Last reply 1 year ago
TENS machine?

Hi MSers and a Happy New Year!

I’ve got a question re back pain: I’ve been plagued by upper back pain for the last 18 months and the last 10 days were one of the bad spells again.

I can’t take Ibuprofen for more than 2 days in a row as my stomach doesn’t take to it kindly and back rubs only go so far. Swimming pool is still closed for the holidays but usually doesn’t really help that much either.

Hence, I am thinking of getting a TENS machine – has anyone tried this and what are your experiences with it?

Many thanks from poppy.

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1 year ago

@poppy12 , I’ve no experience of TENS machines, but would like to suggest some Pilates exercises that concentrate on these areas.

Youtube have a wide selection of videos that demonstrate these gentle exercises – a bit cheaper than a TENS machine which may not work for you….

Some yoga stretches are another possibility.

1 year ago

Thanks a lot, @stumbler. That’s a good idea. I have upper back exercises from the physio, too, but I’m never sure if they are helping or if when the pain goes for a bit, it’s just b/c that’s what it tends to do anyway.

But you are right, an active approach is better than hooking up to a machine to ‘solve my problems’.

Anyone else in the community have some experiences with the machines, though? Just so I have info in case I need a backup remedy?

poppy πŸ™‚

1 year ago

I tried tens machines a couple of times for back pain, but didn’t work for me. This turned out to be because my pain was neuropathic caused by damaged nerves.
I think tens machines would only be effective if your pain is muscular.
Hard to offer any more advice without knowing where your pain stems from…

@stumbler is right though always best to try some exercise of gentle stretching 1st😁

1 year ago

Hi Poppy

TENS machine didn’t do it for me, but it never did it for me when I played rugby either,
I have found stretching & Ti Chi do work (for me) though.
Not that I pay for classes or anything I just use free classes on youtube. πŸ˜‰
(spot the tightfisted Yorkshireman)
generally, I find these controlled movements loosen me up & the gentle exercise actually releaves the aches & pains, the ones which are me being lazy & blaming them on MS instead of getting off my arse. but as we all know spotting the difference between actual symptoms & other normal stuff is part of the MS joy.


1 year ago

Hi @jasonl and tog2-0

Thanks both for your input, I think mine are muscular and possibly at least in part related to my MS meds (common side effect of Copaxone). Upper back has always been my nemesis as I used to be hyper-mobile.

At the moment, it feels like there are hard (muscular) lumps under/near my shoulder blades and sometimes the muscles between shoulder blades and spine either side seem to turn into hard plastic tubes. Hence, I think these are muscle aches rather than neuro.

I’ll need to get back onto the back exercises bandwagon + add some Yoga/Pilates. Thanks all for the pointers re YouTube. It’s very easy to solve the problem passively with a click on an online product while hunched in front of my PC. Oops!

Have a great evening all, just saw ‘The last Jedi’ – can recommend!


1 year ago

Have you had your vitD levels checked?

1 year ago

Hi @cameron

Not recently, no. Do you know how Vit D levels would pan out in terms of potential back pain?


1 year ago

I had severe back issues following a fall. I had physio, massage, injections and eventually (minimal) surgery. That sorted the pain caused by the nerve pressing on a disc but did nothing for the ongoing discomfort – I was on prescription painkillers and anti-inflammatories for around two years. (Things I couldn’t do included turning over in bed, breaststroke, sitting for more than half an hour, driving any distance). I had heard that vitD described as ‘nature’s painkiller’ and did wonder about my levels. I badgered my doctor into ordering a blood test – she was sceptical. However, when the results were through she rang me at home to tell me a prescription was waiting at the surgery! It had come back as deficient, bordering on very deficient. A month later, when I was ordering my repeat prescription I noticed that I still had loads of painkillers in the cupboard! A few weeks later I was able to ditch both them and the anti-inflammatories. When I next saw the neuro he helpfully wrote to my GP requesting that I was prescribed vitD 5.000iu. So that’s me – absolutely NO ISSUES with my back. One thing less to worry about.

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