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.]
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Re: Update on TENS Unit Use for Nighttime Symptoms

Postby ViewsAskew » Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:11 pm

sleepdancer2 wrote:Looks like those neurons aren't totally gone yet. In late December life took a turn when family members were in a bad auto accident and I was staying out of state for 3 months to help during the early stages of their recovery. The stress of the situation was high - it was my job to be the strong one. Physical demands were beyond anything I've been capable of doing for years, and the resultant pain in my body was tough to endure. I found it hard to be mindful to take care of myself, neglecting my supplements and not using my TENS at bedtime for longer and longer periods. The PLMD came back - not with the previous furor but still dispruptive to sleep. Now I am back to using the TENS almost every night and taking my supplements. I am thankful that my legs are still manageable by TENS use and I sleep quite well when I do my part. So the saga continues. I fully expect things to improve to where they were before this flareup, until then, I have a renewed appreciation for sleep. Not that I could ever forget the hell that once was my nights, it's just a bit fresher in my mind.

So important to take care of yourself when you are the caretaker...and so darn hard. Glad you are home and able to do it now. Hope your family members are doing much better.
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest

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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, and are not medical advice.

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Re: Latest on TENS Unit Use for Nighttime Symptoms

Postby Rustsmith » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:42 pm

One of the hardest things I had to learn many years ago about being a caretaker for my wife was that you have to look out for your own health (physical and mental) before you start worrying about caring for your loved one(s). If you spend all of your energy on them, it will very quickly land you in a position where you can no longer function as a caregiver.

The reason that I mention this is to think about your own family members who help you out. Don't rely upon them to do so much that it starts to be a drag on them. And do NOT listen to them when they say things like "it isn't a problem" or "I love doing it for you". We are all in this for the long haul and everyone needs a break now and then.

Augmentation Evaluation

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 - Update

Postby yawny » Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:16 am

sleepdancer2 wrote: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...

Hi sleepdancer2, your use of the TENS unit and music is so interesting...would you mind me asking a million questions of you? I watched your video and while the music added an element of humor (which I love because I couldn’t survive without my humor), my heart still hurt for what you went through. I understand you were augmenting on medication and am wondering what your baseline symptoms ended up being after augmentation ended, and what were your symptoms before even starting medication? As far as the TENS unit, you mention that you use it on the very lower back, and wondering if you use it before bed, or while you’re sleeping? Any details like how many electrodes used, electrode placement, duration of use, frequency, intensity level, etc would be so appreciated.

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Re: Latest on TENS Unit Use for Nighttime Symptoms

Postby sleepdancer2 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:06 am

Before I knew my diagnosis, I just knew my sleep was incredibly fragmented, that I changed positions constantly, and my bed covers looked like there had been a wrestling match in it overnight. After I was diagnosed I became more aware, realizing that when I woke "changing positions" I was actually feeling the end of a periodic limb movement that had wakened me. My movements before treatment were textbook - contractions then release causing a kind of bicycling motion of the lower legs and feet. During my time of augmentation, the movements intruded in my semi-sleep where I was foggy yet aware of the movements, could even count the seconds between them. But if I became too alert or opened my eyes, the movement stopped instantly. If my legs were in the air, they'd just collapse. After getting the meds out of my system and using the TENS for a while, my movements returned to pretty much like they were before taking meds. Although I was told the exaggerated movements (as seen in my video) were the progression of my disorder, obviously that was not so. For years I used 4 electrodes in a square on my buttocks for at least a half hour before sleep. At some point I found out that 2 electrodes did the job. In all these years there's been maybe a dozen times I had to get up and do another round with the TENS, and about as many times things were so bad I slept with it on and every time it timed out, restarted it. I am not able to advise on my TENS settings. I've had 3 of them over time and just kinda use them mindlessly. I'm sure with some professional direction I could have even better success. I can say my original settings and placement were as prescribed by a doctor for lower back pain. Hope that helps.
My Augmentation Sleep Video:

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Re: Latest on TENS Unit Use for Nighttime Symptoms

Postby yawny » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:23 pm

Sounds like our symptoms are very similiar. Thanks for the feedback, it really helps. I’m going to give the TENS Unit and music a try. Years ago when I was on my own in my first apartment, I used music to get to sleep and it was so successful. I used the same soundtrack every night, Out Of Africa, and I’m going to start with that.

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