Review: Quell Pain Relief

I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

I have been struggling with chronic pain for about a year & half now. It started a few months after I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I thought it could be related, possible extra-intestinal manifestation, or perhaps just the stress of dealing with a chronic illness. No signs of arthritis or other inflammation have been found. I have seen my PCP, my gastroenterologist, a rheumatologist, a physical therapist. So far nothing has fixed the problem. I don’t yet know the source of the pain but that it could possibly be muscular skeletal. My next option is to see a spine specialist, which is on the books for the future. But for now, I needed some kind of relief! As soon as I heard about Quell, I thought PERFECT!! Stick it to my leg and go about my day! No side effects!! Yes Ma’am! Sign me up!!

Most importantly it isn’t another medication to add into my regimen. 

I specifically mentioned to my doctors that I didn’t want to have another medication to take daily. Especially not a pain medication. So I was extremely curious to try out Quell since I knew it would provide similar relief without having to take another pill.

What is Quell?

Quell is simply a device that you attach to your calf, wearing it like an exercise band. It is a small lightweight device that snaps onto an electrode strip. The device stimulates nerves that send neural pulses to the brain, blocking pain signals. So in effect it starts up a natural body response to lower pain levels, which can obviously be helpful for people that suffer from chronic pain.


How often do I use it?

I started using Quell on Sept. 9th 2017. I wear the device for at least 4 sessions a day {they suggest at least 3 sessions a day for the first two weeks for best results}. You can also wear it during your sleep, but I only do that about 2 or 3 times a week. My pain does not effect me during sleep, so I figured wearing the device when I have the pain during the day was the best course of action.

 

When did I notice results?

Monday Sept.18th was the first day I remember waking up NOT in pain! That’s only a week from when I started using Quell. I was surprised to see results that fast, because they say it can actually take a few weeks to really notice optimal results. So keep that in mind if you decide to try out Quell. It isn’t something that happens right away for everyone. It varies per person. That morning I realized I hadn’t woken up stiff and that I could just get right out of bed and walk normally. I didn’t need to stretch immediately, my feet weren’t in pain, nor did I need to use my heating pad. I even noticed that after a few more days of using Quell that I had more energy during the daytime! Which for me, SAYS A LOT!!! I suffer from really bad fatigue every single day of my life. So for me to feel like I have ANY energy at all is amazing.

More specifics and features

~ It’s Low Maintenance! All you have to do is strap it onto your leg and go about your day as normal. It can hide underneath your pant leg. Only real concerns are to take it off when you are driving and don’t get soaking wet while wearing it, for pretty obvious safety reasons.

~ The battery on the Quell device lasts incredibly long! I’ve only needed to charge it 2 times in one month.

~ The Quell app is super user friendly! You can control the device through an app on your phone or via the button on the side of the Quell device itself. However, I prefer to disable the button on the device and just use my app. As you see in the pictures below, the app tells you when you are in a therapy session, exactly when the next one will start, how much battery is left, when to replace your electrode, if your device has been disconnected, etc. You can customize settings, calibrate the intensity level of therapy sessions and track your pain levels. There are a lot of great features to explore on the app.

~ I would go so far to say that Quell is ‘idiot-proof’. I love the battery indicator on the app!! It tells you exactly how many more sessions your device will last before you need to recharge it. So there is no guessing! I wish more devices did this! And charging only takes about 2 or 3 hours. More importantly, Quell suggests that you air out your skin after about 4 hours of use. I was honestly worried that I would forget to do this when I went about my day. I don’t do well with distractions. However, the app also reminds you exactly when you need to take a break and air out your skin! I love that it notifies you! They have thought of everything and simplified it for the user!

~ However, my MOST FAVORITE feature on the app for Quell is that it will notify you when the weather will effect your pain! And what’s more is that it is right!!! Every time it has notified me about the weather, I have experienced an increase in pain. {In the settings you can tell it what type of weather effects your pain. I have noticed that rain storms really mess with me, so that is what I told it to track.} I LOVE this feature so much. I can’t tell you how nice it is to have a little heads up that it could be a rough day. Having that heads up can allow you time to take some headache meds or what-not to keep symptoms to a minimum.

What does a Quell therapy session feel like?

It feels like a vibrating and tingling sensation all at once on your leg. I would compare it to when your foot or leg falls asleep and you get that pins and needles feeling. It doesn’t hurt, nor is it uncomfortable. In most cases I can actually forget that I am even wearing the device. Sometimes after shaving it does itch or sting a little. I called Quell customer support and they said that sometimes this can happen, you can just use a protectant if it worries you. I never had any problems with irritation or redness, nothing like that. Just a slight stingy itchy feeling. Once I grabbed 3M Cavilon, a no-sting barrier film, I had no issues with that at all. {I just want to mention that I am known to have skin issues. So this is likely not the norm. I see a dermatologist about sensitive & dry skin.}

What would I change about it?

~The main thing that I wish were different about Quell is the band! The band is what you slip the device into and then strap around your leg. It stretches out really fast. On Day 2, the band was already stretched out and needed to be tightened. This can be fixed a little by throwing it in the dryer for about 30 mins. But it still stretches out. You have to keep drying it.  I don’t know that there is much to be done about that, since it is basically an elastic sport band. The bad thing about having it stretch out so easily is that you don’t feel the device is going to stay put. As you can see in the picture above the device buttons through the band onto the electrode, but as the band stretches it can weigh down on that connection and become much easier to disconnect accidentally. A small annoyance worth putting up with once you see results from this device, but an annoyance all the same.

~ Just a warning: If you are clumsy or klutzy like me, you will have issues with accidental disconnections! I run into everything. Always have since I was a kid! I knock into the end of the bed, the side of the coffee table, the living room chair, etc. The list goes on. And somehow it is always my calf that is getting hit. I have had countless accidental run ins and then boom! The device falls flat to the floor with the band and the electrode still stuck to my leg! Ha ha ha! So while this may be more-so about my clumsy nature that needs to change, it could have a little to do with a better connection being needed too. Perhaps a button with a slightly stronger connection to the electrode, so it stays put better. Either way, I felt it worth mentioning for the other clumsies out there!

~ When I first put Quell on my leg, I didn’t know how to cross my legs. Ha ha ha, I know it sounds silly! I remember thinking how is this going to work out. I was afraid that I was going to accidentally hit the button on the device and change the intensity level of the therapy. Because the button is on the outside of your leg. The same goes for when I first tried to sleep with the device on my leg. I’m a side sleeper, enough said! Once I figured out that I could actually disable that button through the app, I felt much more comfortable crossing my legs, sitting indian style and sleeping with the Quell on. This is the main reason I prefer to just use the app to control Quell as opposed to the devices physical button.

 

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My Final Thoughts

On a scale of 1 to 10, Quell takes my normal pain level of a 6 or 7 down to a manageable 4 most days. I know this because I actually tracked my pain levels every day on the Quell app when using it and saw a consistent lowering on the pain scale. In my second week of usage my numbers stabilized. When I stopped using Quell for a couple days, the pain levels would increase again. So I would strongly recommend using it consistently for that reason! Don’t quit just because you are feeling well. You have to remember that it’s blocking pain signals, so the pain is likely still there, you just aren’t feeling it as much.

Lowering my pain level to a 4 is enough to let me carry on with my day and actually forget that I’m in pain from time to time! I can chase after my new puppy that loves getting into any and every thing. I’ve been noticed a slow increase in my physical activity too. I can actually ENJOY walking the dogs and for a longer period of time! When I sit and stand it is not as painful. Guys I can do more things that I enjoy!! I mean isn’t that what we are all looking for?

I’ve been doing physical therapy, yoga, taking supplements, watching my diet– adding this into the mix is perfect! Yes, to keep getting the results you have to keep wearing it, which of course means replacing the electrodes about every month. It’s worth it though, if you get a little bit more of your life back, a little bit more of your enjoyment! Which has certainly been the case for me. I think it is a great addition to your tool kit for chronic pain. It isn’t a magic “cure all” but you will find some relief with it. Any little bit helps when you are living with pain on a daily basis that interferes with your life. I know I will keep this in my bag of tricks for pain and continue to use it in combination with all the other things that I’m doing to get the most enjoyment out of my life.

Many thanks to the Chronic Illness Bloggers Network for allowing me the opportunity to try out this product! 

As always I wish you the best quality of life! If you are thinking of trying out Quell or want more details, you can of course visit the Quell website. If you are already a user, please let me know your thoughts & experiences!

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