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Re: TENS..how high....

LakesideLLakeside Posts: 281
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
...can you crank it up & still be "safe"? Sounds dumb, I know, but I usually find some relief at about a "5 or 6" but today I've had it up to 10.5 b/c of the terrible winter storm we're having (snow/cold/high wind etc) and the severe pain in my whole fusion are, my S1 area & the sciatica in my right leg/foot...took some dilaudid/Valuim etc..did nothing much...so the TENS has helped me get thru the day, on the couch...bah!! I hate this!!

Is there an "upper limit"? It sure helps--I just want to know if I'd butn out my hardware or something (which today seems like a good idea....) :))(

~Lakeside (no place to be, right now, trust me!)


  • I have had a tens unit for about 5 years. It helped some before my fusion and I guess normally I ran it between a 7 and 9 ... when i found myself having to crank it into the double digits, I knew that it was not working well for me. I was just swapping my sciatic pain for the electric pulse that hurt (just a different pain). I think that they really don't allow it to go too high so that it will burn you. I think you just have to use your best judgement.

    Take your meds, rest and try to get some sleep tonight. It is hard with the weather, I know. I am in NH and we have had two feet of snow in three days. I had two level ALIF on the 10th of Dec ... it has been a long day.

    Hang in there!
  • ..dear Susan, you, less than 2 weeks out from a 2-level---oh my! And you now have OUR bad weather (from Wisconsin)to add to the insult to your injuries from the fusion ...so sorry! You must be miserable !!

    I agree: the TENS just disguises the sciatica w/ yet another annoying sensation...but as you say, it does help some. Just wanted to know if there was any danger in using into the double-digits. Used up 3 batteries today...must be b/c it was running at a "12" the last time I looked...

    Will now take it off, use some BioFreeze & an ice pak. Or just go outside, put some snow in a Ziplock baggie & sit on that! Free, cold & molds itself immediately to whatever area you need it on! The only positive thing I can think of in getting over 2.5 feet of snow since Friday!

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  • If your muscles jump then it's too high. So I'm told. You have yours up to 10????!!!! Wow my shoulder would be dislocating from my arm that high. Maybe it's just the difference in the models that we have.
  • ..is what I'm using, brand-new model w/ pre-configured settings w/ little body-part icons...so you don't have to adjust anything but the power level....

    I just push the "back/hip/buttock" icon & I'm in business...
    You would choose the cute little button w/ the shoulder icon(complete w/ anatomically correct scapula..)
    There are also icons for knee, upper back & arm/wrist/hand..

    Wish I didn't know all this! Wish I still lived in blissfull ignorance of TENS units, etc...

    Also wish it was JULY!

  • I hate knowing about TENS units and where the heck my c5 and c6 vertabrae are. I never though have thought in a million years I would learn so much about anatomy after I left high school.
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  • Sounds as if you really need to get in to see your surgeon. I can't imagine turning my Tens up to 10, at that point it makes your nerves jump. Not healthy..... I am 10 months post op, with a 3 level fusion, and only wear my Tens when I go out shopping or know I'm going to be standing for great lengths of time. The highest I ever go is a 3. I wasn't allowed to even have one till I was around 26 weeks post op. They can be dangerous, and can do more damage than good. Just a heads up.....

    Get in touch with your surgeon.

    Or maybe, you need to change your batteries and electrodes more often. I do know if I'm needing to turn it up, it's usually because I need to change both. They only last about two weeks. Good luck
  • Yes, my electrodes are really worn-out looking & as I said, my batteries were low--changed both & only needed up to an "8" today (my usual #) But we are having ANOTHER storm front moving thru so things are about the same, pain-wise...the weather greatly affects me now, more than ever.

    I see my NS in January for my 1-yr check-up & will talk to him about a lot of this chronic stuff, including how safe the TENS really is...you mentioned they can be dangerous & do some damage...can you expand on that? I thought they were really mostly harmless, an alternative to the usual opioids needed to control this %#^@$% pain, going on now since 2006....

    Anyway, thanks for your concern! Have a great holiday! It's snowing here (again...) & looks really pretty..will now put on my brace & head to church...and thank God things aren't worse than they are...there's always something to be thankful for!

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