How Often Should a TENS Device Be Used?

10/20/2020 • Shai Gozani M.D., Ph.D.

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A common question from our customers is “How often do I need to use Quell to experience pain relief?”  The simple answer is that you will achieve optimal pain relief if you use Quell whenever you have pain.  Although the experience of chronic pain varies greatly from person to person, it is also true that most people suffer with pain every day.  In fact, among Quell users, 95 percent report daily pain.  And most describe their pain as occurring throughout the day.  So, if your chronic pain is an everyday challenge, you should set a goal of daily Quell use.

TENS Provides Short Acting Pain Relief

One way to think about TENS therapy is that it is similar to a short-acting analgesic.  This means that you will experience pain relief while your nerves are stimulated, and for up to an hour or so after the end of a session.  A good analogy is taking an anti-inflammatory pill, like ibuprofen.  It takes a little time for it to work and then after a few hours the benefit fades.  The good news about Quell is that it is the only truly wearable TENS device so you can use it throughout the day and while sleeping at night, whenever you have pain.  It is designed to automatically start every other hour (or faster, depending on your personal device settings). There is no known downside to neurostimulation, so you have every reason to use it as much as needed.  You can learn more about Quell’s novel automation technology here.

As a point of caution, some TENS manufactures claim that a single short therapy session provides an entire day or even multiple days of pain relief.  However, there is no high-quality scientific data to support such statements.  The one exception is acupuncture like TENS or AL-TENS.  Despite its name, AL-TENS actually has nothing to do with acupuncture.  It is characterized by very strong, uncomfortable, even painful, stimulation for 20-30 minutes.  The stimulation often evokes strong muscle contractions.  There are several clinical studies demonstrating that AL-TENS may provide longer lasting pain relief.   However, most TENS devices do not have sufficient electrical power to provide AL-TENS and the therapy is unacceptable to most pain sufferers, so it is rarely used or is performed by health care professionals.

Does TENS have cumulative effects?

Another common question among Quell users is whether daily use will have a cumulative effect. While we cannot provide a definitive answer, there are reasons to believe that long-term regular use will lead to reduced overall pain levels.  At the very least, regular use can lead to increased activity, better sleep and improved mood – which will enhance your overall health and quality of life.   In summary, the more you use Quell the better your chances of obtaining meaningful pain relief and reclaiming your life from pain.

About The Author
Shai Gozani M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Gozani is an expert in non-invasive neurostimulation. He received his M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Science and Technology. Dr. Gozani earned his Ph.D. in Neurobiology, M.S. in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and B.A. in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley. Following his studies, Dr. Gozani conducted post-doctoral research at Harvard Medical School and MIT. He holds 36 U.S. patents and has authored over 30 articles in scientific and clinical peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Gozani is founder, president and CEO of NeuroMetrix, Inc.; which designs and manufactures Quell.

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