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Old 07-22-2003, 03:48 PM   #1
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Post TENS unit for numbness/foot pain, anyone???

Hi all, looking for any experience with the TENS unit. Short history: numbness and pain in left foot for over 1 year due to hern. disc l5/s1. Micro-d on 6/6/03. Still have the same symptoms and am currently in PT. He started the TENS unit yesterday and today and the symptoms feel better. Yesterday it only helped the pain (ONLY, HA!!!)and today it helped the pain and maybe even the numbness. Therapist said it can "interrupt" the pain signal and maybe help stop that signal, but from what I read on the net, it only helps in pain management and doesn't have healing effects. I'm wondering if anyone has ever had any success with the TENS unit. Believe me, I'm very glad I had the surgery even if I don't get rid of these symptoms, because I know the nerve root is clear now, so I don't want anyone contemplating surgery to think I may be a failed surgery. I also know it can takes months/year to heal the nerve, but I'm anxious to get going!!! Any insight would be welcome. Thanks, and hope everyone is having a PAIN FREE day. ~Daubie

------------------
Car Accident 2/2/02
Herniated disc L5/S1
Epidurals x3, PT 4 mos, some relief
Microdiscectomy 6/6/03
__________________
Car Accident 2/2/02
Herniated disc L5/S1
Epidurals x3, PT 4 mos, some relief, but constant foot pain and numbness continued
Microdiscectomy 6/6/03
9/5/03 still have foot pain and numbness but recovered fine from surgery
1/19/04 I am 7 mos post op. I still have the same foot pain as before surgery. Doc agrees it is probably permanent nerve damage. Started neurontin this week. Still glad I had the surgery though!

 
Old 07-22-2003, 04:18 PM   #2
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I used a TENS unit off & on for years. It helped with back pain tremendosly. My back would get irritated from the adhesive & have to discontinue from time to time. It kinda .......short circuts the pain message to your brain. Worked for me! Gave some much needed relief during the day.....Couldn't sleep with it on! Make sure you have rechargable batteries! Ran mine wide open. 10 on voltage & desired pulse.
Good Luck!
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Old 07-22-2003, 05:09 PM   #3
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Hi daubie,

My experience with the TENS unit is it kept my back from getting fatigued so quickly. Whether the pain signals were being "miss directed" ... I'm not convinced of except to say the TENS unit signals are "bigger" than the pain signal and therefore "wins out" getting to the brain. I'm thinking the TENS unit gives those muscles a little exercise and thus allows me to sit longer than without it (it literally doubles my time from 20 to 40 minutes at a time to sit before pain gets to me). However it works... while it is on anyway. It does nothing however, when not in use. So there won't be any "lasting effects". Any lasting effects comes from whatever else you are doing (like the PT or .....?). I hope this helps!


------------------
successtory
Oct 2000: Repetitive Stress Injury-Inverted Hernia
Feb 2001: MRI. Shows only slight bulge at L4-L5
Dec 2001: Discogram/CT scan shows Inverted Hernia at L5-S1. L4-L5 & L5-S1 ruptured in all 4 quadrants. Unable to walk.
Feb 2002: IDET, Nucleoplasty, Intra-Discal Injections
Sept 2002: Rated in the top 10% for successful patients. Retraining for new career.

 
Old 07-22-2003, 05:52 PM   #4
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Success and Acme~ thank you so much for the responses. Sounds like you are/were both happy with the results. If I get one for home, I'll be sure to get those rechargeable batteries! At this point, we're just trying it at PT and see if I continue to get relief. If I do, then he said we can get one for me at home. I have to say the PT is helping too, my range of motion is getting much better on my left leg since I started. Just wish I would see faster results with the pain/numbness. Then I read others stories here and think "be thankful"! Anyway, thanks again for the responses. Acme~ been following your threads, hope your surgery is a HUGE success! ~Daubie

------------------
Car Accident 2/2/02
Herniated disc L5/S1
Epidurals x3, PT 4 mos, some relief
Microdiscectomy 6/6/03
__________________
Car Accident 2/2/02
Herniated disc L5/S1
Epidurals x3, PT 4 mos, some relief, but constant foot pain and numbness continued
Microdiscectomy 6/6/03
9/5/03 still have foot pain and numbness but recovered fine from surgery
1/19/04 I am 7 mos post op. I still have the same foot pain as before surgery. Doc agrees it is probably permanent nerve damage. Started neurontin this week. Still glad I had the surgery though!

 
Old 07-23-2003, 04:02 PM   #5
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Thanks Acme and Successstory~ your responses are appreciated and enlightening! I will continue using this and see how it works. Even if it's just a few hours of no foot pain, that's better than none. And to be honest, when I wake up my foot doesn't hurt at all, just numb. It's after I've been on it a few hours it starts to hurt and just gets worse as the day goes on. So, if it continues to work, I may make it thru a lot of the day without the pain. Anyway, thanks again for the responses! ~Daubie

------------------
Car Accident 2/2/02
Herniated disc L5/S1
Epidurals x3, PT 4 mos, some relief
Microdiscectomy 6/6/03
__________________
Car Accident 2/2/02
Herniated disc L5/S1
Epidurals x3, PT 4 mos, some relief, but constant foot pain and numbness continued
Microdiscectomy 6/6/03
9/5/03 still have foot pain and numbness but recovered fine from surgery
1/19/04 I am 7 mos post op. I still have the same foot pain as before surgery. Doc agrees it is probably permanent nerve damage. Started neurontin this week. Still glad I had the surgery though!

 
Old 07-23-2003, 05:05 PM   #6
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Spring Lake, Mi. USA
Posts: 234
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Daubie,
I don't have all the answers.......I probably really don't have alot of answers.......But I have experienced alot with back pain & tried lots of stuff to relieve it. I've talked with many reg. Docs.....Chiropractors.....Lawyers....Neurosurgens...
& fellow pain sufferers.
I only want to help! I feel your pain.......I lived it! Now I am pain & drug free.....No more pain pills..antinflamatories....muscle relaxers....injections....PT....
I only want to share & hope I can give hope to others!

Larry (AKA acme)
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Old 07-24-2003, 08:44 AM   #7
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Guys,

What is TEN units...I just came back from MED on 07/03/03 for herniation on l4-l5, and my pain is actually worse that before..much worse.acute pain in my leg, numbness, weakness...dont know what to do..can you please adivse..I do not think i can live like this for months...
Thanks please adivise..I thought surgery should end all this...

Shri
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MS

 
Old 07-24-2003, 09:28 AM   #8
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Posts: 296
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Shri, Hi - Sorry you're not feeling better at this stage of post-op recovery. Not to sound like a broken record if you've heard/know all this - but are you using ice (frozen bag of peas, etc) over your covered incision for about 5-10 min at a time - over your covered back to help with inflammation which in turn reduces internal swelling/pressure on nerves? (And of course- no bending, twisting, lifting & very little sitting) but laying down & short walks with good shoes on level ground several x's daily? What is MED's surgery? Are you allowed to take anti-inflammatories or did they say those wld interfere w/your healing process as they do w/fusions? Anti-inflammatories (Vioxx in particular) really helped me - along with occasional Hydrocodone during first few wks.

What does your doc say about your current pain?

Thought I'd copy Daubie's Ten's Unit description from another post:

About the TENS, it is a little machine and you hook up electrodes to the sore spot (in my case, the nerve behind my knee and my foot). Then you lay there and it sends little electrical impulses thru your skin. It is not unpleasant. From what I read on the net, it helps pain in 2 ways. First, it interrupts the pain signal going to the brain ( I definately believe it does this cause both times I used it, I had no pain for hours afterwards). Secondly, they say it helps your body release natural pain killers called endorphins. Don't know so much about that! I did get a couple responses to my post and they were both encouraging.

Please let us hear how you're doing - & take care! Hope you feel better soon.

Laura

------------------
Mar 2003:Micro-Discectomy w/Hemilaminectomy L5-S1
Prior to that 4 mos of Sciatic pain; left side
Herniated Disc L5/S1
Bulging Disc L4/L5



[This message has been edited by TexMich (edited 07-24-2003).]
__________________
10/02:Per MRI: Hern.Disc L5/S1 * Bulg.Disc L4/L5
03/03:Micro-Discectomy w/Hemilaminectomy L5-S1 (left sd)
08/03:PT @ 5 mos post-op for 6 wks: Results: Back & abdominal strength MUCH better - stretching exercises help only temporarily. Heavy feeling of pressure, restriction thru-out incision area post op. ~scar tissue adhering?
11/03:Working with "Rolfing" expert to release scar tissue - Jury's still out on this procedure

 
Old 07-24-2003, 10:04 AM   #9
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Location: Spring Lake, Mi. USA
Posts: 234
acme HB User
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TexMich is correct. The Tens unit give you a small charge of electricty powered by batteries.
My Unit is Manufactured by Medical designs. It's called Spectrum Max-SD.
You can only get these if your Doc writes an RX!
I wore mine on my belt. The electrodes had sticky pads on them so you could place them & they'd stay put.
The Tens unit has two dials. One for the amount of current desired & the other is a selection of Distribution of current.(slow pulse..wide range..fast pulse..constant...ect...)
Two wires go from the unit to the sticky pads.
They are pretty pricey....But .....I worked for me & many others.
Ask your doc if you could have one....He'll know!
Good Luck Shri...
Hope this helps!
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Old 07-24-2003, 04:10 PM   #10
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Hi everyone. Acme, your post has made me wonder something. You indicated you ran it wide open at 10. Do you know how high it goes? The other thing is, I don't even feel it until I get to 10. If that's high, I wonder if it's because of the nerve damage that I have to start it so high. Today I raised it to 12 and could really feel it, but I just left it there for a moment or two. I was afraid to see how high it goes!
Shri~ I posted to you on another post. I think you need to insist on seeing your doctor. I think the post was under Alfie's post "newbie".
Thanks again everyone. ~Daubie

------------------
Car Accident 2/2/02
Herniated disc L5/S1
Epidurals x3, PT 4 mos, some relief
Microdiscectomy 6/6/03
__________________
Car Accident 2/2/02
Herniated disc L5/S1
Epidurals x3, PT 4 mos, some relief, but constant foot pain and numbness continued
Microdiscectomy 6/6/03
9/5/03 still have foot pain and numbness but recovered fine from surgery
1/19/04 I am 7 mos post op. I still have the same foot pain as before surgery. Doc agrees it is probably permanent nerve damage. Started neurontin this week. Still glad I had the surgery though!

 
Old 07-24-2003, 05:28 PM   #11
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Location: Spring Lake, Mi. USA
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Mine only went to 10! My unit is older.......maybe 4-yrs. old. Maybe newer units go higher?!
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Old 07-24-2003, 06:43 PM   #12
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My PT suggested that I find out if my disability ins covers a TENS machine and lo and behold it does! (I have to get a docs rx). I have to send in an estimate. Does anyone have any recommendations, there seem to be so many different brands and types of TENS.
My problem is Sciatica and an unstable SI joint. I've been going for PT but can't get an appt with the physiatrist until end of Aug and don't want to wait that long to get the TENS machine. I am not finding the PT is helping except for the short term and I hate taking the meds as they have annoying side effects.
I'm feeling very down today as yesterday I spent the day with my daughter at Stratford (Shakespeare Festival) and did alot of walking. I wore the SI belt, but by the end of the day I was almost in tears from the pain.
The reason I'm down is that tomorrow I start back to a 5 day shift (9 hrs) (airline). Usually the first day is not so bad and it gets worse and worse so that by the 5th day I am almost crippled.
So here's my frustration. Do I "spend" my pain at work, come home and am useless to my kids and family. Or..well...what? I have to work. Finanaces demand it. Then I am a wreck when I get home. No quality time with the kids, dog doesnt get walked, and sex? OOOWWWW!!!! My buttocks just can't do that "thing" anymore. Hubby frustrated too.
I'm hoping that the TENS will enable me to get through the day without too much pain. My PT says I could even hook myself up at work and turn it on and off as needed.
So tomorrow when the alarm goes off at 4:00am (people do insist on flying at all hours!) I'll wake up in pain, spend the day in pain. go home in pain.
Heres hoping that the TENS will work when I finally get the rx, estimate, and fnally buy the thing.
Thanks for letting me vent...Tagger
__________________
Life is a journey, not a destination.

 
Old 07-25-2003, 05:22 AM   #13
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Location: Spring Lake, Mi. USA
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Tagger.....I wore mine at work....while driving....to the store....
Never had it on during sex though....Might be just the ticket! The current does not transfere from one person to the other!
Hope you get one soon!!
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Prowler

 
Old 07-25-2003, 04:38 PM   #14
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Hi Tagger~ I think your PT will tell your doc to write you a script for it. That's what my therapist said. That way you won't have to wait to see the doctor first. Has the therapist tried it on you at therapy? Tell him your insurance does cover it and see if he can help you get it. Please let us know. I'm still curious to see how it works for people! Good luck and take care ~Daubie
__________________
Car Accident 2/2/02
Herniated disc L5/S1
Epidurals x3, PT 4 mos, some relief, but constant foot pain and numbness continued
Microdiscectomy 6/6/03
9/5/03 still have foot pain and numbness but recovered fine from surgery
1/19/04 I am 7 mos post op. I still have the same foot pain as before surgery. Doc agrees it is probably permanent nerve damage. Started neurontin this week. Still glad I had the surgery though!

 
Old 07-28-2003, 03:59 PM   #15
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Hobart, IN USA
Posts: 28
kblou HB User
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Hey, everyone! My hubby had had so much bad luck with doctors, pain mgmt specialists, etc. until one trip to the ER late one night a few years ago. This dr. prescribed him a TENS and he has been in HEAVEN ever since. He clips it to his jeans and wears it while he's working, too. Unfortunately, from what his dr. says, it doesn't help the degeneration, but it makes it managable!

 
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