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Success with TENS unit

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  • Success with TENS unit

    As the title of the thread says I have just recently got a TENS unit but am already having great success. I understood the treatment was to tighten my muscles and to "refresh" them in a way by increasing blood flow - so basically I knew I would have to be patient as it could be something that only helps in the long term. But in actuality it immediately helped out a pain I get all throughout my abdomen and kept me from using my Vicodin on days I would have normally taken it. It hasn't helped as much when I have severe bladder pain, but I will be very grateful if it helps keep from taking the narcotic as much! And did I mention it feels to me like getting a massage? I highly recommend IC patients (especially if you also suffer from back pain) asking for this. Especially if you are like me and can't stand medicinal side effects - this has none, so it's a no brainer to try since there is nothing to lose! I will have to post again later and let you guys know how I do in the long term, but it makes me very optimistic that it's working now!
    Have had IC symptoms since childhood, but did not seek serious treatment or become diagnosed until I was in college.

    24 yo F

    I've had a cystectomy with an Indiana Pouch. It was a success and has helped my symptoms and pain immensely.

  • #2
    Isn't it a great little machine? Mine worked the first second too. Wore it 24/7 even. Only thing is try and change the setting on it. I didn't do that all the yers I wore it and the old bladder got used to it and none of the other settings would work so had to give it up. Hope it keeps helping you.


    • #3

      I am very interested in learning how you got results. I just got a tens unit also. I hope it helps because lately I have been in so much more pain in my bladder = don't know what I did, or ate. I am really careful with the IC diet because it seems like anything hurts. I also have pudendal nerve pain and can't sit. It has been awful lately. Keep us updated on your tens progress. Thanks....
      [SIZE="2"][FONT="Lucida Console"]
      My blog:
      1995 - Original symptoms: urethral pain and knife in the left side of vulva. Dx'd with "urethral syndrome" 1997- Dx'd with IC (potassium test) by Dr. Lowell Parsons. Tried all "usual" IC treatments, Elmiron, Atarax, DMSO, heparin, lidocaine instillations. 2000- First hydrodistention by Dr. Daniel Curhan, classic IC glomerulations & mast cells. 2005 - 2nd hydrodistention by Dr. Christopher Payne, Stanford University; dx'd with "refractory" Interstitial Cystitis. 2006 - Dx'd with left pudendal neuralgia by Dr. Jerome Weiss, had two unguided nerve blocks, pain worsened. 2008 - Botox, unguided intravaginal blocks (*WARNING* risk of further damage) by Dr. Felicia Lane; PT with Julie Sarton. 2010 - PNE (Pudendal Nerve Entrapment) surgery, TG approach, by Dr. Michael Hibner. (FAILED) 2011- PNE surgery by Dr. A. Lee Dellon, frontal approach. (FAILED)
      Jan, 2012 - Dx'd with "centralized pain" by Dr. Joshua Prager, UCLA Pain Management. 3-day ketamine infusion, nearly pain-free!!! Bad news: Bladder flared as ketamine is known bladder irritant. Oct, 2012 - Pain pump trial on Dr. Prager's recommendation. Awesome results!
      Nov. 13, 2012 - Surgery to implant intrathecal pain pump, which has been a lifesaver! Success at last! Thank you Dr. Prager!


      • #4
        ICsmiles, it is still working - I guess it's been a couple weeks now! Some days I forget to use it, but I certainly don't forget on days when I have pain. Not all ICers have this, but I find it is most effective on my back pain, and sometimes my abdominal pain (unfortunately it does not work at all, or at least not yet, on my very deep bladder pain). Usually if I wear it more than 20 minutes it irritates my skin from the tingly feeling, but it seems to be long enough to work. It happens to help me right away, but I wouldn't give up (you can ask yours too, but my rep said it could potentially take even a couple months to work; I know that sucks, and I hope you can feel relief sooner than that!). I do not have pudendal nerve pain (or really know what it is), but I often have more pain when I sit too long; going on short walks or running errands usually helps with that. Also, many times I have more pain in my bladder for no identifiable reason at all. Sorry to hear you are having some bad days - it looks like you have had to deal with IC for a long time! *hugs*
        Have had IC symptoms since childhood, but did not seek serious treatment or become diagnosed until I was in college.

        24 yo F

        I've had a cystectomy with an Indiana Pouch. It was a success and has helped my symptoms and pain immensely.


        • #5
          tens units ?'s

          My husband was "borrowed" a tens unit for his shoulder after surgery.I have heard alot about these on here, can anyone explain about them and how to use them for abdominal pain and bladder pain. Like the settings and how long I'd appreciate any info you can give me.
          My husband said if it helped me we would buy one possibly.

          Thanks, MaryJo


          • #6
            MaryJo - to answer your questions. First, my unit is not quite a TENS unit, but I call it that because it's so close and something a lot of ICers understand so I'm not sure what I do for mine is exactly like what you would do on a TENS. Mine came with some preset, unchangeable settings (for how many seconds it's on and how many it relaxes) and some I can change (the intensity). I must say when I asked my rep what the unchangeable settings were she said it actually made a difference for a person who was using the machine right out of surgery (they have to have a longer relaxing time). Sooo, if you can't change this setting it may not be right for you.

            Maybe somebody else (esp. a support volunteer) could chime in. I had to have a prescription to obtain mine and learn what settings I should use so I'm not sure I should give advice to other patients if there is a possibility only a doctor should. But, like I said if I'm wrong maybe somebody who knows more can contribute. I hope you can find some more answers; I wouldn't see any reason it would hurt to ask your doctor and see what they know about it.
            Have had IC symptoms since childhood, but did not seek serious treatment or become diagnosed until I was in college.

            24 yo F

            I've had a cystectomy with an Indiana Pouch. It was a success and has helped my symptoms and pain immensely.


            • #7
              T.E.N.S. unit

              Thanks for the info I want to try the tens and see.......



              • #8
                I have used a TENS unit a few times during my PT sessions. So far, I haven't really noticed that it has helped. But my PT wants to continue to try it for a few more sessions. She said sometimes it takes a few times before it actually helps. I'm hoping it might help with some of this nerve pain, or central sensitization as my doc calls it.
                Update! Feeling much better these days and no longer on any meds!

                Pelvic pain began July 2008. Urinary frequency began in November of 2008. IC Doctor says I'm one of the worst frequency patients he has had.

                Things that helped me the most: IC Diet, Elavil (30mg), Elmiron since June '09 (500mg/day).

                Previously tried and quit: one series of six instillations, Neurontin, Ditropan, Oxytrol, electric stimulation to the pelvic floor, Desert Harvest Aloe, Cystoprotek and Flomax, Hydroxyzine (50mg), Alesse Birth control (this helped my period flares when my symptoms used to be bad), PTNS (I think this helped).



                • #9
                  IF 3 Wave better than TENS for IC pain

                  My daughter, who has terrible IC pain, is using an IF 3 Wave, which has a specific program for IC in it. It is manufactured by EMPI. I got an EMPI rep to contact her doctor, who then had the rep come to her office to show the doctor how the unit works. She had my daughter come in to learn how to use it. The company will submit for insurance coverage; if your insurance doesn't cover it, you can lease it for $100 a month. After a year, you own it. Her pain is so bad, even heavy duty drugs don't completely eradicate it, but this unit helps alot. Most doctors don't seem to know about it, so you have to educate them. Look the unit up on, copy the information, and send it to your doctor. Good luck.


                  • #10
                    tens unit advice,
                    Be careful with the leeds they are expensive to replace, I was burned by one, it really PMO but I got new leeds and it was ok again.
                    Then the suplier of the pads changed and now the pads I have make my skin itch so keep track of the name of the pads you use (the sticky pads)
                    and if you want the pads to last longer and not get gross so fast put them in the freezor when you are not using them it slows down the growth of bacteria in them.
                    I loved my tens unit I hope I can find my old brand of pads and use my tens unit again.
                    Good luck!


                    • #11
                      I had my first PT appt and she mentioned the TENS unit but also said that she heard they aren't used as much anymore. I tried to Google it, but didn't come up with any IC videos.
                      symptoms when in a flare:

                      I feel everything in my urethra but I know its really my bladder. Pressure, stinging, urgency,tingling feeling thats hard to describe.
                      *I have a fibroid on my uterus near my bladder.

                      100mg Amitripyline ( I have seriously gained almost 50lbs on this drug but I feel it works)
                      Flexoril 10mg (doesn't work)
                      Hydrocodone 5/325 PRN
                      Cetalopram 40mg *severe anxiety over flare

                      Physical therapy hasnt really helped but I love her! I've learned so much! She states that my muscles around
                      My urethra are very tight.

                      currently seeing a Gyn in my town and a Uro in Seattle (4 hrs away)

                      I have had lots of long term remissions. Currently been struggling with good & bad days since Jan 2012

                      find me on Facebook! Brandy Schildknecht Covington


                      • #12
                        bjcov, Hey I have heard that some doctors really like it for IC pain and others do not.

                        You should ask to try one out.

                        With my FMS and IC I find that the tens-unit provides me with a distraction from the pain.

                        My friend 'B' doesnt like his tens unit for his back pain.

                        It works for some people and not for others.

                        When I dialed in the level I needed to help me it was just fine. If you cant find the right power level I can see it being difficult to 'take.' If you get a chance to try one make sure you start off with the dials set on low and slowly increase the strength. There are different pulses you can use also with the settings. When I use mine I have it set on 'C 'for constant, and there is an ' I ' on mine for intermediate, and a 'P' for pulse. And ALWAYS dial it down and turn it off before you take the leads and pads off and put them on.



                        • #13
                          I have one...

                          I just got one last week to put on my neck/shoulders for migraine headaches. I started physical therapy in the hopes to get them under control, but unfortunately a lot of my head pain is neuropathic. I get stabbed in the eye and such. It's awesome.

                          Anyway, could you describe where to put the lead wires for bladder pain? I figure it's worth a try on my next flare. Yes, I know I'm supposed to have the physical therapist tell me where to put them for different types of pain, but I'm not seeing him for like a month.

                          Exposure to an unclean hot tub 2-17-07 FIRST UTI
                          (Got ringworm-like sores from it before)
                          (Someone else got what looked like 'eye herpes')
                          (My husband got an ear infection. We were all just sitting there!)
                          SYMPTOMS: Severe Urgency/Frequency for 18 months, food sensitivity, widespread nerve pains (random and everywhere), deep bladder pain that developed into flares at 4 months. Completely unreasonable diet sensitivity.
                          TESTS: Nothing showed in urine cultures, CT scan, Cystoscopy, Lumbar puncture, back and brain MRIs, EMG tests.
                          Hydrodistension Surgery/Biopsy showed minor glomerulations, inflammatory and mast cells, and a rare eosinophil. Blood tests show elevated ANA.
                          CONFUSED: My hands and feet started falling asleep. I got twitching nerves or muscles everywhere. I started having concentration and memory problems, vision problems, then fatigue and chronic migraines. Fibromyalgia diagnosed, SSDI disability awarded at 4 years, then gone at 7 years. Won the appeal. IBS and esophagus spasms at 6 years.
                          MEDICATIONS: Marcaine/Heparin/Sodium Bicarb instills, Lyrica, Nortriptyline, Uribel. Paxil and Trazadone from before. Painkillers as needed. Supplements include CystoProtek, DH Aloe, Colostrum.
                          PREVIOUS CONDITIONS: Sudden onset of double vision, Paxil Discontinuation Syndrome, PTSD