Chronic PainReview: Easy@Home Heat TENS Unit

Review: Easy@Home Heat TENS Unit

I have dealt with pain for most of my life—migraines and knee pain in high school, back and shoulder pain that has worsened as I’ve gotten older, and on and on. I now deal with global pain in my nerves, muscles, and joints, thanks to a number of chronic illnesses.

As you can imagine, I’ve tried just about everything to deal with the pain, even a basic TENS machine, which I didn’t like. I felt it was just more trouble than it was worth.

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What’s the TENS Machine Like?

However, this TENS machine from Easy@Home is no trouble at all, and it really helps. When I first opened the box, I easily figured out how to use the machine, even without looking at the manual. You simply snap the two included electrode pads to the lead wires, plug the lead wires into the device, place the pads on your body, and turn it on. All of this takes less than five minutes. (Note: I recommend reading the manual before use to learn the nuances of the machine.)

The device is very lightweight—a mere 6.2 ounces—and easy to hold, which is good if you have problems with your grip, like I do.

What’s Included?

It offers a total of eight modes (see the Mode Reference Chart from the manual), two heat settings, and up to 20 levels of intensity, with a timer for 10-minute increments (up to 60 minutes). I’m no mathematician, but that’s a whole lot of options to find what works best for you! (For comparison, the machine I didn’t like has only one very prickly, uncomfortable mode.)

Unlike most machines, which just provide TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) for pain management, this one also has three modes that provide EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulation), which can improve blood circulation and muscle tone. The addition of heat—which most TENS machines don’t offer—can aid in relaxing tight muscles.

It comes with two electrode pads (6 7/8″ x 2 5/8″), which are much larger and more expensive than the pads that come with typical units (usually 2″ x 2″). The larger pads provide better coverage, which improves its effectiveness, something I personally really liked. Conversely, this means it is harder to find replacement pads, as there aren’t a lot made with four snaps, and the manual just says “contact vendor for replacements.”

As an aside: In addition to the pads made by this manufacturer, I found one other brand that looks like it would work with this machine.)

Each lead wire plugs into its own port (“A” and “B”), and the machine allows you to control the intensity level of each side; however, the mode and heat level is the same for both.

Using the TENS Machine

So far, I’ve used this TENS unit 20 times for 30 minutes each time. I used it on my waist, thighs, legs, upper arms / biceps, shoulders, back, and buttocks, placing it on different locations to see how it feels. (The only application position they recommend that I didn’t use is on my feet. Also note that they do NOT recommend using this on your chest, as it could cause heart issues, or on your neck/head.)

I only needed a fairly low intensity to get some relief; at most, I put it at level 4, as I found any higher to be too painful. This changes based on the location of the pads—on my buttocks and thighs, which have a lot more fat and muscle, I needed a higher intensity; while a level 1 was more than enough on my very thin arms.

The lead wires are 49″ long, a perfect length to attach the electrode pads to any part of your body and be comfortable, but also without the wires being so long you feel you’re tripping on them any time you move.

I have an area near the T12/C1 spine junction in my back that constantly gives me pain, and I typically need a pain patch on it to be able to sleep. One evening, I used the machine twice—once with both pads on the right side of my back, and once with both pads on the left side (note: as they warn, do NOT let the pads touch), in Mode 2 (massage), intensity 2, with heat, and that area didn’t bother me at all that night!

However, on another use, the pulses made my muscles feel “weird and jumpy” and made me feel unsteady on my feet, but that went away pretty quickly. A couple of times, using it caused pain in an area that doesn’t normally bother me – which is to be expected, as all of our muscles and nerves are interconnected. (This pain didn’t last very long, either.)

The Final Verdict

Overall, I personally preferred using Mode 1—which is a combination of the TENS/EMS pulses—with the heat setting. I felt it definitely gave me some relief in the body part where I would use it, although the machine’s use didn’t completely get rid of pain, nor can you expect it to.

Because they have adhesive to attach to your skin, the electrode pads can easily collect dust. Be sure to use alcohol wipes on your skin prior to use, and immediately replace the plastic covering on the adhesive, then store the pad in the re-closeable plastic bags they come in. I noted that the adhesive wasn’t as strong after about 10 uses, but it didn’t seem to decrease the efficacy, and it was still sticky after 20 uses. (I’m not sure exactly how long the pads will last; there are so many variables that it’s impossible to assign an exact number of uses.)

I was a little concerned that the adhesive might be an issue, as I have a slight allergy to some medical tapes. Thankfully, the pads easily came off my skin, and they did not leave any marks, nor did my skin itch or feel otherwise damaged.

The battery in the machine seems a little iffy. The manual states that a full recharge is 4.5 hours, but the battery seemed to drop immediately on first use, and the number of uses and amount of time it took to charge varied wildly—from three uses to ten, and two hours charging to 12 hours. I wish the battery indicator was a little more accurate, and that the screen didn’t light up while the machine charges.

Although you can easily store the machine, the pads, and the wires in the box when it’s not in use, it would have been nice if it had come with a bag or another easy way to store and transport this. If you’re traveling, the box will take up a lot of space.

I recommend this machine as a very easy, re-usable, short-term solution to pain.

4.5/5 stars

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