This review is not service dog-related, but it does have to do with fibromyalgia and chronic pain.
My readers probably all know I have chronic pain. I have back pain due to degenerative disk disease and a couple of herniated disks. I also have osteoarthritis in my knees and hands. And I have fibromyalgia, which causes pain in all sorts of places.
I can’t take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen because I had gastric bypass surgery. I take used to have prescription pain medication but no one wants to prescribe it anymore. I’ve tried some other treatments, like chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy and steroid injections, which provided a little relief. Acupuncture helps. I am also on meds for the fibro. I still have pain on a daily basis, though.
I was at a local drugstore, looking at warming ointments like Bengay, when I spotted the Omron electro-therapy device. It is similar to a TENS unit, if you're familiar with those. I was curious about it but not certain it would really help with my pain. But it was on sale, marked down from $59.99 to just $39.99. So I decided to give it a try.
The device comes with two sticky pads, which are actually electrodes. These are placed on the body, on either side of the area where one has pain. For instance, to relieve pain in my elbow, I place one pad on my arm just above my elbow and the other on my arm just below my elbow. The pads are connected to the device with wires. It kind of resembles a CD player with earphones that are connected by wires.
The control has three settings: one designed to relieve arm pain, one designed to relieve back pain and one designed to relieve leg pain. It sends out little tingly zaps of electricity to the sticky pads, which vary in pattern somewhat depending on which setting you choose. It feels like tingling and tapping. You can see the muscle jumping a bit under the skin, which is rather odd-looking.
You can adjust the intensity level of the stimulation from one to five. When I put the pads above and below my elbow and selected the setting for relieving arm pain, I couldn’t feel a thing on the lowest setting. When I increased it to two, I could feel it, but barely. When I increased it again to three, I could feel it well. I suspect it would have been uncomfortable on a higher setting, but I wasn’t brave enough to actually try it. Every time you turn on the device, it starts out at level one. That way you’re never surprised by a greater level of intensity than you want or expect.
The device shuts off automatically after 15 minutes. The instructions say not to use it for more than 30 minutes at a time and not more than three times a day, though I didn’t find an explanation of why it was recommended not to use it more than that. After 15 to 30 minutes, I feel ready to turn it off anyway, though. It’s a kind of strange sensation and I wouldn’t like having it on all the time.
The one thing I don't like is that the sticky pads get un-sticky after a while and need to be replaced and that gets expensive. The package says they are supposed to last for 150 uses, but if I use the device daily, that means they just last a month or two. Then they don't stick well.
I love this device, though. When I use it on my elbow, I have no pain at all while I’m using the device. When I stop using it, the pain returns, but it’s so nice to have a break from the pain which has been constant for the last few months. When I use it on my back, I have no pain while using the device and my back feels better, though not completely pain-free, for a while after using it. I know it’s not a cure for the problems that are causing my pain, but it’s absolutely marvelous to experience some relief and to be able to get relief regularly and reliably, even if just for a short time. I highly recommend trying this if you have ongoing muscular-skeletal pain.