Do any of you use a tens machine?

Just wondering if anyone with Aps and joint and muscle pain uses a Tens machine. I usually find exercising lessens the pain in my joints immensely but currently have a horrendous pain in my right knee. It came on one night about a month ago and is getting worse if anything. I've seen the Gp who thinks it's ligament damage and the Rheumatologist thinks it's Osteoarthritis. I had an xray done yesterday but don't know the results and I'm still waiting for an ultra sound. I've been given pain killing gels and patches which have done nothing at all, well one made my leg very hot but the pain was just as bad. Tried resting, that makes it worse, tried sleeping with a pillow between my knees etc etc. It hurts if I'm sitting or laying still and wakes me up throughout the night. It's at it's worst on standing but it's not the effort of standing but trying to get my leg straight that is really excruciating and taking that first step is daunting at best, once moving it eases off a bit and I have no trouble bending it etc. Although stair climbing nearly reduces me to tears. Problem is my left knee is now starting to complain along with my right hip. I do have Tramadol but they knock me out so I tend to avoid taking them. So would tens help?

12 Replies

  • Hi there, my husband is using one now for a severe and disabling shoulder problem, he does not have Hughes Syndrome/APS. He is finding it very helpful using it through the night at times and during the day, you have to build up what you tolerate with it, as it has a control for intensity, you can get them second hand quite cheaply which we did, and bought new pads for it, as often people buy them for child birth and only use them once and then flog them off cheap. MaryF

  • My son has offered to buy me the cordless version as a belated Christmas present and I just wondered if they work tbh. As I would be able to use it on the move it sounds ideal. I really don't think the knee is Aps related but who knows. There's no reason someone with Aps shouldn't use one is there? I've searched for info and come up with nothing so guess it's not an issue.

  • No there is no reason to use one and you could also try Acupuncture or acupressure. There is a point on the inside of the leg at the bottom of the shin. So if you run your hand down the middle of your leg from your knee, stop when you get to just above the ankle and then move over to the left if its the right leg and the right with the left leg about three finger widths. Have a feel around there and see if it feels painful. If it does find the spot which is the most tender and press on it for a few seconds at a time. Keep doing this for a few minutes.

    This is a point that reflects inflammation so working on this point can help other parts in the body. I did it for my hips and it helped. My Acupuncturist told me about this and its been helpful. It may tide you over until you get your results and find out what the real problem is. I suspect your going to need an injection in that knee for pain relief.

  • Yes, have used one for a good while. Helps with pain that I used to have a sort of synthetic morphine patches for - and which I really didn't like using.

  • I get knee pain now and again-and weirdly it just disappears as suddenly as it comes on. It can last a month or a few days. I had 2 days on holidays recently where I couldn't get up from the Loo or any chair without my Hubby's help. Unfortunately it causes one to limp and throw other joints out of whack and then causes other problems. Stairs are a killer. I just put it down to APS and other autoimmune and just rest when it happens. I haven't had a lot of luck with a tens machine but others swear by them-maybe I was a bit impatient :(

  • Not on the subject of tens machines but of pains that come and goe, I firmly believe that the Hughes demon says what part of the body shall we have a pop at for the next few weeks , before taking a break or moving somewhere else. Currently its feet and eyes with me ;-)

  • I had severe knee pain which sounds like that you are describing and it turned out to be osteonecrosis. It needs to be diagnosed with an mri scan, as doesn't show up on an X-ray.

  • Had to google that one but it doesn't sound like it to me from what I read. Maybe I didn't describe the problem very well. It came on suddenly in the middle of the night, the pain was horrendous from that moment on. It hurts when resting but is at it's worst when straightening the leg and weight bearing. It is at it's most tolerable when bent, I now sleep with the leg bent as much as possible. I have a good range of movement in the joint. I don't have a problem getting up, I'm fit and strong so my thighs do the work of getting me from sitting to standing. It's the very last bit of being upright that is the killer, straightening the leg and putting weight on it makes me want to scream and I have quite a high tolerance of pain. The stairs and taking the first step on standing are so bad because I'm transferring all my weight onto one leg. It does cause me to limp and the other joints are complaining at taking the additional load, which is why I thought a Tens might help stop some of the pain and therefore take the strain away from the other joints. I'm not attributing it to Aps at the moment because having played sport in one form or another my entire life, I've had previous issues with joints and ligaments etc. Just because I have Aps doesn't make it responsible for every ailment I develop.

    The Tens is due for delivery today so I'll let you know what happens and thanks for all your input x

  • I don't know what a tens machine is but I can tell you that your description sounds just like the problem I have with my osteoarthritic knee. I too have a great deal of pain when I first began to walk. And stairs are a bear! Oddly, I do not have a lot of pain when I'm hiking up a steep hill. I experimented and found that when my foot is angled as it is on a hill the knee does not object to the change in elevation. There are some steep paved roads near my house and I go up them for exercise.( problem is I also have to go down the hills and that does hurt my knee.)

    Do try not to limp. I broke my right knee as a child and my limping wore out my left hip which I had to have replaced in 2013. And let me tell you that osteoarthritis of the hip produces a pain that makes knee pain seem quaint. It might help to try and get a referral to a physical therapist who can teach you ways to cope with the knee and also which exercises are best without wearing out the surrounding joints. As of last resort, YouTube has a number of videos – some of which seem to come from reliable sources – on physical therapy posture and exercises for various joint support.

    Good luck!

  • Thanks Gina, a Tens machine sends electrical impulses to the affected area via sticky pad electrodes placed on the body to stimulate the nerves causing pain.

    It seems to be working, I have it on quite a high intensity which seems to be cancelling out the pain. Putting weight on it is easier than it was and I managed the stairs wearing it without screaming so it seems positive so far. I had an Inr test this morning and wore the electrode the whole time I was out.

  • Ok just a quick update, so far so good, I have been wearing the Tens on my right knee for about 10 hours a day for the past two days. While it's in place I can get up without yelping, I can take that first step without hesitating and can walk up and down stairs without feeling like screaming. I'm not pain free but the pain is mostly cancelled out, walking up stairs does still hurt but nothing like it did. That's while I'm wearing the machine but when I take it off the pain returns fairly rapidly. I have no problem wearing it all day every day to be honest as long as it keeps the pain at bay. I can't wear it over night, I did try but I'm obviously too much of a fidget and woke up to find it stuck to the sheet not my knee, ooops . However so far I'm sleeping better because the pain is far less at night than it was, so I guess there is a knock on effect, even if I'm unaware of it when walking upstairs.

  • Just to add, I have my own cross trainer and treadmill at home so thought I'd see what happened if I tried to get back into exercising. Just did a couple of minutes on the cross trainer with a tens module on both knees lol looks very odd but worked a treat, it wasn't the knees giving me grief but my breathing as it's still set up from the last time I used it and I was fit then and I'm not now as I just proved lol. I'll have another attempt later and will lower the resistance somewhat so I might last a bit longer. I can always add the resistance back as I improve.

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