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TENS unit anyone? CNN article

saltzworksssaltzworks Posts: 1,032
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
just cruising the news and found an article from cnn on hwo tens units don't really work.


i have a unit. i have to admit i just don't use it. i've tried but the hassle outweighs the benefits for me.

it did seem to take the pain level down a notch though. maybe it's just that it feels good compared to just straight pain. the ultrasound unit at the pt places always felt much better than the little tens unit.


  • I like mine. Altough it is a much larger unit. I don't use it for low back pain (yet) but the neck problems.

    I know it is a mind trick, but when you are suffering it helps take your mind off of it for a little while.

    My unit was closer to $3,000 (at least that is what was billed to my insurance)- my PT said they were out of the small ones so I recieved the deluxe super size one :O)

    I have been frusterated on the sticky pads. Trying to use the ones that didn't have much stick left in them isn't smart. I also combine it with heat when I can.
  • I had a version of the TENS unit with a professional specializing in acupuncture and another in physical threapy.

    The acupuncturist helped with neck and upper back tension/pain, but made the lower back and especially butt pain worse for me. I think that he hit the wrong spots, though, I think you have to be very particular about the placements. The physical therapist lady experience left me COMPLETELY PAIN FREE for about 2 hours!
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  • I don't know that it relieves much of the deep back pain, but it surely seems to help the muscles that get twisted up near the surface of my body. There are days when I know I wouldn't have survived without it. Maybe it's all in my head, but whatever works, right?

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I agree with Linda. The TENS has worked well on my muscles especially when I have to take long car rides and can't move around as needed.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • I just like the numb-skin feeling I get from it. I think you are right Isteller, it makes the muscles around it all feel better - even if it's not working on the actual nerves it at least makes the muscles relax some.
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  • I have used a TENS daily for over 3 years now. I have an EMPI model and it does wonders. I also used a cheaper model that I didn't like as much.

    The tens doesn't take the nerve-type pain away, but it does help with the muscular pain that I have. It seems to help relax the knots when I wear it. I will often have it on for hours throughout the day. A TENS doesn't cure pain, but it certainly helps me deal with mine.

    Julie, here is a trick about the sticky pads. You can hand wash the pads with a little soap and water. Be sure to rub the surface of the sticky part to get the oils from your skin off. This restores the "stickiness" for a while. I have done this and it does work.

    Also, you can have your physical therapist order new ones for you. I've ordered new leads from ebay for a great price. I would think you can get pads the same way.

    I think this article is wrong--my TENS works great and without it I would be on some heavy pain killers. It is what helps me get through the day.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
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