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should i use my tens unit for severe leg nerve pain

edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
has anyone used thier tens unit for severe nerve pain in thier legs, for pain after surgery? i hurt so bad ive tried everything heat , cold,lidoderm pain patches neurontin, pain meds numbing spray, anything i can think of .i go for my 6 wk chkup on the 4th, ive called the dr about this he says its just my nerves healing, but the pain is so bad i cant even let clothing touch my legs. just the tiniest touch to my skin is excruciateing, anyone have any ideals or solutions

i had plif and tail bone shaved


  • Hi Debra! I am sorry to hear you are in so much pain. I am just a few weeks ahead of you with a 360 fusiom, so I so understand your pain! I think using your TENs for your leg pain is definately worth a try!

    Are you seeing a PT? is that who gave you the TENs? You can wear it as long as you want, might just try different settings, finding the ones that are most comfortable for you!

    Good luck! I hope you start to feel better! This is such a long journey and the ups and downs are difficult, but we are all here for you! I hope the sun is shining where you are and that you will be able to enjoy your Sunday! gentle hugs xxx Shari
  • hi i have sent you a PM
  • I'm sure that you know this already, but it your TENS unit does not have really good contact/adhesion with your skin, it can actually be painful even at a low setting. I have a home unit and I have to wash the pads in cold water after each use to ensure that the adhesive is perfectly effective.

    fyi - TENS never really helped my sciatic pain because the source of the pain was an impinged nerve.
    I have no idea about the effectiveness of TENS for your situation. I tried it after my fusion to see if it would help calm down some residual sciatic pain, but it did nothing. Again, I have a home unit and it may work very differently.

    Ice has been my best friend.

    I'm truly sorry to hear about your intense residual pain!
  • I never had a TENS prior to surgery. I was given mine by the physical therapist after my lumbar fusion for ongoing nerve pain...so from that, I would assume there is no reason why you couldn't try it. Of course you would want to check it out with your surgeon's office first in case there is some reason unique to you that you should not use it.

    I ended up not using mine. It either made no difference, but then I felt that it was making my nerves even more sensitive so I never used it again.

    Have you read up on RSD (reflex sympathetic dystrophy)? When anyone mentions the response to light touch, RSD always pops into my mind. That inability to have anything touch the skin is called allodynia -- which means an extreme sensitivity to stimulus. This can include light touch, clothing or bedclothes lightly resting on skin, even a breeze blowing across the skin can cause pain.

    It does sound like the pain you have been describing ever since your fusion is a bit "more" than what is typically experienced after fusion. Be sure to ask your doctor about RSD when you see him.

    Also you might want to ask him about one of the pain medictions for nerve pain: Lyrica, Neurontin (gabapentin is the generic). Sometimes doctors also prescribe Topomax or Cymbalta which sometimes work when the others fail.


    This is a brochure that summarizes the symptoms of RSD:

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