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Lidoderm Patches....TENS unit

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Old 02-23-2008, 12:39 PM   #1
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Lidoderm Patches....TENS unit

OK guys, share with me please about: Lidoderm Patches...
Do they help with nerve pain or just lower back pain?
Do you put them at the actual sight that is hurting?
Do they make you sleepy or brain foggish?
Do you still take your regular pain meds when you use them?

If you use your TENS unit too long in one day can it make your muscles sore, kind of like if you worked out too long????!!!!

Hope everyone is having a good week-end!


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Old 02-23-2008, 03:57 PM   #2
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Re: Lidoderm Patches....TENS unit

Hi Deb,
I just started using these Lidoderm patches. So far, they don't seem to make me sleepy, but it's hard to tell because I started Celebrex at the same time and have upped my Vicodin. I cut it in half and place it right over the painful part of my upper spine. It does seem to help, but not enough. I haven't decreased my pain meds since I started using the patch. Are you feeling like the patches make you sleepy?

My understanding of the TENS is that if you use it too long in one place, it will simply lose its effectiveness. It works by confusing your nerve pathways and fooling your brain into thinking you don't hurt. If you overuse it, your brain figures it out and it stops working for you. I do not think it causes any damage to use it too much; it just stops being effective. But I've never used it longer than my therapist recommended (30 minutes twice a day). So maybe it could make your muscles sore. Not sure about that one.

This is just my experience. Others may chime in with other input.

Hope you're keeping warm on this blah day.

Old 02-23-2008, 07:01 PM   #3
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Re: Lidoderm Patches....TENS unit

Deb, I try not to use them too often but of the drugs out there, I feel safer using them. I remember looking them up when my mom was prescribed them. One day I bent over to pick up a pillow and went down in pain. I couldn't move. My husband couldn't begin to move me the pain was so bad. I had him put a patch on and within 30 minutes I was able to get up and move onto the bed I left it on for 8 hours and then 8 hours off for the next several days until I could move again. I don't take anything else now except an occasional vicodan. I have surgery coming up soon

Old 02-23-2008, 08:52 PM   #4
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Re: Lidoderm Patches....TENS unit

I just started using the patches on my lower back. It does help with the pain while it's on. I don't feel anything from them like sleepy, or foggy. Only thing I feelis the pain relief, not 100% but it does tone it down enough to let me fall asleep. I take all my regular meds with no change it doesn't interfere with them at all. It was given to me for back pain, not my nerve pain, I don't think it helps that or my dr. would have told me since I suffer from major nerve pain.

Good Luck

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Old 02-24-2008, 08:44 AM   #5
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Re: Lidoderm Patches....TENS unit

The Lidoderm patches are awesome! I was prescibed them a couple years ago and they work really well. Like you said already they don't make you tired and they take the edge off the pain. I was prescribed them to use up to 3 at a time 12 hours on 12 hours off. I laughed about 3 at a time, 3 won't fit on my back where my pain is but its nice to know that you could use that many, they must be pretty safe.


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Old 02-24-2008, 10:34 AM   #6
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Re: Lidoderm Patches....TENS unit

Hi Deb, I used the patches when my low back pain first started and it was only on & off then. You put the patch right over the painful area and can use up to 3 at a time, 12 hours on/12 hours off like others said. At that time, this was all I was using, no other meds, I had no side effects or anything. It didnt seem to affect me in any way at all. I think it could be harmful if you have kidney or liver disease, though or if you get a skin allergy wearing it. Make sure any children or pets cannot get a hold of the patches, make sure pets can get them out of the garbage b/c they can be toxic to them if ingested. I think they are generally pretty safe. I've even had a bunch of lidocaine injections and worn the rheumy who gave me the shots said it wouldnt over dose and I didnt ahve any problems.

What I was experiencing then is what I now know are back spasms in my low back. I had not started getting any nerve pain or claudication yet. My spasms would get worse the longer I stood or walked. Now, these patches are approved for post shingles nerve pain and some other kind of nerve pain, but they seemed to help control my spasm pain for a little while, anyway. I had to go somewhere that I had to walk all day, so I wore it, and it seemed to help. However, after a few months, it wasnt helping anymore. I didnt know it then, but it was b/c my spine problems were getting worse and I started getting other kinds of pain. As with anything, everyones different so maybe they will help you. They are very expensive, though! Mine was a $75 co-pay with my prescription plan for 30 patches in a box. It is also a bit tricky to put them on your back b/c theres a covering you have to peel back on each side. If you have a husband or someone else around, it might help if they can put it on for you.

Old 02-24-2008, 09:52 PM   #7
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Re: Lidoderm Patches....TENS unit

Hi Deb:
I find that Lidoderm patches sometimes tone down the nerve pain, but they never completely relieve it. Like the others said, it makes it a little more tolerable and I use them mostly on my feet at night. Sometimes I slap one on my lower back or hip if I'm having a bad day, but they don't help me as much there. Harumph! BTW, I had no side effects from using one patch, but I put three on once (back and on each thigh) and ended up really dizzy and nauseated, so I stick to one.

I use a TENS here and there, but don't use it more than once or twice a week since it's not that effective . I had a major flareup yesterday and wore the TENS for about 3 hours while I went about my day. The one thing I make sure I never do is fall asleep with it on. It didn't help tons yesterday, but it did help some. I have never had sore muscles from it -- perhaps you have it turned up too high or maybe your muscles are sore to begin with with spasma? Also -- With the TENS, it's a good idea to vary the settings (like the pulse type of frequency) so that your body doesn't get used to one and start ignoring it, like mine did. Now I zap myself many different ways!

I hope these accessories (ha ha) help you.

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Old 02-25-2008, 08:31 AM   #8
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Re: Lidoderm Patches....TENS unit

hey deb,both the TENS and the lido patches have been godsends for me.the patches only contain 5% lidocaine so there really isn't any side effects from other drugs being in there.its strictly a numbing agent in kind of a gel based configuration.what i really like is thatyou can actually cut them to fit a particular area without doijg anything to the delivery system.they do not effect the kidneys at all.i have both kidney and a liver disease so believe me,i look at everything i use very carefully before i even try it.the only real issue that can happen with these is if you are using the three at a time thing,which personally i have only done at most two at a time,there can be a risk of an affect on your heart rhythem but like i said,only at the highest possible reccomeneded dose.very little risk in using one at a time.they do recommend doing 12 hours on and 12 hours off tho.i have been using these for over four years on a daily basis and they still work for me the very same as when i started them.the tens,the same thing.i use that for my RSD knee flares on an almost daily basis too and it does not develop any real 'tolerance' or just stop working for you.that too works as well as when i started it about two years ago too.i also use the TENS when i know i have to be somewhere for a while and may haveto stand or sit too long,thatwill usually cause me a knee flare.i would veryhighlyrecommend both thelido andthe TENS for you deb.these tools are always worth a good try.with the TENS,the actual electrode placement is crucial in order to obtain the best possible results.going thru a PT place to obtain the unit is the best way to go.they will show you how to use the unit and also show you the best place to place the trodes for your particular pain process.i always criss cross my wires so the current actually goes "thru' my painful works the best when the wires are criss crossed.the PT person will show you.i really do thinkyou should at least give them a try and see how they do for you.thats the only true way of knowing how anything will work for our pain issues.what ireally like the best about using these types of tools formy pain is they aren't being taken orally and causing all kinds of other side effects like the crappy meds we have to kidneys and liver are happy about that.Marcia
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

Old 02-25-2008, 09:48 PM   #9
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Re: Lidoderm Patches....TENS unit

I use both.
I put the Lido patch centered over the spot that hurts the most (L5). I have had the same patch on for close to 24 hrs with no ill effects(shower to shower). The main reason for the 12 hr recommendation is for circulation as Lido is a vasoconstrictor. Long term absorption could also cause problems with a person with cardiac history. It doesn't take away my pain, but cuts the edge to allow more sleep or normal activity.

The Tens unit has been a real help. When I get a bad muscle spasm, I put it on. I like the variability of settings and programs. Ramped and Alternating settings work best for me. I have a two channel (recommended), so I can have 4 elctrodes/patches. I usually run in a X pattern so more muscles get stimulated with less fatigue. You can also run them ll or = withouth having to relocate you patches. Usually 1 hour will give me 3-4+ hours of relief - usually long enough that the spasm is over.
If I want a concentrated session, I put a patch at the lower ribs each side and on each hip. More area can be massaged by putting a patch on each shoulder and hip.
My doctor recommended a variable combination of pain meds, TENS and Lido. By varying the useage, the overall result is improved. Some days, I still have to get out the big guns and use all three at once. Then I cut back to avoid desentizing.
I can do a lot with the TENS unit operating. But I can see why they don't want us to use it while driving. One day. I accidentally leaned on my (trial)open faced unit, triggered the increase button and nearly punched myself. If you have a choice, go for one with a closing cover. It is much better!
Well, gotta go. My back is saying that I have been sitting way too long.

Old 02-26-2008, 04:27 PM   #10
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Re: Lidoderm Patches....TENS unit

how does one get a tens unit?

Old 02-26-2008, 09:06 PM   #11
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Re: Lidoderm Patches....TENS unit

[QUOTE=apocalypto22;3460161]how does one get a tens unit?[/QUOTE]
Your PT or Orthopedist should be able to help you. I got a temporary Rx from my Rehab Doc, got a 30 day trial "loan" through PT, had to keep a log of how well it was helping. Then the Rx for a permanent one. . Unfortunately, not all insurance companies will cover these. They cost about $800. However, Empi (Manufacturer) will give a 50% discount for a self pay. Good luck!

Old 02-27-2008, 07:33 AM   #12
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Re: Lidoderm Patches....TENS unit

hey tumble,i got mine thru Empi too.this was the co my PT used.i rented it for about i think three? months,then i was asked if i wanted to purchase ins co did help pay the rental but didn't pay anything when i decided to buy it.they appear to have a really great customer service set up.i have had no problems in getting my supplies thru them at all.everyone was really nice to work with.

by far,the best possible place to get started with any TENs unit would be thru a PT person referred by your doc of choice(mine was thru my pain clinic doc) and get to know all about them thru the PT,then later,if it works and you decide to purchase one for yourself,you can either but the one you have or look other places for a better deal.but you DO most definitely need to start out using it thru a person who knows all about your particular pain and how to use it just need to fully understand all the benefits of it before you get one on your own,if you should decide to go that route.most places do start out with the rental thing just in case it doesn't workout for you.i cannot remeber the exact numbers but i know my ins co did pay alot of my rental.marcia
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

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