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  • TENS units

    I am wondering if anyone here has used a TENS unit for chronic pain. If you have any experience can you please share what it was like for you? Did you notice any pain relief? Did it take time for it to work? Did you have to experiment before finding the right settings? How long did you use it? Did you have any bad results?
    I bought a nice quality tens unit and have been trying to read more about how to use it specifically for inguinal area pain. . Most of what I have read are research articles from surgery studies. From what Iíve read , the results are extremely varied because each patient is different and has had different surgeries for different injuries. Some of their pain results from nerve entrapment, inflammation, scar tissue...even unknown. and they each respond differently. My pain source is ďunknownĒ to professionals but I know itís my nerves responding to something that isnít right.

    I havent found any instructions that help me to determine where to place the electrodes. Iíve experimented with placing them near/on my ilioinguinal nerve, IH, GF and on my pubic tubercle and surrounding areas. (Where my pain is localized) If I place it just a cm to the left then I feel the current shoot down my leg towards my knee. (Which is not desired) So I know that just the slightest adjustment can drastically change results.

    I am hoping to use my unit every day but would like to hear any suggestions that might improve my results. It feels relaxing while the unit is working, but when I turn it off I feel a response similar to inflammation for a couple hours after the session. I donít want to make my condition worse. I only use low gentle settings that do not activate muscle reaction. Iím not getting guidance elsewhere so Iím hoping someone here can give me some tips, please.

    Just some background:
    . 10 months post op.
    Surgery report description said :
    Small indirect left inguinal hernia along the round ligament, reduced and repaired with preperitoneal Bard soft mesh in the preperitoneal space and SorbaFix absorbable tack at Cooper's ligament, anteromedially and anterolaterally.

    2 month post op: Exploratory laparoscopy found a folded mesh and some other things I donít understand.

    Iíve had US, MRI , exploratory laparoscopy, and several doctor visits and still experiencing chronic pain. No answers from the clinic. I know In my heart that something is wrong but have no way to fix it. Iím reading what I can from herniatalk and medical papers but finding definite answers is difficult because I havenít found details quite like mine. My only option is to find some pain relief some how.
    Lidocaine cream numbs the surface of my skin but does nothing with anything deeper.
    Pain is exasperated by squatting, bending, sitting, fetal position on either side, lifting items . Laying on my back with my knees up is extremely uncomfortable and causes me to feel like my nerve is being squished or pinched. Walking and standing has tolerable pain.

    I hope to hear about your experiences with tens units, the good and bad. Please.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by LostNPain; 03-09-2018, 05:24 PM.

  • #2
    Hi. My mesh was folded and balled up and I had it removed this last summer after being in for 6 years. For about 5 years I felt a heaviness feeling like something was in there especially when sitting and had occasional flare ups but they would only last a short time and I was otherwise functioning ok in life. Then last feb I felt pain line I never felt before burning in the groin and all over my left leg. Couldnít work for about 4 weeks. Anyways on my journey to figure out what was wrong and try and function while I did this-I did three things besides seeing surgeons and getting every scan imaginable:
    1) I got a tens machine. Like you found very little I nod where to put the electrodes. I tried in the inguinal region but like you it felt good while the machine was kn but when I turned the machines off the nerves would flare up. So I ended up putting the two electrodes on my lower back on each side and I found this helped to make the lain for example while I was driving or sitting-like you walking from me was much better than sitting. This helped mask the nerve pain and when I stopped the machine I didnít have any flare ups afterwards. Anyways I donít know if this method is therapeutic but it helped me get back to work and mask the burning pain.
    2) I also went to pain management Bc I was desperate. We did neve blocks of different nerves I donít know how much this helped but it seemed to help a little as we focused in on the ilkioguinal nerve and lateral femoral cutaneous nerve
    3) the pain mangent doctor prescribed gabapentin
    I started all this in early April about 6 weeks. After the burning pain started. By May I was able to function ie back to work-sitting was still hard though.
    Anyways in June I sent all my scans to a surgeon and found the mesh was folded and had the mesh removed. The balled up heavy feeling in my lower stomach is gone but the issues that started last Feb are still there but no where as bad as they were in Feb.
    i feel like there is some scar tissue or something f in there that compressed the nerves when I sit. Some chairs are fine others are a nightmare.
    walkinfg is fine.
    hope this helps


    • #3
      Hi. So I had the bard 3D maxx mesh put in laparoscopically. This mesh is named 3D Bc it is concave and is/was supposed to betttrr fit the inguinal region. But from my research there are a little issues with it one of them being that it tends to fold over or clam shell on itself. My was mich worse as it had actually become a waded ball.
      after years of tests and visiting surgeons everyone said everything f looked fine.
      You need to find a surgeon who specializes in mesh removal to get an honest answer and who will listen to your complaints. A few of them read the scans themselves and no what to look for.unfkrtunately touvwill most likely have to travel.
      dr. Igor Belyanski in MD saw on my cat scan that the mesh was folded and had also shifted-for me this is the asnswer I was so relieved to hear it explained to me why I had been in so much discomfort over the years. I had no doubt in my mind that it had to come out-it was killing me since last Feb and my stomach felt all twisted and I just felt sick all this in addition To the burning pain I had when sitting. I didnít want the mesh to continue to more bodily harm. The surgeon advised on removing the mesh and putting a new mesh back in but I declined Bc of what happened to me with the mesh. It was a 3 1/2 hour surgery to remove the mesh and to illustrate how much damage this stuff can do it had attached to my bladder, spermatic cord, illiac vein and artery and other stuff.
      Iím 6 months post up and am taking it slow. I donít feel sick like I did from the mesh balling up on me and am moving around fine. The feeling of having a brick in me is gone. But I still have some discomfort when sitting and still feel some irritation on my upper thigh. Iím not sure if what took place last FEb will be permanent or if the area will continue to heal.
      I never advise people to have their mesh removed as everyone is different and there is no telling for sure how someone will do lost removal so many factors.
      however if you mesh is folded and I think you mentioned yours was/is-I personally think it has to come out especially if you are in pain. There is a good chance it can get worse. You mentioned your surgeon found the mesh to be folded did he/she remove it? Or leave it in you?
      the top hernia mesh removal surgeons I felt comfortable with after doing my research was dr. Bruce Ramshaw, dr. Towfigh, and dr. Igor Belyanski. Dr. Peterson is another surgeon but he only removed mesh openly and I had mine put in laparoscopically.
      I feel like I could exercise but am going to take it slow and let the area fully heal.


      • #4
        Oh regarding the nerve blocks. First go to a place that does ultrasound guided nerve blocks so they can better locate the specific nerve. Based on your symptoms they inject the nerve with a local anesthetic and sometime also a steroid. The block is meant to be more diagnostic ie if the pain goes away then the have determined which nerve is affected and then they can offer something called pulsed radio frequency ablation which for some people can cure the pain or last for upnto a year and then it is repeated. For some people Iíve read that repeated nerve blocks 2 or 3 over a 2 or 3 week slam can reduce the pain and be somewhat therapeutic. The nerve blocks for dis not hurt st all-it was hard to tell how well they worked Bc you are lying down for the procedure and I have no pain when lying down it number the are pretty good though and I think overall helped me but deep down I knew something was wrong and it was more than just nerve related but I believe between the nerve medicine Gabapentin and the shots and the tens machine all got me to be able to get through the work day and spend time with my wife and kids instead of writing in pain in bed all day. I was all set to to do the pulsed radio frequency ablation when I set up an appointment with a surgeon in NYC who I found other people who had their mesh removed by him. I gave him all my scans and he listened to my whole story and sat with my wife and I for over and hour and after he reviewed my MRI he looked st me and my wife and said he believed the mesh had moved-he was the first surgeon to admit it was the mesh.
        However, I just wanted to get another opinion and thatís when I sent all my scans to dr, Belyanski and definitively said he saw the mesh had shifted and folded on the cat scan. I made the decisions to go with dr. Belyanski for removal. He was able to remove the mesh while preserving all my inguinal nerves.
        if you google him he has posted videos of his mesh removal online and he has quite a few of them posted which gave me more confidence to use him. He does the removal robotically if the mesh was placed laparoscopically which issues a high definition camera and gives more clarity to all the structures. Since my surgery Iíve corresponded with 5 other people who have had their mesh removed by him and all are happy with their choice. Some had their mesh removed openly with him.
        its a tough choice and brutal journey. Dontons if research and make the best informed decision you can.
        If I had found dr. Belyanski earlier and had my mesh removed earlier for example before last FEB when the debilitating pain started I continually wonder if I would if avoided the severe pain and possible permanent damage that the mesh further did.


        • #5
          I would recommend just experimenting with the TENS unit, placement, and strength. I don't know if there's an exact science to it, perhaps because targeting a particular nerve can be challenging and every person is slightly different depending on body composition. You might try looking at nerve pathway charts (google them) of pelvis, groin, lower abdomen, and back, to try and figure out ideas of what/where to target. Sometimes aiming higher or lower on a nerve path can produce very different results. It may be helpful to visit a Pain Management clinic to get advice since they (should) have thorough knowledge of anatomy and nerve pathways.

          Just out of curiosity, when they did an exploratory surgery and found the folded mesh, did they correct that? It may be worth getting a second opinion from a hernia expert that has extensive experience with post-op pain and re-do surgery. Just a thought.

          Best of luck and keep us updated on your progress.


          • #6
            I tired teh tens unit with no luck at that time. In fact tried everything and no luck. Found out 2 years after my surgery I had a femoral hernia, when that was fixed the pain went away until a few months ago.


            • #7
              Have you tried some of the other options for pain treatment or management?

              Let us know how your appointment at the pain clinic goes, and if you try the nerve block injections and to what effect they have.


              • #8
                I'm sorry to hear you're uncomfortable after the nerve block, how do you feel now a few days later? Any different?

                Do you know if they targeted a specific nerve with the block (ilioinguinal, iliohypogastric, genitofemoral), or was it generalized in the inguinal region? Was the nerve block guided by ultrasound?

                Did the nerve block alleviate the pain while it was in effect and the numbing sensation persisted? Or did it still hurt even when numb?

                I have read and heard reports about nerve blocks causing an increase in pain for some people either immediately or as they wear off. I think it is insightful information to take with you to future appointments, as it may be helpful data for clinicians to work with.

                How has physical therapy gone so far? Have you tried other treatments with any luck?

                Stay positive, and keep us updated on your progress and decision making.
                Last edited by Chaunce1234; 03-12-2018, 07:01 PM. Reason: Clarificaiton


                • #9
                  Lost N pain: did they do the nerve block using ultrasound guidance? Using ultrasound guidance they can get close to the nerve without hitting it or any other unintended areas.


                  • #10
                    Ok. One of my post got blocked. It says unapproved. Weird.

                    I was asking about implants in the back to block pain.
                    Last edited by LostNPain; 03-17-2018, 08:21 AM. Reason: Edit spelling


                    • #11
                      How has physical therapy progressed so far? Any adjustments or changes to how you feel?

                      Your prior post may have been blocked if it included a link, I have noticed any post with a link is automatically discarded for whatever reason, probably to reduce spam.


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