Men With Fibromyalgia

Men With Fibro => General Discussion => Topic started by: augoldminer on November 12, 2010, 07:26:28 AM

Title: what is the best way to use a TENS unit.
Post by: augoldminer on November 12, 2010, 07:26:28 AM
Just got a TENS unit at a thrift store($10) and wondering what is the best way to use it for fibro.

The one i got is a Bio Med plus and it looks new and unused.

Looks like someone got it and did not like it or did not know how to use it and finely gave it away to the thrift store.

it had the leads and pads all there.

Title: Re: what is the best way to use a TENS unit.
Post by: Lucky1 on November 12, 2010, 12:00:43 PM
 Wow ,I would love to try 1tens@$10.     Being a Wild & Crazy guy, I'd just set 'er on low, start adjusting  or,fiddlen' , find the best locations for the pads.  Then like a mad scientist, on a STORMY night, Crank It Up!!                   IF YOU DARE!!    Good luck with it , give us a report.     

Title: Re: what is the best way to use a TENS unit.
Post by: foxgrove on November 12, 2010, 12:11:53 PM
SWEET!!!!!  OK..  Here's what I know of the TENS in as few words as I can manage..  TENS works best for localized pain as opposed to generalized pain.  It won't really help for the overall achiness but it's FABULOUS for dealing with specific pain spots.. muscle cramps.. CMP trigger points.. things like that.

Generally the best way to use it is to target the same general points you would use in acupuncture or trigger point therapy.  The idea is to work on the source of the pain not necessarily where it presents...  For muscle cramps.. the source of the pain is the centre of the cramp mass.  For maximum effectiveness in one area, use a technique called bracketing.. Here's how...

  • Pinpoint the centre of the pain source.. if the area is hairy, CUT the hair short.. do NOT shave it!!
  • Draw an imaginary x over the area about 6-8 inches long.. mark the endpoints in your head.. or with a marker if you think you will forget.
  • At the points of the x is where you are going to place the electrodes
  • Put the red and black electrodes from one lead at opposite ends of each line of the x.. not above or beside one another but diagonally
  • Put the red and black electrodes from the other lead lead in similar fashion at the ends of the other imaginary line
  • Clean the area where the pads will go with a little alcohol swab
  • Prep your pads.. a little ultrasound gel on the centre of each pad
  • Apply the pads and angle the leads in a way that they will not jam on things when you sit or move

If you have problems getting them to stick, use a wide medical tape with some stretch in it..

It's going to take some experimenting to find exactly the right program on your TENS.  Try one setting.. low power level.  Increase the power level just to the point of discomfort and then back off a couple of notches.  

If you want to try a different setting, make sure you drop the power levels back to 0 before you do.  That way you won't have to tear electrodes off in agony if the next setting causes you pain..  

If you find that you aren't getting relief after about 10 minutes, see if you can find another trigger point that might be causing the localized pain.  I find that if I use my fingers to find the triggerpoint that is causing the pain, I can get a really good TENS session and the relief lasts longer... at least a few hours.

Experiment.. it's yours to play with now.. Find what works best for you.  Avoid using it near your heart for obvious reasons but other than that, the sky's the limit.  Just remember to start with low power and find that spot where the pain kinda disappears.  It's very cool when you get there.  You can try different types of patches as well.. the most common (and least cost effective) are the stick on, throw away ones.. The two that I prefer are the carbon ones (you have to tape them on but they last forever) and the self sticking ones that you can re-activate by washing them.  They're good for a couple of hundred uses before they turn into tape on pads.

I checked the settings that I use.  The most effective general setting is a pulse rate of 80Hz and a width of around 180Ás on continuous mode.  For sensitive areas, I modify the width to around 60Ás.  Hope this gives you some good base settings. :budy:

Let us know how it goes brother!!!  :biggrin:

Title: Re: what is the best way to use a TENS unit.
Post by: Randall on November 12, 2010, 02:32:06 PM
Congrat's augoldminer!  Electronic therapy has been one of my most consistent helps.  It's electrified my life!
I hope u find a lot of relief w/ it.
If anyone else wants one, seems like I've seen some on ebay too.

Title: Re: what is the best way to use a TENS unit.
Post by: Zathras on November 12, 2010, 02:59:21 PM
Foxgrove's information was on the mark but I would add just a couple of things.

The pulse rate and pulse width settings should be higher if you are using it on a large muscle such as the hip where it needs to penetrate deeper. Since my hip is my biggest problem my unit is set to a pulse width of 220 and a pulse rate of 120.

If your unit has a massage setting try that one. It uses the settings that you have as the maximum and then lowers and raises the current level to massage the area that you are targeting. Information about the settings and options should be in the owner's manual.

To find the area where you need to apply the electrodes use your thumb and press firmly to find the spot where the pain level is the highest. Not really pleasant but very effective.

If you have the carbon pads (and they are far superior to the self adhesive ones as they conduct the current much better) and need to tape them in place don't bother with medical tape. Find a sporting goods store and ask for Trainer's Tape or some call it Skin Tape. This is the stuff that athletic trainers use to tape up joints etc. for athletes that require extra support during practice and games. It is far cheaper than medical tape and sticks much better. In fact being a person who sweats a lot I use this for first aid tape. A little gauze and a strip of this and I have a band-aid that will only come off when I decide to pull it off unless it gets really soaked.

Title: Re: what is the best way to use a TENS unit.
Post by: foxgrove on November 12, 2010, 06:40:33 PM
Thanks CB.. yes.. THAT'S the tape I was thinking of.  I was going to call it athletic tape but the only type of that I could think of was hockey tape and that was all wrong.  I'm still experimenting and what I have currently is a version of that.  Skin Tape... I think that's the phrase that got me this one... the folks at the physiotherapy places know exactly what you mean when you say that. :clapping:

oh... and thank you for the new settings.  I'll have to try those for my hip!!! (ahhhhh  pain relief!!!  :biggrin: )

Title: Re: what is the best way to use a TENS unit.
Post by: Zathras on November 13, 2010, 12:11:27 AM
I'm not CB but you are welcome anyway Fox. I hope that those settings will make the pain in your hip go away or at least down a few notches.

Title: Re: what is the best way to use a TENS unit.
Post by: foxgrove on November 13, 2010, 02:35:01 AM
lol..  blind too..  something to tell doc at the next visit I guess.. :lmao:  Sorry Zath.  chalk it up to distraction

Title: Re: what is the best way to use a TENS unit.
Post by: BRPFan on November 13, 2010, 05:05:43 AM
Wow a TENS unit ah? Back in 1990 or 1991 when I was almost a permanent resident of our local Hospital they gave me a TENS unit to see if it would be able to reduce the pain. Sadly it did not work for me so they continued with Demerol shots every 4 hours. Man my butt looked like a pin cushion! 

Title: Re: what is the best way to use a TENS unit.
Post by: countryboy on November 13, 2010, 05:52:48 PM
Didn't want to burst your bubble Fox as you were on a roll.   :lmao:   I use my TENs unite mainly for my hips and the very lower part of my back.  Right near the tail bone.  That makes it a little difficult for sitting and squirming around in the recliner, but with the settings at 220 and 120 I also seem to get the best results.

I normally leave mine one for about 1 to 1 1/2 hrs at a time.  Then I move it to the other side.  Not as good for me as hot water soaking, but can't get into the regular tub any more anyway.  The hot tub still works wonders for me.  Really hard to manage the getting in and out, but have steps up to the side.  Man, sitting on the edge so I can life my legs with my hands to get them in and out really makes the butt hurt for a while.  Just waiting for the day when I need help getting back out as it will be like trying to land a big fish with light line.

Title: Re: what is the best way to use a TENS unit.
Post by: foxgrove on November 16, 2010, 12:05:21 AM
No bubble to burst there brother.  I am gleaning some WONDERFUL new information from this post and have been trying some of it our..  (ok.. I'll be honest.. I never got into the programming mode of my tens before this and now I'm REALLY loving it!!)

Thank you guys so much for constantly stretching my knowledge and making me always go back to the board and start with a fresh approach.  I truly think that this is where some of the real benefits of a community can be felt.  Each of us has these little things that we know because we've tried them or heard them or something of the sort.  By sharing them like this, we ALL learn and benefit.  This is super exciting stuff!!! :clapping:  Keep it going guys!!!