TENS Under the Hood: Treatment Monitoring
This is the ninth post in a series exploring how TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) devices work. Our intention is to go “under the hood” of these valuable pain relief devices to help you understand their operation. We explore key technical specifications and operating principles. We hope this information is useful when deciding on a TENS device for your particular needs.
Throughout the series we have focused how TENS devices stimulate nerves. Although nerve activation is the core purpose of a TENS device, it is also essential to guide the user towards a safe and effective pain relief outcome. In this respect, a TENS device should be a pain relief solution rather than only a tool. Read on to learn about functionality that has been incorporated into some TENS devices to achieve this goal.
Most people with chronic pain experience daily pain that may persist throughout the day and disrupt sleep at night. TENS is believed to produce analgesia during stimulation and for a short time afterwards. Therefore, frequent treatment is required for effective chronic pain management. Adhering to a schedule can be challenging due to time constraints and competing priorities. Wearable TENS devices, such as Quell®, facilitate regular use by reducing the need to interact with the device. Adherence can also be encouraged by providing feedback through therapy monitoring. Useful treatment variables include the number of completed sessions (each typically 30-60 minutes) and total treatment time each day. Quell goes further with a therapy coach that guides the user during the first 60-days to help establish an effective TENS habit. The figure below shows therapy tracking screens from the Quell mobile app.
Skin Health Monitoring
A potential downside of frequent TENS treatment is the development of skin irritation due to the prolonged presence of electrodes on the skin. It is generally safe to keep electrodes on the skin for 4-5 hours at a time or overnight. Therefore, it is important to remind the user to regularly ventilate the skin under the electrodes to prevent a skin reaction. Quell is the only TENS device that has a patented on-skin time alert that reminds the user to air out their skin (e.g., for 10-15 minutes) every few hours and in the morning after overnight use.
If you would like to read more posts in the TENS Under the Hood series, please click here.
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