Latest on TENS Unit Use for Nighttime Symptoms

Please share your experiences, successes, and failures in using non-drug therapies for RLS/WED (methods of relief that don't involve swallowing or injecting anything), including compression, heat, light, stretches, acupuncture, etc. Also under this heading, medical interventions that don't involve the administration of a medicine to the body (eg. varicose-vein operations, deep-brain stimulation). [This forum contains Topics started prior to 2009 that deal with Non-prescription Medicines, Supplements, & Diet.]
badnights
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Relaxis

Postby badnights » Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:03 am

Relaxis is working for kcrowley's 8yr old daughter (search for that author in the Advanced Search, hit the little wheel icon to the right of the Search - top right of this page). But it is working for WED/RLS. No one has posted about it being successful for PLMs, that I've seen, and the research was done for WED not PLMD. But - worth a try if you can afford it. I am in the process of trying to get one.
Beth - Wishing you all restful sleep tonight
WED/RLS AUGMENTATION:
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=6532&p=61601#p61601
Discussion Board Moderator's posts don't reflect the RLS Foundation's opinion & are not medical advice

legsandsyndrome
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Relaxis & TENS

Postby legsandsyndrome » Sat Sep 02, 2017 5:49 pm

Relaxis is not the same as TENS. Relaxis uses calibrated vibrations, while TENS uses low electric currents. I have just started trying my TENS unit for RLS, and it has helped so far.

legsandsyndrome
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Re: Latest on TENS Unit Use for Nighttime Symptoms

Postby legsandsyndrome » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:06 pm

I too have been experimenting with using a TENS unit for my restless leg syndrome. Usually, it really works well. Sometimes though, it doesn't seem to have a positive effect. But I am very encouraged by the results I have had overall. I would definitely recommend that others try it.

legsandsyndrome
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Re:

Postby legsandsyndrome » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:08 pm

Rubyslipper wrote:I have heard about the TENS unit before and if it works, then I would be interested in trying it. Someone told me that our local hospital has reconditioned ones for sale at a reduced cost. I think it might be worth a try anyway.

It is definitely worth trying! It helps me a lot.

legsandsyndrome
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Re: Relaxis

Postby legsandsyndrome » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:18 pm

badnights wrote:Relaxis is working for kcrowley's 8yr old daughter (search for that author in the Advanced Search, hit the little wheel icon to the right of the Search - top right of this page). But it is working for WED/RLS. No one has posted about it being successful for PLMs, that I've seen, and the research was done for WED not PLMD. But - worth a try if you can afford it. I am in the process of trying to get one.

I've seen the Relaxis pad online, and it costs between $600 and $700. That's really price gouging, in my opinion. If it's covered by insurance, then it might be doable.

badnights
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Re: Latest on TENS Unit Use for Nighttime Symptoms

Postby badnights » Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:24 am

I don't know how insurance works in USA, probably depends on your insurer. I got my doctor to write a prescription, but I don't know if my insurance will cover any of it. I have given up on it - for now - because the Canadian supplier stopped carrying it, and then I decided I was more likely to benefit from pneumatic compression devices. But I am having a hard time finding a supplier for those, too! I wooudl be more willing to pay money for those than for Relaxis because I think the chance that the Relaxis will work for me is no better than 50% at most.
Beth - Wishing you all restful sleep tonight
WED/RLS AUGMENTATION:
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=6532&p=61601#p61601
Discussion Board Moderator's posts don't reflect the RLS Foundation's opinion & are not medical advice

sleepdancer2
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Re: Latest on TENS Unit Use - Update

Postby sleepdancer2 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:41 pm

I think I'm seeing an interesting trend. Didn't want to speak too soon, as I know this PLMD stuff ebbs and flows in intensity, but in all these years, it has never not been an issue. After about 7 years being off meds for my legs and using a TENS only for treatment that has given acceptable relief, something has changed. I continue to try, admittedly haphazardly, to maintain taking supplements including Iron on occasion, B12 and a Magnesium/Calcium/Zinc/Vitamin D combo fairly regularly. My early times using TENS it didn't always work. Over time with dogged consistency, its effectiveness increased. The first few years I concurrently worked on helping my brain change it's patterns that coincided with the leg movements. See, even when the movements were reduced, my brain still had what I called stuttering or stuck thoughts. Figured out by trial and error what I needed to listen to while sleeping to keep my brain moving forward and not glitching. For me that was soft rock oldies at a volume just enough to hear the words. My theory is it gave my brain input to keep it moving, but since the lyrics were well known, it didn't require any thinking that could cause alertness or actual listening. Maybe 3 years in, the music became unnecessary except on rare nights that I could usually blame on coffee. I really think this component played a major role in my improvement. Over this past several months, I realize I am skipping nights of using the TENS more and more. Can usually tell before bed what kind of night it's going to be. In recent weeks, I use it only 2-3 times a week. Not sure if this means there is a degree of healing that has gradually taken place, or if my wee morning hours bedtime is what's helped. I do find that the later I go to bed, the less problematic my legs are. Must be due to their circadian nature. At any rate, It's been almost a week since I used the TENS and I've slept quite well. I long ago gave up hope for anything more than managing my symptoms enough to survive without too much misery. I may need to rethink that.
My Augmentation Sleep Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jE7WA_5c73c

badnights
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Re: Latest on TENS Unit Use for Nighttime Symptoms

Postby badnights » Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:00 am

sleepdancer
It sounds like you've succeeded in doing something I tried but couldn't figure out how to do. I read in the book "Explain Pain", by David Butler, how people in chronic pain have ingrained neural reflexes (so to speak) that relay the pain signal to the brain. It began as a real injury but has long since become a thing on its own. The big deal with most chronic pain is that moving makes it worse, so no one wants to move; they gradually move less and less and the pain therefore starts at a lower and lower threshold of movement. (Forgive me, I'm not consulting the book to correct my fault memory, and I am sure it is faulty.) And when they have a good day, they overdo it and the pain comes on twice as strong & whacks them down.

Butler says to do only small amounts of movement even if you feel good, gradually training your body to be able to handle more and more movement without triggering the pain response. Building new neural connections to replace those that are saying "pain".

My thought was, WED/RLS patients have the equivalent of pain when we don't move - not when we move. Moving helps, resting hurts. How can I train my neurons to relax better? to not need to move? Part of the answer had to involve blocking the neural pathway that's sending the WED/RLS/pain signals. Movement seems to occupy that path - like a tunnel from the limbs to the brain - filling it and blocking whatever RLS/WED signals might have been waiting to get on it. But what was I supposed to do to train my neurons - move less and less each day? And on a good day if I felt I could lie still for longer, don't overdo it, only lie still a bit? hahah. Anyway, I couldn't figure it out.

But maybe your music - making the brain work, but barely - was serving that purpose. Filling the pathway with some kind of mental activity, thus denying access to the WED/RLS/pain/PLM signal. The TENS unit itself was also filling pathways with sensations. And you need the music and the TENS less now because you've succeeded in re-wiring yourself - the paths that automatically signaled PLMs have disintegrated, and their component neurons have been re-assigned to other, better paths.

Or I'm out to lunch and need sleep. Or both.
Beth - Wishing you all restful sleep tonight
WED/RLS AUGMENTATION:
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=6532&p=61601#p61601
Discussion Board Moderator's posts don't reflect the RLS Foundation's opinion & are not medical advice

sleepdancer2
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Re: Latest on TENS Unit Use for Nighttime Symptoms

Postby sleepdancer2 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:11 pm

Badnights, your comments are interesting. Always been fascinated by this neuro stuff. I hope you're right about having rewired myself. It's certainly not been a quick fix. I remember when my mom had a stroke years ago, the doctors wanted to cut her therapy off because there's usually not many gains after their standardly approved follow-up. The therapist keep getting approval extended as they were surprised to find mom still making gains. Even over the years we noticed she would regain abilities that we thought were long gone. There's gotta be something to all this rewiring stuff.
My Augmentation Sleep Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jE7WA_5c73c

Rustsmith
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Re: Latest on TENS Unit Use for Nighttime Symptoms

Postby Rustsmith » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:12 pm

The term that neurologists use for rewiring the brain is "plasticity". My wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis years before they started using MRI machines. So when they finally got around to doing an MRI on her, they found huge areas where the MS had essentially shut things down. Her neurologist at the time said that from the MRI results, she should no longer be able to walk or function at a somewhat normal level, yet she could do both. So that said that due to the plasticity of her brain, she had essentially rewired those functions into other less used areas. It takes time to do this, but it is possible.
Steve

Augmentation Evaluation http://bb.rls.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=9005

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

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Re: Latest on TENS Unit Use for Nighttime Symptoms

Postby Polar Bear » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:15 pm

Steve, very glad that your wife is as well as she is.
Betty
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Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation

srgraves01
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Re: Latest on TENS Unit Use for Nighttime Symptoms

Postby srgraves01 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:26 am

I tried a tens unit a couple of years ago. Perhaps I didn't use it correctly. I had read somewhere that what I should do is place each electrode at the beginning and end of a tight area. This did help some. But the problem was that I have so many tight areas on my legs and hips especially that it wasn't practical from a time standpoint to treat them all. Plus it seemed that the more I used it the worse the results. sleepdancer2, I read your post about how you configured it and the settings you used. Perhaps if you told us the brand and model that you use I might try again with more success.

sleepdancer2
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Re: Latest on TENS Unit Use for Nighttime Symptoms

Postby sleepdancer2 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:20 pm

My first TENS Unit prescribed by the doctor for low back pain was an Empi brand. Next one was a freebie from an online "friend" on a CPAP forum. Don't remember the brand. Current one is a Tens 7000 that I spotted on Craigslist for 10 bucks. I have seen no difference in their effectiveness and so far I've gotten over 2 years service out of each one. None have been top of the line - just basic models. I think placement is more important than anything. In my early days of experimenting, I tried them in nearly every possible configuraton on my legs, and let me tell you - it sent me through the roof in terms of aggravating my legs. I've found that using the electrodes on the buttocks has been the ticket for me.
My Augmentation Sleep Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jE7WA_5c73c


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