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Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD and CRPS) Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type I) and Causalgia (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type II)(RSD and CRPS)

TENS units

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Unread 06-13-2013, 08:00 PM   #1
SloRian
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Default TENS units

I've heard about TENS units, but I don't have any personal experience with them. I've seen members here and there mention them, so I thought I'd start a thread and ask for people to please share their experience with them! I'm just trying to learn about the different options out there.

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Unread 06-13-2013, 09:39 PM   #2
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I know many on here like them and have found relief with them...I am not one of those people! PT tried it on my hand and it brought me to tears. It aggravated things and made my pain worse.

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Unread 06-14-2013, 03:14 AM   #3
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I'll be interested to see how this thread progresses and how many people find the TENS helps...

I've actually got a unit from when I was pregnant, but I've been scared to try it on the CRPS. I've heard more negatives than positives, and I've read some research that doubts why on earth it would help CRPS given that it's action is to stimulate the nerves in the area - surely the LAST thing you would want in an area of your body already over-reacting to stimuli, and sending repeat pain signals to an area of your brain where that is over-reacting too! My physio (who has been very knowkedgeable about CRPS) was dead against it.

On the other hand, obviously some have had a good experience with it, so maybe it depends on the type of CRPS sensations you have, and how your brain reacts to the increased stimuli? I do get the impression it's a risk, and has the potential to make things worse.

I know the controversial Calmare treatment was found to be basically a TENS machine that pulsed more randomly.

Good thread!

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Unread 06-14-2013, 04:38 PM   #4
catra121
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My TENS unit is one of the only things that makes a significant impact on my pain levels. I wear it every day and run the wires under my pants legs. It helps for my ankle because the pain is in a relatively small area and I can surround that area with the electrodes and it helps with the pain. When it's the more generalized burning pain over a large area...then it doesn't help much. On the other hand...when I get my bad bone crushing flares (which tend to be in a specific spot) then it can help with that pain even if it's in my upper body where the pain is more generalized as opposed to in a specific spot. Does that make sense?

When the pain is particularly bad then I will use the TENS in combination with a heating pad for the best relief.
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Unread 06-14-2013, 05:37 PM   #5
Jo*mar
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If you are having any muscle spasms, cramping, or general achy soreness, I would recommend trying an IFc stim (interferential stimulation) over a TENS.

info & differences -
http://vitalityweb.com/backstore/Muscle-Stimulator.htm

adding..

Many PT places and/or chiropractors have TENS and IF stim available so you could try both to see which might help or not.

Then if it does help often you can buy one for at home for around 100.00 or so.

I bought this one on Amazon (for my RSI/TOS/CMP) -
http://www.amazon.com/4KTM-digital-i...ential+digital
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Last edited by Jo*mar; 06-14-2013 at 08:57 PM. Reason: added info
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Unread 06-14-2013, 08:39 PM   #6
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Ribbon TENS Unit

I get some relief from using mine but having it on for more than 1/2 hr. is usually too much and I have learned that threshold. I use it with a heating pad. You can adjust the stimulation. Yes, too strong of a current would probably aggrivate it.
At least that is external and is instantly removable. I'm facing a SCS implant and that DOES SCARE ME!
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Unread 06-14-2013, 08:55 PM   #7
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TEN's works for my RSD pain post TOS.

My problem is that I often can't use it as the electrodes don't stick correctly when I'm sweating, which is a lot of the time
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Unread 06-17-2013, 04:12 PM   #8
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Hi Jo*mar - I was just going to ask if TENS was the same thing as stim (which we had at PT) then I saw your post - I guess they're different. I'll ask my PT if he also has a TENS machine - good idea. My daughter's pain doc gave us something called a Hivamat, which helped a little bit, mainly in keeping flares away. I think that's something different, though, but it's also an electrical-type thing.


Hi Brambledog,
re Calmare - I have a little different understanding about it and wanted to share a few links, since it was mentioned. My understanding is that although it's similar to a TENS unit, it's substantially different; different enough that it has its own unique and separate U.S. patent : http://www.uspto.gov/web/patents/pat...-20130219.html. Also, it's different enough that one of the most prestigious health organizations in the U.S., the Mayo Clinic, has several official clinical trials underway; here's one : http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/N...rambler&rank=1 . These are both U.S. government websites; not Calmare sites. Anyway, whatever it is, it put my daughter into remission, and she didn't have to get a SCS! I'm still learning about and studying all sorts of different treatments (including TENS, which is why I started this thread), because I know we're talking remission, not cure, with RSD, but I do know that this treatment did wonders for my daughter.

Hi Az-Di,
My daughter was scheduling her SCS when we came across a mention of Calmare and tried it, so we know at least a little what you're feeling I wanted to pass on that the Calmare clinic in Mesa is now not charging for the first few treatments if it doesn't work for the patient (I live in Phoenix). Also, just another bit of info - a mom on another board I'm on said her daughther went into remission with H-Bot (Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy) treatments - that's another non-invasive treatment that you might want to give a try before the SCS. Best of luck! and please let us know how things go.

Could you guys please share a little more how the TENS works? Where do you put the pads (?) in relation to what is hurting the most and/or the original injury site? How often can you use it? Thanks for sharing - it's so good to get people's experience with things!

Last edited by SloRian; 06-17-2013 at 04:37 PM.
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Unread 06-17-2013, 05:00 PM   #9
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Pad placement depends on the area to be covered/treated. Sometimes trial and error on a case by case situation.

There is pad placement info on many sites & even posted around on our other forums, those can be found using the search link in my siggy.

"TENS pad placement" should bring up post or thread results for you.
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Unread 06-17-2013, 06:38 PM   #10
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For my ankle...I place the electrodes around the area that hurts. There are two wires and each have two electrodes at the end which you place across from one another. These are placed so the form an X with the area that hurts in the center of them.

I have found that I have to put the machine on a constant setting as opposed to one that is variable or pulsing. I have found the variable ones tend to cause flare ups instead of helping them. I set it at the lowest setting that provides relief and then increase the power as needed during treatment. I run it for one hour at a time but leave it on me (as in attached to me but not necessarily turned on) all day, turning it on as needed throughout the day for an hour at a time. It's usually several hours between treatments depending on what I am doing but I never run it more than once in four hours.

I do the same when I have a flare in my arms or another area...as long as the area is small enough that I can surround it with the electrodes like on my ankle.
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