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Old 08-12-2012, 01:55 PM   #1
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TENS unit?

It's been suggested to me on the PM boards about trying a TENS unit. What exactly is it and how does it work? Is it like the e-stim machine they use in physical therapy? Do I need a rx for it? I'm looking into it because I need something to supplement the pain meds. I just would like some more info and its uses in fibro before I bring it up to my rheumy. Thanks!

 
Old 08-12-2012, 04:14 PM   #2
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Re: TENS unit?

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Originally Posted by waters04 View Post
It's been suggested to me on the PM boards about trying a TENS unit. What exactly is it and how does it work? Is it like the e-stim machine they use in physical therapy? Do I need a rx for it? I'm looking into it because I need something to supplement the pain meds. I just would like some more info and its uses in fibro before I bring it up to my rheumy. Thanks!
Waters04

TENS is short for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation...It is a machine that could be used in physical therapy, but I've seen it used in chiropractor's offices. It's the "feely" good machine I call it. You put the electrode pads on the area that hurts and it stimulates the nerve endings through the skin. For me, as long as I use one the pain stays at low levels, but soon as I'm not using it the pain returns. It is a wonderful thing to have in addition to your pain management. I'm pretty sure you have to have a prescription for it from a Doctor if you need your insurance to pay for it, I've seen some on the internet also. If I were to get one for myself I would talk to my Doctor first, get a script for it, and pick it up at a Medical Supply store.I'm not sure for it's uses in Fibro, but if your pain is acute in 1 or 2 areas or less, it may be beneficial for you.

Last edited by lehcar; 08-12-2012 at 04:17 PM. Reason: spelling and additional info

 
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Old 08-12-2012, 06:39 PM   #3
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Re: TENS unit?

Yes, It is the same as e-stim done in physical therapy. I had e-stim during physical therapy and I also get it done at my chiropractor appointments, but the chiro just calls it "stim".

 
Old 08-13-2012, 05:17 AM   #4
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Re: TENS unit?

I use a TENS, but for my back not fibro. It does wonders for that, if it's going to be an active day the first thing I reach for is my TENS. Fibro pain wanders about the body so much I'd be moving patches all the time. There are also places like your chest, near your heart that is shouldn't be placed. I have tried to use it to try and break up back spasms, but it did not work for that.
If you have skin sensitivity the pads can have a tendency to irritate a little bit. I find that varies from patch to patch. This last batch I bought are real irritating.

 
Old 08-13-2012, 06:16 AM   #5
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Re: TENS unit?

If it's the same as an e-stim from PT, and it sounds like it is, I would really like to have one. It did wonders for me at PT, I had 20 minutes of it on my shoulder before they started the PT exercises.

Now for the problem, I'm TERRIFIED to ask my dr about one. Any suggestions for how I can bring it up? I was thinking I could say I'm trying to cut down on the pain meds and it helped me in PT? I know I shouldn't be, but I'm scared of my doctor...lol. last time the nurse made a mistake on my meds and the nurse was very rude, called me s drug seeker and said the dr would absolutely not refill them. (They did get filled via the NP a few days later). But I don't know how to ask him for one.

Ideas?

 
Old 08-13-2012, 07:03 AM   #6
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Re: TENS unit?

it's a thing not a drug. just ask straight out. tell him you heard about them and want to try it. i was in pt and they mentioned it. they said call your doc and have her send us and order. i had it in 3 days.
they really have you scared at that doctors office. so sad. maybe it's time to shop around for a doctor you do not fear. pointless to have one you don't feel comfortable talking to about options.
peace,
blue

 
Old 08-13-2012, 08:24 AM   #7
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Re: TENS unit?

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Originally Posted by bluelakelady View Post
it's a thing not a drug. just ask straight out. tell him you heard about them and want to try it. i was in pt and they mentioned it. they said call your doc and have her send us and order. i had it in 3 days.
they really have you scared at that doctors office. so sad. maybe it's time to shop around for a doctor you do not fear. pointless to have one you don't feel comfortable talking to about options.
peace,
blue
You can get a nice little portable unit with pads for under $60 on the internet. I bought one for myself and then got a spare. My physio says it is a great little unit.

I use it for spinal pain and the piriformis syndrome that comes with it.

I was recently TOLD I had fibromyalgia (I am a bit skeptical) and have yet to use it for my migrating bone/muscle pain. I may start though.

 
Old 08-13-2012, 01:39 PM   #8
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Re: TENS unit?

Yes his office does have me scared to death. The doctor seemed nice, but the nurse is a %^&*. I'm sure you all can figure out what that word is supposed to be. The NP was a little looney, kept trying to put me on meds I cannot take due to the bipolar. I'm seeing the dr in about 1 month. I think the nurse made up a lot of stuff and those were her accusations not the dr's when I called about the refill of the pills. I'm going to give him one more shot, but if I have to deal with that bumbling idiot of a nurse who wrote the rx wrong, I guess I'll have to find another dr.

 
Old 08-13-2012, 02:19 PM   #9
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Re: TENS unit?

make sure you tell the doctor you prefer not to deal with his np and only deal with him. most doctors will respect your wishes and a smart one will ask why. tell him if he does.
i have dr's i refuse to see but i see their np's. be honest. it's always worth it. his reaction will tell you everything you need to know.
peace,
blue

 
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:55 AM   #10
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Re: TENS unit?

my appointment isn't until sept so I have to wait. I'm trying to avoid the evil nurse. I thought it was this month, but apparently not. Thank you for the great suggesions. I'll make sure to tell him I don't want to see the NP and why. He seems like a nice doctor, but his NP is way off on the wrong page, and the nurse is just plain awful.

 
Old 08-18-2012, 07:55 AM   #11
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Re: TENS unit?

I'm with Blue...but also, I would talk to the Nurse about how you feel. Sometimes talking out the way you feel will help the nurse become a better people person.But, then again I'm not one to harbor my feelings when it comes to my health. That's what they get paid for so let the nurse hear your opinions.... Good Luck
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Old 08-18-2012, 01:21 PM   #12
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Re: TENS unit?

Thanks. I'm thinking of scheduling a sooner appointment so it coincides with when the pain meds run out. And then I can ask him about the TENS unit. I don't know if that's the way to go or if I should just call for my refill and wait.

 
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