Monday, August 11, 2008

Electrical Therapy

As I said last time, splorp! is somewhat injured. Mostly his neck hurts, but the doctor said it is actually his trapezius muscle - the one that connects the back, the neck, and the shoulder blade in a big triangle.

By the way, if your neck hurts for two weeks, and you finally go to the doctor and he gives you muscle relaxers, but they just make you loopy and don't really help you heal? Electrical shocks work!

splorp! does not tolerate anything stronger than over-the-counter ibuprofen very well, so the combo of muscle relaxers and strong pain meds his doctor prescribed not only made him kind of spacy, he would slur his words a little bit, and then he would sleep for hours at a time. While funny (to me), that worked ok while it was the weekend, but it's not like he could take that cocktail and go to work. Plus he couldn't drive. We were not sure how he would manage working through the pain.My sister came to the rescue. She loaned splorp! the TENS Unit she got after her shoulder surgery.

splorp! wired upShe showed us me how to attach it to him, and how it works. She helped me wire him up the first time and then we turned it up kind of high - just short of making muscles jump.

I'm telling you, it's like night and day. If you've never used one and you have constant pain, you need to call your doctor or physical therapist. As near as I can tell, you don't need a prescription for it to buy one, but there are a few cautions, and it's not appropriate for some people (pacemakers are not recommended). Plus, not only can your doctor or PT help you use it properly, and show you where to place the pads for the most benefit, if you get a prescription for it, insurance may reimburse you for all or part of the cost.

And, ok, it's not exactly electrical shocks, but (depending on the setting) it kind of vibrates the muscles, and interrupts the nerve transmissions that say "pain here!" and "keel over in pain now!"

It's a great little device, the relief can last several hours, and it can really help you cut down on pain medicine, which is a bonus. It seems to be well-designed, able to run either on batteries (and be portable) or the regular wall plug.

Using the TENS Unit, splorp has pain relief for several hours - enough to get through work, and then at night we're relying on that menthol-y smelling Icy Hot stuff.

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