Quell Wearable Pain Relief Second Generation REVIEW
For most of my life, I have suffered from severe, debilitating leg pain. Nearly 20 years ago, I’ve had two ACL reconstructions in my left leg and now it is arthritic. I have tried everything to subdue the pain — physical therapy, pain management, medicine, regular exercise — but nothing has really worked for me. When I first learned about Quell in early 2016, I didn’t think it would be something I would look to for regular pain relief. I had tried out tens units before and while they provide momentary relief, the same old leg pain always returns. What I didn’t realize at the time was that Quell isn’t a ‘tens’ unit at all. It’s considered ‘neurotechnology’ and it stimulates sensory nerves. It’s a ‘smart’ device in that it actually activates the body’s natural pain relief response. When the Quell device stimulates the nerves in your leg, a neural pulse triggers a response in your body that will block pain signals so you get real, drug-free pain relief.
So, I was able to test out the Quell in early 2016. You can read that review here. I used it for quite a while, but at the time the communication between the device and the app on your phone was not very good. You had to control the strength of the Quell directly on the device. This became quite tiresome and after a time I gave up on the first generation device. Another issue I had was my skin got irritated and this just made it easier to put the device away. As it turns out, NeuroMetrix, the maker of Quell, released an app update a bit later in 2016 that connected the two pieces much better through the app. This year, I am happy to have both a second generation edition of the Quell device and the latest app updates.
Some of these new features include:
- App Calibration — Users have the ability to calibrate their Quell directly from the app. It makes the Quell more personalized to your specific pain management needs.
- Personalization Capabilities — Along with the app calibration, users can now design their own customized therapy including overnight treatment. The Quell device also incorporates an automatic time of day adjustments to address circadian fluctuations in sensation and pain.
- Progress Management — To maximize your results, Quell includes some health tracking elements including pain, activity, and gait. Along with sleep and therapy, these metrics can help to manage chronic pain.
- Enhanced Battery Life — The Second Generation Quell features a 40 percent increase in battery life. Many users may only need to charge their device once a week.
- Future Proof — This version of the Quell can receive remote updates so that users can continue to take advantage of future improvements.
I received the second generation Quell a little over a month ago. Part of the reason I waited to post my review for so long is because I wanted to show real results from use and not just cover off on the features. To paint an accurate picture of my situation, you need to understand that my doctor has been trying for about 6 years now to manage my pain with medication. I’m on two different medications that target chronic muscle/joint pain and conditions such as fibromyalgia. My doctor also had me on an opioid pain medication as needed for times when the pain is particularly severe (like when the weather changes). As you probably know, being on this many medications can start to cause other side effects that are undesirable. So, for years, I’ve searched for other options for managing my pain because I’ve not wanted to be reliant on the medications alone.
When the second generation Quell arrived, I was hesitant to give it a long-term trial because of the failures I had before. I’m glad that I got back on the horse so to speak because, within the first day of having the new device, I felt a major reduction in my leg pain. The first few days of my testing, I was only using the Quell during the day. One night when I settled into bed, the cramps and twitches in my leg were so bad that I couldn’t get comfortable. I decided to put the Quell on. Again this was something I hadn’t done before because the first generation device didn’t really support overnight wearing. Needless to say, I was able to sleep comfortably through the night.
After the first week of my time with Quell 2.0, I found that I needed the opioid pain medication less and less. Another positive development was that even though there were some minor skin irritations, those subsided after a few days of wearing the Quell. If you experience this, I would recommend sticking with consistent use of the Quell so that your skin and body can become accustomed to it. Today, on day 35 of using Quell, I’m happy to say that I’ve completely stopped taking the as needed medication and replaced it with the Quell. Honestly, that’s not something that I thought would actually happen. One important note, while this has really helped me with managing my chronic pain, it hasn’t cured it. I still have pain spikes, but they are much easier to deal with now.
Quell is very easy to use and with the second generation device, I’ve not had any connection issues between it and the app. The app is very intuitive. Setting a therapy program and then adjusting it is very easy. I think I spend about 30 seconds getting everything situated and then I go on with my day. Quell is really lightweight and it’s designed to be used in any situation. I’ve used it while working, being active, out at restaurants, and even when I sleep.
The only ‘complaint’ I have with this device is having to replace the electrode strips. They have a gummy adhesive on them and it’s recommended that you replace them every 2 weeks. They are a bit pricey. A one month supply is $30. You do have the option to subscribe so that you never run out and when you do you get a discount, but when the device itself is $250 (it is shipped with a one month supply of electrodes), the upkeep of the electrodes is a little high in my opinion (approximately $360 a year with regular use and maintenance). It would be great if Quell could be ‘prescribed’ as a pain treatment so that insurance would somehow pay for the electrode strips, but for now, it’s an out of pocket expense.
Based on my successes with Quell, I can recommend it for those who suffer from chronic pain conditions. I actually had a visit with my doctor while I was testing the Quell out and he was surprised to hear that it was working so well for me. He actually said that he wants more information on it so that he can possibly use it with other patients.
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Originally published at macsources.com on March 22, 2017.