One of the many symptoms I get from my EDS is myofascial pain. It’s basically where my muscles spasm and then stay stuck in that spasm until it is forced out of it. There are multiple different ways to release the myofascial spasm, and they are all pretty painful. I’ve done trigger point needling, massage, trigger point pressure, tens machine, and ultrasound. I have seen benefit from each of these methods in one way or another, but most of them are difficult, if not impossible, to do for myself at home.
That’s where Icy Hot Smart Relief comes in. It’s a tiny little portable tens machine that allows you to get the therapeutic muscle stimulation from they physical therapist’s office in the comfort of your own home. In fact, I’m using it on my left shoulder as I write this review. Other tens machine units are up for sale for home use, however, at $25 for a starter kit, this is a pretty hard bargain to beat!
Matt got me one of these units for a Mother’s Day gift and, I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical about how much it could really help me. If you’ve ever gotten tens therapy before, you are used to the large base with multiple knobs and switches as well as wires coming out attached to multiple adhesive pads. The Smart Relief unit looks extremely different. It’s a small little box, about the size of a pager (if anyone remembers those) only thinner. It hooks onto an adhesive pad with two active squares on it. The pads can be reused multiple times and the box itself runs off of a simple watch battery.
When I first opened up the packaging, I thought that there was no way this tiny little box could pack the same wallop that the bigger machines do. However, I was wrong. There are multiple intensity levels and I haven’t even gotten close to the highest level. I am able to adjust it to reach the same level of muscle stimulation as I had been getting in physical therapy. In fact, I was so excited about how well it worked that within 24 hours of opening it I used it twice on my shoulder, my midback, my lower back, and my hip for my sciatica pain.
The box is designed to give 30 minutes of electrical stimulation per session. With only three buttons on the unit, it is incredibly easy to operate, no matter your comfort level with technology. I can turn it on and lay down in bed watching tv while letting it work on my pain. It comes with a little guide that shows you some placement options, however, I have also found some great placement guides on Pinterest that help me to find the best place for optimal benefit.
All in all, I’m sure this treatment won’t work for everyone, but at $25 for multiple uses, this is a pretty low risk pain treatment option to try. The packaging does state that this device is not meant to be used with an electrical implant, such as a pacemaker, which is an important thing to note. It’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor before adding anything to your management plan.
Have you tried the Icy Hot Smart Relief or any other at home tens unit? I’d love to hear your comments with your thoughts.
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