opinions on TENS units?

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opinions on TENS units?

Postby phyrehawke » Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:50 am

I have **finally** been sent for REAL pain management. The first order of business is getting an area in my thoracic spine under control which may or may not be related to the SM as referred pain. On the agenda is an MRI to determine if I damaged the joint or broke something in a fall last March. The PA said my pain tolerance was so high I could've broken something (not major) and been living with it all year. Yeah my pain level has been getting way too high even on a bunch of meds...that's why I ended up in his office. But I really suspect my syrinx is just PO'ed, as I put it, and they will find this is all referred pain. I'm keeping my fingers crossed they find something that's actually fixable!

They have ordered a TENS unit for me. Does anybody have an opinion on their use with the nerve/muscle pain that comes with years of having SM?
"A path of awakening would never suggest that we should be a passive and unwitting spectator of our own repeated disasters, but should turn the power of our attention to untangle the web of complexity." Christina Feldman
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Re: opinions on TENS units?

Postby razzle » Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:44 am

For some it works some it doesnt , me it didnt ..insurance paid for mine so no money lost.... good luck. r
Once you choose hope, anything's possible.

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Re: opinions on TENS units?

Postby ratherjust_beme » Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:57 pm

I too have a TENS unit and my opinion is they are always worth a try. My insurance covered the cost so I wasnt out any money. It helps at times...and other times not. I found that I use it when I need to go someplace or do things I know will wear on me....It doesnt take away my pain, It sorta masks its. The unit creates another sensations which kinda covers the pain I guess. Which for me made it so I could survive a 4 hour party or gathering where my pain might increase etc. BUT...what I also found was that I would overdo a bit using it...and once you take it off you are pretty much right back to where you were or worse. You cannot wear them round the clock but I did find I have a use for it. I keep it handy...take it with me when I have a long car ride etc. So they are definately worth a try in my opinion. :-)
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Re: opinions on TENS units?

Postby caughtknee » Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:24 pm

It didn't work for me.

Calmar Pain Relief Therapy is awesome. Works like a charm!
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Re: opinions on TENS units?

Postby karenb » Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:14 am


I finally started getting some real pain mgmt a few months ago, and talk about a difference!!! Each systemic med has a purpose, it's adjusted, or it's gone! They got the spasticity in my legs under control (via Botox), and also got me some high-level (super-experienced) PT and some topical meds, including custom compounds. Everything is targeted and is not by guess and by golly (thank Molly!!!).

I've been using a combo unit - 15 mins TENS plus 30 mins Electro-Stim, each adjustable - for the past couple of years, and it has been WONDERFUL in terms of immediate relief. I use it to get going in the morning, along with heat therapy, and it makes all the difference. I can literally feel the pain melting away as I use it.

It's not permanent relief, but it's not intended to be - it's enough relief to get me up and going and give my other meds a chance to work, and I am increasingly grateful for it.

Best wishes for a good (and pain-free) week to come,

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Re: opinions on TENS units?

Postby taichi » Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:33 pm

I have a Tens unit and I use it daily for around 8-10 hours. Without it I would not be able to be very active at all, I have pain in my lower back. SM/disc. Although sometimes it gets on my nerves and I have to take it off for a while.
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Re: opinions on TENS units?

Postby princesk8 » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:13 pm

I love my TENS, it's awesome! I know it's just making me feel a different sensation, but the doctor's have been using TENS on me since I was 15, so maybe I'm just used to it.
Chiari 1 7 mm & Syrinx C5-T10. Scoliosis(22 degree L & 20 degree T curve). 2.4 cm Arachnoid Cyst at lower left occipital lobe. Bulging Disk C5-C6, C6-C7 & L5-S1. Early facet arthrosis L2-L4. Mild inferior foraminal narrowing L4-S1
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Re: opinions on TENS units?

Postby phyrehawke » Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:39 pm

I just thought I would follow up on my Tens unit experience. It worked fine on the low level pain at first, but I didn't need help coping with the low level pain. When I tried using it with the higher level pain it triggered migraines just like it did before, even using it on my mid to lower back, and despite the migraine preventative meds I'm on. Just thanks to those meds the migraines it triggered were not as severe and responded to the abortive migraine meds a lot more quickly than the migraines did without them. Ugh. The more I used it the more it triggered headaches, and the more easily it triggered them at a lower intensity. That's what it did when I was using it in PT over a decade ago.

The Tens unit had another completely unexpected effect that nobody had foreseen. I have very high functioning autism, but this year I've been all over the spectrum...especially in regards to sensory overstimulation. We think it's due to my pain level being too high too much. But since we got the really severe pain under control with schedule II meds that's been improved. When I used the Tens unit on the higher level pain *instead* of taking the stronger pain medication it was basically like turning my TV up super loud to drown out the neighbors annoying Dub-step party, when I just hate noise. That kind of approach doesn't work with any kind of autism when sensory overwhelm is a major issue and it pushed me right over the edge I've been trying to avoid because I wasn't sure what would happen. Well, now I know. (I didn't even have it turned up very far!) It wasn't so bad, but if I hadn't had a specialty therapist point out exactly what the cautionary "roadsigns were leading to the cliff's edge" I would've been a lot more freaked out about how my brain coped with being sensory overwhelmed like that. As it was, I knew it was due to the stuff I had on and I turned it all off and took meds to calm my nerves down. But I was edgy for days afterwards and that's not cool.

I learned quite a bit from this, and it helped me understand some other things too. MSG was a food additive we had to totally eliminate from my diet...it was overdriving my nerves and making my pain worse, which is part of the reason the epilepsy meds have been so good for me. They block any extra glutamate I get. Asparatame/Nutrasweet had to be eliminated from my diet for the same reason...makes my nerves fire too fast. So now I know the Tens unit and Neurostimulators won't work for me for a similar reason, and that makes perfect sense. None of the docs were thinking about it that way though. Pretty much everything that works well for me is stuff that slows down my nervous system. But we don't want to slow it down too far, or the meds will mess with my speech, which is why we were trying the Tens unit.
So I'm back to the schedule II meds and we are kind of back to the drawing board looking for other non-medication options.
And I did get my new MRI done but I hadn't heard anything on the results yet.
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