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Ten out of Ten for TENS

I have this fabulous little “machine” called a TENS machine.  It helps with the joint pain I get from “shattered” hips.

Last week I saw my specialist who says I need 2 hip replacements.  He says he’s not surprised I’m in pain.  He says he’s surprised I can put my socks on at all.  He says this after looking at my x-rays.

When my GP first saw my x-rays he said “A lot of operations for you”.  I’m telling you this so you know how bad the pain is likely to be.  I’m not always in pain though.  When I’m sitting comfortably in a chair or lying in exactly the right way in bed I can forget for a while that all is not ok.  Sometimes I’m only stiff, not in pain.

The worst time is when I’ve been out in the garden or shopping.  That’s when I can really suffer.  My hip joints – and to some extent knee joints – get really painful when I’ve been bending or kneeling.  I try not to do either but in a garden you can’t get away from it entirely.  Shopping is just plain horrible.  The hard concrete surfaces of shopping centre floors are murder on the legs and hips.  And that slow strolling you do when you’re shopping is also a killer.

So, my strategy for dealing will all this is:

  • hot water bottle on the lower back
  • arthritis cream on the affected joints
  • a couple of panadol
  • and my TENS machine wherever there is pain.

What is TENS?

It stand for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) and works by passing mild  electrical impulses through the skin, via electrode pads, into the nerve fibres which lie below.  The TENS impulses help your body produce its own pain killing chemicals, such as ‘endorphins’.

The level of pain relief obtained varies from person to person but for me, it’s fantastic.

TENS produces electrical signals to stimulate nerves via self-adhesive pads. This releases endorphins, and disrupts the pain signal to the brain, effectively reducing the pain sensation.

I have the Hi-Dow brand although I believe there are many other brands as well.  They are quite expensive (mine cost $200) and they look more like an iPod than a pain relief machine.  The good thing is it’s so compact that you can wear it in the car or when you’re walking or whatever.

One of the drawbacks is that the little pads that attach to your skin eventually wear out (about 150 applications but if you use the pads four or five times at a sitting they only last for about a month) and they are quite expensive to replace – $15 for two.  However, I’m here to say that they are well worth it.  To me, this little machine is a miracle.

There are drugs I can take to minimise the pain.  A  neighbour of mine is on morphine and while it works well for her, she has to get a new script every month (visit to the doctor) and she gets terribly constipated.  Everything you do comes with another little hiccup, when all you really want is for the problem to be fixed and no side effects.  Well the TENS machine is as close as it gets for me.  No side effects, no doctor’s visits.

Ya gotta love it!

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1 comment to Ten out of Ten for TENS

  • Sue Reid

    Hi. Glad you are finding pain relief with your TENS machine. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t think of it when you posted that you had osteo – my brother has used a tens machine for many years, it is about the only thing that helps somewhat with his pain levels in back and hips.
    Hope things are settling down for you after your flood battles and glad that you are back into your website!

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