A few weeks ago, I attended a health & home technology event where I was first introduced to Omron Healthcare. My first reaction on seeing the Omron Avail Wireless TENS was “Wait… don’t you have to go to a physical therapist or something to receive this kind of treatment?” As it turns out you don’t!
TENS is a form of electrotherapy used to treat chronic joint and muscular pain. As someone who has suffered from numerous sports injuries and chronic pain, I am no stranger to physical therapy (PT), painkillers, dry needling, chiropractors, massages, steroid shots and every treatment in between.
In my quest for pain relief, I have found a few treatments that work and a whole lot that didn’t. Until now I believed TENS was something I needed to see a specialist for so I am elated to be partnering with Omron to share this really incredible pain treatment with y’all.
A brief history of injuries and ailments
I first went to physical therapy in the 4th grade, yep, 4th grade for tendonitis in my feet. I vividly remember getting my first TENS treatment. This was around 1998 so the treatment involved little white pads with wires connected to a device that caused those pads to pulse or vibrate at a very high level. Not only did it scare me, but it was so uncomfortable, I dreaded this part of PT, but the treatment worked.
I can’t count the number of times I hyper-extended both of my knees in high school. I basically lived in our school’s physical therapy center, ice baths, stretches, exercises and a little bit of TENS were my daily regimen.
I have steered clear of all painkillers after being prescribed some in college for back spasms. I despise the way they make me feel. Painkillers don’t stop pain; they just mask it by making you feel like a crazy person. No thanks!
My Current Chronic Pain
In my late 20s, I started having severe foot & leg pain. Standing, walking, running, basically anything was causing inflammation and irritation. I finally saw a Podiatrist in Denver and low and behold, I have plantar fasciitis in both feet. This doctor was a bit of a kook and pushed me into getting steroid shots and said surgery was the only way to relieve my pain.
Thank goodness my parents suggested I get a second opinion! A doctor in Atlanta assured me surgery was not the only way, and set me up with new shoe inserts and gave me specific stretches to ease my pain. Gradually, the physical knot I had on the bottom of both feet went away, but the struggle with standing for more than a few minutes or walking still persists.
My current lifestyle doesn’t help either. I am stationary at a desk for about 10 hours a day, working full time as a Product Manager and blogging when I am not at work. On the weekends I am either hiking or dancing all night at a show. Traveling also takes its toll too, walking around an airport is excruciating, as is sitting for too long on flights.
Sciatica? Right side! Shin splints? Both sides! Heel and Achilles pain? Constant! Hip flexors that love to flare up? Got those too! I am in the least amount of pain doing nothing, literally nothing. But y’all know, from following me, that being still is not how I intend to live my life!
So when I saw the Omron Avail TENS I was sold!
The Omron Avail
The Omron Avail is a wireless dual channel TENS unit that is totally controlled by a smartphone app. I love that this unit comes with two independent devices that can be used at once so I can treat my hip and calf at the same time.
Each unit is controlled by a really intuitive iPhone (or Android) app. As a UX nerd, the layout of this app is great. The Omron TENS app provides a great onboarding experience to help you connect with your devices and gives great instruction on where and how to place your device.
The app gives you 50 different options for treatment, allowing you to control the intensity and rhythm of the pulses from acupuncture style to steady. You can even save your favorite treatments so setting up a session is just a few clicks away.
But how does TENS work?
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS is a form of electrotherapy that works by sending electrical currents through your skin to nerve receptors. These stimulate a tingling sensation that reduces the perception of pain. Two things are said to happen here, either the brain doesn’t get the signal that there is pain or these vibrations release endorphins that mask the pain. Either way, TENS treatment provides proven chronic pain relief, which is why it’s been the go-to treatment for Physical Therapist and Doctors for years.
Why Omron Avail Wireless TENS
Most of the TENS devices on the market come with two pads connected by a short wire. This means you can really only work one area at a time and it’s not very portable.
As I write this post, I currently have one device on my hip, in kneading mode at a level 7 intensity and one on my shin on Acupuncture mode slowly pulsing at a level 12. I plan on traveling everywhere with my Omron Avail and even popping it on when I fly. Walking in the airport is brutal and having my Omron Avail to relax with on the plane sounds very first class!
To learn more about TENS therapy and the Omron Avail check out their site here. You can always DM, comment or tweet me for more info too!