Quell, New Device Gives Chronic Pain Relief Without A Prescription
There’s a promising wearable device out called Quell that may provide relief to chronic pain sufferers.
Chronic pain and sleep disorders are at the top of the list when it comes to patient complaints during doctor visits. The two often go hand in hand. Statistics from 2011 show that over 100 million Americans complain of chronic pain with a total cost of health care in connection to the condition ranging from between $560 billion to $635 billion (in 2010 dollars). Those numbers combine the medical costs of pain care and the economic costs related to disability days, lost wages and productivity. Now, there’s a promising wearable device called Quell that may provide relief to some users.
Neurostimulation is a therapeutic activation of part of the nervous system using microelectrodes. The use of the treatment usually comes in the form of an implant. It has been used with varying success for blocking pain, but always under the advice and supervision of a doctor. Because Quell is used externally, it would more appropriately be likened to a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit such as is prescribed for physical therapy like these TENS units. In either case, the end result is ultimately to block pain signals from reaching the brain. While TENS units can be purchased for home use, they’re not great for on-the-go applications. That’s where Quell differs.
Pain Relief Devices
Quell is a wearable device that appears as a cross between a sports band and a TENS unit, because it’s sort of a combination of the two. You wear Quell on the calf just below the knee like a sports band, but that’s where the similarity ends. Instead of using compression as the sole source of nerve pain relief, Quell’s band includes an electrode. The makers of the product, a group known as NeuroMetrix, say that the device is designed for people with back pain, arthritis pain, nerve pain and leg or foot pain looking for a drug-free alternative to chronic discomfort.
Nerve Stimulation Devices
The nice thing about Quell, besides the gentle electrical currents it provides, is it can be used while you’re sleeping and can sense the difference between activity and rest, so it self adjusts to provide a less intense therapy session. That’s called sleep mode. The other thing is there are no sticky pads to attach or lead wires to tangle up. You simply insert the device into the leg band, apply the electrode over the top and strap it below the knee electrode side down. It runs in 60-minute cycles and can be adjusted for intensity at any time during use.
Quell is battery operated and comes with a charger. The device also includes an app for controlling and tracking that you can use with your smartphone. Tracking allows users to monitor their sessions and learn about their sleep quality over time. While you don’t need the app to control Quell, it is handy to have. If you go to their website, there are instructional videos and downloads such as a quick start guide and a full user manual to help you get the most out of the product. There’s even a Spanish download, if English isn’t your first language. If you’re interested in purchasing a Quell, you can currently find them on Amazon.