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tens unit

edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi does anyone here use a tens unit? I have used mine so much that I have sores on my back, if I dont use it I stiffen up so bad that my back starts into those awful spasms,and sometimes I am down for weeks .I had a microdiscectomy on L2-3 and I am so stiff and burn in my back I cant move. My tens doesnt have the gel stuff with it just the sticky pads..


  • Hi Kentuckygirl,

    Wow, I haven't heard of using it so much you have sores...are you turning it up too high? My chiro and the GP said no more than 30 mins at a time and only turn it up to where you get a good grab, but not a clinching up of the muscles. I've been having neck pain and shoulder, upper back soreness, so I slap the sticky pads back there and try to get them even on both sides. Mine has 4 pads and uses a 9volt battery. I used it before and after my fusion surgeries on my lumbar too....across my hips and low back on those large muscles.

    Are you taking any muscle relaxer med? I've had Robaxin, Flexeril, Soma (generic) and now on a different one. I think the Robaxin did me the most good. But I still need something to keep my muscles from being in knots since I sit all day at work, drive an hour to/from work, and program at the computer. On weekends, we do alot of physical work on our farm with horses, so I overdo things.

    I hope your micro works and lasts a long time for you.

  • like you my back is covered is scars due to over use of a TENS .i use the PALS tpn 150 blue gel electrodes .but i carnt go a day without using my TENS as it help with the pain i have it on ALL day and sometimes all night .i have found the British built ACTICARE to be the best that i have had .i had an omron fd115 for ten years but i killed it and to have it prepared was not an option .anyone looking for a very high end TENS have a look at the acticare as is does more than just TENS its an external spinal cord stimulator and it had 8 preset frequency {so no more mucking about trying to dial in frequency you dont need a degree in physics to operate it}and it also has high frequency modes and radio frequency modes
  • KENTUCKYGIRL65: Not clear what type of sores you are experiencing from the TENS unit, but my first experience with one was from a therapist who treated my tarsal tunnel syndrome. While not a back problem, I noticed when she used it, I would often get tiny burn points on my feet where the pads had been.

    When I later bought my own unit, I discovered that there are a number of sizes and shapes of pads available. Not giving it much thought, I opted for the smallest size (cheaper and more comfortable). That's when I understood the cause of the burns.

    The smaller the pad, the lower the current has to be to avoid burning. If you need the current higher to get the relief you want, a larger pad is in order.

    This is similar to arc welders. Put a lot of current on a small rod, and it will burn through steel. With a large rod, you can't generate enough heat, but you still pass all the current.

    There are other factors, too. Uneven conductivity of the pad (especially if you use them many times beyond their intended life), differences in skin resistance, etc. Electricity will find the path of least resistance. If it finds an "easy path", it will try to move all of the electrons through that point. That can result in the burns and sores.

    A "non TENS" issue may also be an allergic reaction to the adhesive on the pads. (my wife is seriously allergic to some adhesives used on some brands of bandages).

    Best thing would be to have an experienced therapist (or even dermatologist if it looks like allegies) take a look at the sores to determine what is causing them.

    Of course, keeping the current down to minimally effective level is going to help, too.

    Good luck.
  • i will take note of this as i use mine most days ;)
  • all it is ...is if you can imagine having a plaster on you for extended periods ..it will give some people a rash .my back is like braille as i have my TENS on sometimes 24 hours.to help with this problem try PALS {that's the manufacture} TPN 150 blue electrodes .these are the hypoallergenic ones .i use them but because i have very sensitive skin and i had damage before i started to use them my skins is still scared..for uk best purchase from physiomed glossop see there web page .
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