Question on a TENS Unit

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TDoern
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 495
   Posted 8/2/2009 2:42 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm not sure whether or not I should be following this path, but I need to know for the future. (some of this may be too much info for some of you)

Some of you may have read that on July 4th, at 22 weeks my husband and I lost our baby. I was told I had an incompetent cervix. Basically what happened was my cervix opened (was at 3cm when I went in), and part of my water sac came through the cervix and hour glassed. When I first went in I started having very mild contractions.

My question is this - due to severe muscle spasms in my upper back (that we found out were due to a bowel herniation later) my pain doctor wrote me out a script for a tens unit to be used on my upper or lower back. The rep who gave me the tens unit said to be careful not to put it on the head or neck, and to not use it on my stomach or that area as it could cause contractions.

I'm trying to figure out whether or not it is possible that the TENS unit caused me to go into preterm labor. After you give birth women bleed for quite a while - similar to a long period. I've found that when I use the TENS unit I tend to bleed more, and the blood seems to be more fresh. Which led me to wonder if the tens unit was causing it... which of course led to me wondering if it caused the problem to begin with.

I did a search on the web and there isn't a whole lot of information out there to be found. I have run across the following:

- someone was told not to use the TENS machine at all before 37 weeks

- Contraindications to the use of a TENS unit include:

* Patients with an implanted pacemaker
* Women who are pregnant - risk of premature labor

- Pregnancy: It is probably NOT a good idea to use TENS during pregnancy if it can be avoided - and this also applies to almost all other medications and treatments. TENS has not been proven to be safe during this time because of the risk that it may induce premature labor. However, treatment of stress and hyperemesis has been shown to be effective and appears without risk if used under medical instruction. It is NOT advisable to treat backache or the abdomen but some specific points on the arms and legs and ears may be used instead. It is recommended that you check with your medical advisor or midwife first for advice before you begin treatment. The use of TENS during childbirth, however, is well documented and research has shown it to be most helpful with many mothers in agreement.

Like I said, I'm not sure if I should even be looking into it as it's going to be very hard if I find out that it caused this. At the same time we are planning on trying again, and I need to know if it's safe to use the TENS unit then. Does anyone have any ideas? I've thought about calling the manufacturer but am not sure if they would tell me the truth.
"When we come to the edge of the light we know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, of one thing we can be sure; either God will provide something solid to stand on... or we will be taught to fly.'"

Dx: Degenerative Disc Disease, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, IBS-d, Ruptured & Fused L4-L5-S1, Bulging/Ruptured L3-L4, Sciatica, Neuropathy, Costochondritis, Reflux, Gastric Bypass Surgery 12/6/07
Rx: Kadian 50mg - every 12 hours, Percocet 5/325 - up to 4 daily, Baclofen 10mg - 3 daily, Amitriptylene 200mg - at bedtime, Prevacid Solutabs - 1 daily, various vitamins.


Joie1
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 350
   Posted 8/2/2009 3:07 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm sorry to hear about your loss.
27/f/CD. 4 CD related surgeries: 2 resections, 2 JP drains, 3 NG tubes, many absesses (including the one my most recent surgery scraped off my ovary) and fistulas.
Have lost in these surgeries: appendix, 8 in. intestine, R fallopian tube, gallbladder, 10 in. intestine
Allergies and Asthma my whole life
Depression after surgeries and illness of 2003.
Crohns Dx'd: February 2008.
Pentasa
Fibromyalgia Dx'd: July 21, 2009
Lyrica
Hydrocodone
Prenatal Vitamin
Allergy meds


Splashdancer
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 692
   Posted 8/2/2009 3:54 PM (GMT -6)   
It's amazing when for so long you think that you are alone in what you've been through, then one day you realize that you're not! I really did not intend to say too much about myself so soon, but I wanted to reply to you. Ok, first, do NOT torture yourself with this. I had a baby at 28 weeks, when I was 15. My amniotic sac did the same as yours - hourglassed out. They never gave me a reason except that I was very young. There's a whole lot more to the story, but I won't go in to all of that. I just wanted you to know that I totally understand everything that you are feeling and experiencing - and it is all normal. Now for the TENS unit. I know everyone is different, but I used a TENS for almost my entire last pregnancy (neck/upper back). The result of that pregnancy is sitting at my diningroom table right now - 10 years old, healthy and normal. Now of course I would check with your OB and do more research before you try again, but both I and a friend of mine had successful pregnancies after using a TENS unit. Everything you are feeling is so normal and I know how hard it is. I didn't think I would survive losing my son, but I went on to have 4 healthy boys. None of them "replaced" my first - he took a part of my heart with him, but my 4 other boys put a few pieces back in place. Wayne was real, he lived for 2 days and I loved him. You will be ok.

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 8/2/2009 5:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Tammy,
Splashdancer gave such a wonderful response, I know I couldn't top that. I would underscore her point about not torturing yourself with this. Since you can see she had full term, normal pregnancies with the use of a TENS, you know it can happen.

Yet for the future, you have the paragraph you typed above. Maybe you might just want to err on the side of caution if you're still trying for a pregnancy. So many things can be factors, and sometimes we have to grieve that life and loss are part of what we have to face in life. I know you already know this.

I just don't think you'll ever get one clear answer as far as future use, so if you're at all hesitant, just put it aside for now. There are a lot of massage therapists skilled in pregnancy massage (even have special massage tables for it) so that may be what you can substitute. My goddaughter had a dula (sp?) who worked with her throughout both her pregnancies, and she also did massage. I guess she was sort of like a mid-wife, and did come to the delivery, but also incorporated a lot of natural methods to help with her pregnancies.

One thing that might help is some grief counseling for you and your husband. Sometimes in certain areas there are groups of parents who have had a similar experience and that might also be helpful.

Hugs,

PaLady

Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 7670
   Posted 8/2/2009 9:03 PM (GMT -6)   
I agree, try not to torture yourself, what's happened is in the past you have my sympathies in your loss...
that alone has got to be the hardest thing to go through...
here they offer grief support for parents that have lost a child, look into that on-line..
Lots and lots of soft hugz...
((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((Tammy)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
**********************************************
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc, Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's and Ocular Migraines

********>^..^<********>^..^<********>^..^<********


TDoern
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 495
   Posted 8/3/2009 10:47 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you everyone.

I think I will just do what was mentioned, not use the tens unit should I get pregnant again. I had run across someone asking why they couldn't use a tens unit until 37 weeks, and then started wondering if it was safe for me to use mine. I just want to make sure that should we get pregnant again if the TENS unit had anything to do, even a small part, in this that it doesn't happen again. So I will just avoid the tens unit if we get lucky again. :)

~Tammy~
"When we come to the edge of the light we know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, of one thing we can be sure; either God will provide something solid to stand on... or we will be taught to fly.'"

Dx: Degenerative Disc Disease, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, IBS-d, Ruptured & Fused L4-L5-S1, Bulging/Ruptured L3-L4, Sciatica, Neuropathy, Costochondritis, Reflux, Gastric Bypass Surgery 12/6/07
Rx: Kadian 50mg - every 12 hours, Percocet 5/325 - up to 4 daily, Baclofen 10mg - 3 daily, Amitriptylene 200mg - at bedtime, Prevacid Solutabs - 1 daily, various vitamins.


Mrs. Dani
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2787
   Posted 8/3/2009 11:57 AM (GMT -6)   
 
 
    Dear T DOE RN,
 
         Good morning *huggs* I hope you are having a nice afternoon. I use a TeNS unit. But! I didnt use that or most other medication while I was pregnant. (I had to do antibiotics / breathing only) Yea it made the years seem very long indeed..... I also breasfed, so... That really cut down my options as to what I could "safe" take and do for nearly 3yrs for ea child. Labor of love thou. Gosh im glad I did it while young. I did want to tell you thou... it is okay, healthy and normal to seek help and techniques from a counselor.( I did. ) You might even make a few new friends along the way... Becuase, I think you are a very strong individual. I think that you could help someone else, tremendously, going through the same thing one day. Okay Ill stop chatting your ears off.   :-)
 
*huggs*
   dani
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,  
And sorry I could not travel both  
And be one traveler, long I stood

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