I’ve been tweeting a lot recently about a device called Quell™, and whilst my @fibropixie followers must be bored stiff of me posting about it, I’m not apologetic for doing so. I ordered my Quell so it would arrive in Vegas around the same time we did. It arrived within 5 working days from ordering, and the delivery was fully tracked the whole way through which was good. I had high hopes for Quell, which any fibro sufferer will know is a big deal since so little is effective, and for the few things that help, side effects can make them untenable. It was a huge emotional investment, but I’m grateful to say I’ve not been disappointed. Far from it, but I’ll get on to that later.
Quell is a device similar to TENS, developed byNeuroMetrix, Inc. NURO (NASDAQ), that provides electro stimulation through electrodes placed on the skin to block pain signals to the brain. Quell uses WINS which is more effective and powerful than TENS and is a more wearable, portable solution. Unlike TENS, you can sleep whilst using Quell. I don’t want to go into all the technical details, but if you want to read more, there’s loads of resources on the Quell site. For technical info and all the science stuff, check out the Clinicians page.
We’ve had a busy week, and a relatively active one too. Without Quell I don’t think I’d have held up to it at all. When it’s working you get a strong but not uncomfortable tingling sensation round your calf – Quell is attached using a soft band to the top of your calf – and within 10-15mins of a 60min therapy cycle I’ve been starting to feel relief. You can set the Quell up to automatically repeat therapy sessions. When you do this, it runs for an hour, then stops for an hour, then back on again, and so on until you take it off or turn it off. I’ve found it more comfortable when I have used a moisturiser or barrier cream before putting the Quell on, but it’s not uncomfortable to use. They recommend using cream beneath it if you have drier skin anyway, which I do. I’d be lying if I said I had no pain. I have a lot of pain, but whilst Quell is on, and with the support of Tramadol, I have better quality relief than I’ve had in a long time.
You can wear the Quell at night too. It has a setting to reduce the intensity of therapy sessions through the night, or you can have it so it only stays on as you’re going to sleep then switches off. I’ve tried it on the “gentle overnight” setting, so it runs the repeat therapy sessions, but at the reduced intensity. I had the best night’s sleep in so long the night I wore it, and I will be using it at night as much as I can as long as my skin stays OK (that’s an issue with my skin, not the Quell).
The app gives you more control, and tracks your usage history. You can manage all settings via the app, and it notifies you when you need to air your skin, and when it’s time to change the electrodes. The app is available on iOS devices only at time of writing, but an Android app is in development for release towards the end of the year.
So far, the only negative I’ve found is that my calves were really stiff the first couple of days but I had the calibration wrong and once I’d got that sorted they’ve released and I’m not stiffening up as much with it. TENS triggered flares, Quell doesn’t do that. I have fibromyalgia and my muscles are really sensitive; doing nothing leaves me sore and aching so if the only downside is a slightly tight calf muscle, I’m good with that.
I don’t think I could recommend Quell enough. If you’re thinking of looking into it, the product is only available in the US at time of writing. There are ways to get products ordered internationally, shipped via a US registered address, so it doesn’t have to be a barrier, and Quell are looking to get the product licensed in the UK. There is a 60 day return policy so if it’s not working for you, Quell will allow you to return it. The price is a potential barrier to some people but most of us wish for relief, and claim we’d give anything to get it and so far, for me, the cost is more than worth it.