Page 1 of 1

research on use of TENS for PLMs and query

Posted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:44 pm
by wantok ... IFinal.pdf

Can anyone with successful (or unsuccessful for that matter) experience with TENS placement share their experience? Thanks. (Particularly interested in those whose principal complaint is PLMs.)


Re: research on use of TENS for PLMs and query

Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:37 am
by XenMan
TENs use, based on other posts is variable; as you would expect with this condition. I know you want a ‘do this’ to get results, but that won’t really help because we are all different. So if you want to have success it requires an understanding of what is happening with your body, then lots of experimentation. You will also need to expect that bad things will happen and things can get worse, but this is a very good thing as it means your condition is variable and not fixed. If you can make it worse, you can make it better.

I don’t want to start the usual philosophical debates on RLS, so if you disagree I’m fine with that and there are already plenty of hostile responses all over the other posts, so I will present your side here; ‘RLS is a neurological condition’, ‘ it is from low dopamine’, ‘it is from low iron’, ‘pharmaceuticals are the only solution’ ‘this didn’t help me so it won’t work for anyone’.

I use a TENs muscle stimulator (EMS) combination so this may be different with just TENs. So when using a TENs machine you are relying on targeting trigger points; mostly in calf muscles but the principle is the same everywhere. Tight muscles can usually be felt, and symptoms can also indicate the muscles triggering them. There is also a very different state of the trigger points when sleeping or even in bed just before going to sleep. It is a long description in itself but for simplicity let’s just say awake or sleep mode.

In awake mode you can ease some the tension which may or may not help when in sleep mode. In sleep mode the TENs just absolutely messes with the whole RLS symptom process if you can hit the right spot.

One thing to definitely don’t do is have one pad on one leg and the other on the other leg. This made my RLS horrendous. You can do both legs with dual electrodes, but use the same pad pairs on the same leg.

For experimentation you can try at the top of the back of the leg for the sciatic nerve, and behind the knee for the nerves branching to the calf. Some have even found success on lower back. All these hit the main nerves and reset them for 3 to 4 hours.

You can try to target muscles with the pads along them, or a pad on either side of the calf to try hit the inner muscles. In awake mode I have on a few occasions triggered RLS symptoms targeting a muscle with a response that is uncomfortable and rather interesting.

Some say only short times, a few minutes, but I haven’t found time an issue with 10 to 20 minutes depending on how tight the muscles are. To stop symptoms at night you can get all sorts of reactions, and range from a few minutes to 20 minutes to stop symptoms. If one spot is consistent, I put the pads on before sleep and wear compression socks over the top to keep them in place. Then when I wake I unroll the cables tucked into the socks, attach the machine, give a hit for few minutes and back to sleep. Not disruptive at all and no need for the light.

I would also advise for RLS foam rolling, or as I do, with a spiky massage ball to slowly and firmly roll out the tension as a complimentary option. It will hurt, but certainly helps.

PLM could be just an alternative symptom to the syndrome that is RLS, and these same principles should apply. Good luck.

Re: research on use of TENS for PLMs and query

Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:35 pm
by wantok
Thanks so much for that post. Very helpful. I was not actually looking for a formula that works for all, more a bunch of experience so I get a sense of what this therapy can look like. That is an interesting idea about foam rolling. I don't have this thing you describe as "tension". Or I don't think I do.

Re: research on use of TENS for PLMs and query

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:24 am
by XenMan
Tension can be linked to how you get relief from RLS symptoms at night, in that the stretch will often hit right area. But due to the complexity of the foot joint there are calf and foot muscles that can't be stretched due to biomechanics. I personally know my nerve trigger points that then create the tension in the corresponding muscles. I roll a golf ball close to the bone to find really sensitive spots. The muscles are easy with a roller or massage ball, or just by pressure with your fingers to find sensitive muscles in the calf. During the day they may be a bit tight, but at night during symptoms they range from sensitive to rather painful to press on.

I accept that some people are good at this, and others without a fitness background may be a bit confused. So do what works and you feel confident with.

Let me know if you want anything more.

Re: research on use of TENS for PLMs and query

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:04 pm
by wantok
Once you found your "spots", did it work right away?

Re: research on use of TENS for PLMs and query

Posted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:23 am
by XenMan
I'm not going to present physical treatments as a panacea, but when correct it is a cycle of just before sleep the symptoms start and are dealt with for a night of sleep, or woken up and then dealt with for a short break in proceedings.

The "spots" are pure magic if you can find them. They are always along the bones. Last night my trigger was up high between the Tib and Fib, unfortunately I tried TENs and tourniqueting through the night, and it wasn't until I was about to get up that I searched and found it. You get symptoms, press for 5 to 10 seconds, it should really hurt, and then good for the rest of the night. I can't work this out, but your body will create new spots, now I'm on low oxalate, it would suggest areas are primed to go but for some unknown reason take turns.

No one likes this idea, but the RLS symptoms are tactile hallucinations, so it messes with the process when you challenge them by touching the area of the symptoms without moving. I have only done this once, but I gently touched a nerve trigger point and concentrated on feeling it and waited for the next cycle of symptoms. It not only stopped the symptoms for the night but relieved that area. My neighbour is a retired psychiatrist and we were discussing this and he did a paper on the nervous system and described an identical process in people with phantom limb pain using a vibrator on the stump to stop phantom limb pains. I digress, but it is interesting anyway.

Re: research on use of TENS for PLMs and query

Posted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:58 pm
by wantok
I am confused. What does "press for 5 to 10 seconds" and "it should really hurt". I haven't actually received my TENS yet but it has four pads to apply and then turn up the electrical stimulation?

Re: research on use of TENS for PLMs and query

Posted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:59 pm
by ViewsAskew
I think XenMan means to press with your fingers.

Re: research on use of TENS for PLMs and query

Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 6:01 pm
by wantok
Thanks, XenMan, for all the info. As you point out, we are all different; i.e., my whole leg(s) shake usually.