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HIV PLus 12/12/2015

Quelling My Pain

Nearly 50 percent of Americans cope with chronic pain, which is a condition that persists for a long period, may have indefinable causes, and doesn’t respond well to traditional treatments. Living with HIV and its complications can exacerbate or even lead to chronic pain conditions.

I’ve lived with chronic pain  for decades now and have tried strategies including acupuncture, physical therapy, narcotics, energy work, seeing a shrink, and using transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS. TENS involves a little machine that sends stimulating pulses along your nerves through electrodes to prevent pain signals from reaching your brain, and it does so while increasing your endorphins.

Quell Wearable Pain Relief

I have had a TENS unit for about 10 years now as part of my regular pain treatment toolkit, but it has its downsides, which is why I jumped at the chance to try a device called the Quell. The Quell uses transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation to provide relief from chronic pain.

But instead of working only on localized pain where the electrodes are attached, the Quell treats your whole body by suppressing the sensation of pain. Using patented technology, the Quell is the only device of its kind approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and it’s been proven effective in treating painful diabetic neuropathy and other neuropathic pain like sciatica, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis, among other conditions.

More like a FitBit than a TENS unit, the Quell has no wires. It is a sleek, lightweight, and wearable device perfect for the iPhone generation. You wear the device around your calf under your clothing. I managed to wear skinny jeans, but a word from the wise: Avoid wearing anything too tight or it becomes more difficult to manage.

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