Chances are that when you reach our age something somewhere hurts. And there’s a pretty good chance that your pain could be from your back, especially your lower back. Here are some statistics from the American Chiropractic Association:
- 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time.
- Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.
- Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.
- One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.
One way to bring relief is with a device that uses TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) technology. The technology has been available to chiropractors and physical therapists for some thirty years and has recently made it to the consumer market. Omron’s Heat Pain Pro is a TENS device with an integrated heating pads, which the company claims is unique. The device can be placed on your back, leg, hip, arm, or shoulder, depending on where you hurt. The first time you use it, you put double-sided adhesive pads on the paddles, which you also stick to the affected body part. The pads are reusable and can be washed in cold water between uses, which helps to retain their stickiness. The company says Gel pads (Electrodes) for the Heat Pain Pro can be used up to 30 times before replacing; heat up to 110 F for on the spot warmth – comparable to a low setting on a heating pad. After that, you’ll need to order another set from Omron (about $12 for three 2 pad sets). We found them easy to attach, and to keep stuck.
Once you’ve placed the pads on yourself, you choose a setting, picking from a combination of heating and TENS applications. It featuresFeatures 3 pre-set pain programs (Arm/Shoulder, Lower Back and Leg/Foot) and 2 massage-like modes (Knead and Steady) each with 10 adjustable levels of power intensity to help relieve pain almost anywhere.
The Heat Pain Pro gives you a choice of TENS alone or TENS with heat. Heat alone is not an option. And frankly, this is really not a replacement for a heating pad, rather a heating supplement to the TENS functionality. Power ranges from quite gentle to pretty strong. A typical session can run up to thirty minutes.
Power comes from a long-lasting rechargeable battery. While you use a wall charger for the battery, you are not able to run the unit directly with AC power.
The pads are about an 1 1/2″ by 1 1/2″, but do a more than adequate job of generating heat. My son, who suffers from a herniated disk in his back, has been using it successfully for several weeks without incident and says that from a therapeutic perspective it has definitely been helpful. And it has the blessing of his physical therapist.
Price on Amazon.com is just about $62.