Aortic dissection & aortic aneurysm information support group

Aortic dissection, aortic aneurysm - The aorta - Life after an aortic dissection

HI All,


I have been thinking about using a Tens Machine to help control some of the shoulder & back pain I get. I know it’s not advisable for heart patience but I have had the OK from my surgeon & was wondering if anyone else uses or has tried one?

Your thoughts/comments appreciated.




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Comment by Cheryl Kerber on December 28, 2011 at 2:12

Harry, cheers to you for 2012 --- we are on the upswing right?  We gotta be.  We survived once again - with it's challenges no doubt - but we are here to ring in the new year with our families and that is totally worth celebrating.

Today was my last day of physical therapy for now as my deductible starts up again beginning on the 1st.  Just a tad expensive out of pocket with all the blood tests I still have to have each week.

I really did get alot out of the therapy though  --- still have issues with my legs and tail bone muscles so I'll have to give my tens unit a try -- I agree it doesn't heal, but it is supposed to help with the pain.

How are things? 


Comment by Harry on December 27, 2011 at 18:32

Hi all

just to say have used the Tens machine now for several months & find it does help when the pain kicks in. Not sure if it helps in healing, but it does effect the severed or damaged nerves controlling the pain.



Comment by Cheryl Kerber on November 18, 2011 at 15:35

How's your throat Harry?  Did you have the surgery?  If so, how did it go?

I'm glad to hear the tens unit has helped  --- my biggest challenge right now is sneezing or coughing --- I have to hold my left side where the incision starts (the surgeon said it's so close to my ribs) and then also the other end of my incision as my muscle still bulges on my left side - so if I don't hold one and sneeze - it can practically drop me to my knees.  But if I hold both sides and sneeze then I pull a muscle in my back ---- can't seem to win lately - so I try very hard to stop a sneeze if I feel it coming.

But I'm still amazed at how far I am 4 months post surgery -- thrilled to get to spend the holidays with my family and friends and just appreciate not having the aneurysm there anymore.

I know it will be a year before I start to feel more like myself (still have issues with my lower back/legs --- I start the day out walking like a gingerbread man - but it loosens up as the day goes on) ---and can't sit for any length of time as it pulls my tail bone muscles.

My physical therapist feels this will improve as I continue to heal --- I still have alot of inflammation inside and still have swelling (but I can fit in my jeans so I'm happy).  And I don't know if how I feel comes from taking the Warfarin now as that is new to me --- I find it ironic that the days I have to take the stronger dose of Warfarin is when I hurt more, get bloody noses, and more stiff.  so, that is what I base my "theory" on.  I was so hoping to not have to be on it, but I still have the "surgery acquired" lupus anti-coagulant factor in my blood -- therefore - blood thinner :(

The hematologist gives me this look when I question like "would you rather die from a possible clot?"  Of course I wouldn't, but I don't like the side effects either.

So, now that I've rambled on again, I'd like to know how you are doing on your healing path --- have you had a scan yet to see if all is well?  I just had mine so maybe you won't have one for a bit yet.  Just checking.

Take care,


Comment by Harry on November 18, 2011 at 13:32

Just to say the Tens Machine has bee working very well for several weeks now. I did notice that if you use it when you have mild pain it means using it most of the day. Better to wait until the pain becomes severe.


Otherwise i would recommend having one.

Comment by Harry on October 18, 2011 at 10:05

Thanks Cher,


I have ordered a decent unit & will give it ago, appreciate all the other advice as well. I have got to the point where I have hit a plateau on my stamina & am now pushing to get fitter.


I noticed the pain more the other day when I leaned over to pick something up. My whole side ached as the tissues & muscles pulled together – a very unnerving experience.


I go for my throat opp in early November so at least I will be able to talk again.


Hope all is well with you.




Comment by Cheryl Kerber on October 17, 2011 at 1:18
Sorry about the spelling errors - one of the draw backs from this whole process is I kind of miss some of that stuff.  I think faster than I can type - but my brain also is kind of still sluggish -- hoping that will go away as I continue to heal.  I'm 12 weeks out going on 13 --- and so glad to be on this end of it!
Comment by Cheryl Kerber on October 17, 2011 at 1:14

Hey there Harry --- yep I have a TENS unit.  I got the go ahead also for the muscles in my upper back since my ab muscles have been weakened.  Hardest part for me, is I can't get it set up on my back by myself.  I have used one prior to my surgery ironically (probably to get my body prepared for the surgery before I even knew I was going to have to again).

It doesn't hurt and you can control the strength of the stimulator.  They told me that you can wear it all day long if you want to even.  I was too chicken to go to that extent.

They told me it isn't a muscle stimulator - I think that would be the part of it that would be a concern with our aorta issues, but this only goes in as far as to interfer with the nerves.

Be sure you get a decent unit.  You can get them really cheap on the internet, but you do get what you pay for - so if you can get one through the medical field then I would go that route.

I haven't tried it on my side yet where the incision is as again, I'm just chicken - but it helped me alot before my surgery.

One other thing to check into is called Taping --- I had it done at the Chiropractor --- and it's just using tape(but of course they know where to place it right).  With the muscles that have been severed, they would get so weak and tired out feeling --- the taping allowed like a resistance and alleviated alot of my discomfort --- go figure - tape.

Just some thoughts.

Oh and with the tens unit - they don't want you to go tranthoracic which is if you put two of the electrode things on the front of your chest and then other two on you back.

It's non invasive and it can help --- you just have to give it a try and see what you think.  If you are like me, you will wonder if it is hurting you inside - but everyone I have talked to has told me know - my surgeon, my doctor, my chiropractor, and the representative that showed me how to use it.

Go for it and I hope it truly helps ---- it doesn't have the sleepy side affects like pain pills have!

Take care,



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