After my cervical fusion, I developed a lot of intractable pain in my neck. During physical therapy to increase my my range of motion, I started using a device called a TENS unit. The idea behind the TENS unit is that electrodes deliver gentle currents of electrotherapy to block pain from irritated nerves and muscles. While TENS was fairly effective in reducing my daily pain, it didn't address the root cause of the pain.
More than a year later, and after a second surgery which left me with low back pain, I learned about PainKare, another electrode based device which uses technology called biostimulation. Unlike TENS, though, PainKare is designed to address the cause of the pain rather than blocking its signals.
While biostimulation isn't intended to replace formal medical treatment or therapies like physical therapy, it has worked as a great compliment to my existing care. And, research has found that this type of therapy can provide pain relief in up to 95% of patients.
Using TENS therapy on my neck produced some unfortunate side effects and so I decided to try PainKare for other body pain - the device is recommended for the lower back, arms, legs, knees, and shoulders, and for both acute and chronic pain.
What I like most about devices such as this one is that they are discreet (PainKare can't be seen beneath most clothing), portable, and can be used for pain without cognitive or mood side effects. The device can even be used during sleep.
And to help with pain treatment on the go, there is even a free compliment app for both Android and iPhone. The app syncs to the device and helps you tailor treatment. One of the trickiest parts of using these devices is knowing exactly how to place the electrodes but the app allows you to choose a problem area and directs you where to place them.
One of the problems with device-based treatments such as this can be cost. Unlike other devices, PainKare is a rechargable device and doesn't require replacement batteries for three years. The electrodes do need to be replaced regularly but are thankfully very resilient when compared to other brands.
PainKare is also offering a program for free devices because as they explain, "About 100 million Americans suffer from various chronic pains. Among them, millions are seniors, women and people with low or fixed income who have difficulty in accessing healthcare to improve the pain symptoms that are impacting their work, education, and life." PainKare wants to be sure that these individuals have access to pain relief and are offering 1,000 free units to qualified patients through their website.
While I have extensive chronic pain, and likely will long-term, I have been pleased with this device. The device itself doesn't provide the instant relief of a heating pad, or massage, but when I can remember to get ahead of my pain - I am thankful to have this.
So far, I have used it for my low-back pain but I look forward to using it for more acute injuries in the future. With Ehlers-Danlos, I suffer from frequent subluxations - think, joints not where they should be - which can be quite painful. While physical therapy has been great for adjusting joints and reducing pain, it is great to have a way to reduce my pain at home. And with the free device program? I recommend giving it a try for your own acute and chronic pain.
So tell me, have you tried a TENS unit or another pain relief device in the future? Are you interested in trying out PainKare?