you know why they tell you not to wear the TENs while driving or operating heavy machinery?

    Here's what I think(lol):The TENs,while helping my pain can be distracting(but worth it at times).Our brains can only take so much stimuli..so while I am wearing the unit my brain is not thinking about the pain,or thinking less about the pain.

    Do you think that if wearing the unit while driving a person might be distracted?Or only a person like me(lol)I ask this because as soon as I take it off my pain is back full force,but my BF can use it and he says that his pain is relieved even after he turns off/removes the unit.

    Sorry for all the questions-I'm curious about this. :??
  • On this forum I am not a Doctor. Please call me Eric.
    I have been using my tens for almost a year. Mostly all morning, and for pain at night. About one month ago it started to irritate more then it helped. One of my nurses advised me on that and woman always have a better handle on the big picture! So I gave the skin a rest. Now it is working 100% again. I think it is like when you have a migraine and all stimuli (sound, smell, light, taste etc.)is annoying.

    I use mine while I drive, but on some settings it has a morphine like effect, no pain and no driving!

    Try to read up on it on the Australian sites. In Google go to advanced an type in.au in the domain box...bottom left I think.
    I really hope you get all better soon, really soon, Eric

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