05.16.2016

Quell wearable pain relief review + interview

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Disclosures: I was given a Quell device as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this Quell wearable pain relief review are my own, and I was in no way influenced by the company. This post contains affiliate links. 

I recently had the chance to try out the Quell wearable pain device. Did it reduce my fibromyalgia pain? Is it worth the investment? Read my full review here!

When my friend Julie over at Chronic Illness Bloggers asked me to try out the Quell wearable pain relief device, I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting much. In recent months, I’ve read about several gadgets that propose to relieve fibromyalgia pain, and they all seemed pretty far-fetched to me. From what I’d read, Quell was no different. I mean, how was a device velcroed on my leg supposed to reduce pain?

Boy, was I wrong! I started using Quell on a Saturday afternoon, and by Monday, I told my husband it had already made my “favorite things that I own” list. (Only a few things make that list, like my Roomba and my Tek Gear hoodies.)

I’ll give you a full review further down in this post, but first, I thought you’d like to learn more about the device and how it works, so I asked Emily Adekore, Quell’s marketing manager, if she’d be willing to answer a few questions, and she agreed.

Our interview …

Could you tell us how and why Quell was developed?

Although Quell is a new device, NeuroMetrix is a well-established medical technology company, having been founded as a spinoff from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology in 1996. Prior to introducing our first wearable pain relief device in 2013, our primary focus was on point-of-care nerve conduction diagnostic devices. Our core expertise in biomedical engineering has been refined over nearly two decades of designing, building and marketing these devices that stimulate nerves and analyze nerve response for diagnostic[s] and was key to being able to design a therapeutic device to meet the needs of the 100 million Americans with chronic pain.

Who is Quell designed for?

Quell is broadly indicated for the relief of chronic pain. We’re hearing from patients with a wide variety of chronic pain conditions who have reported experiencing relief with Quell.

In simple terms, how does Quell work?

Quell is designed to be worn 1-2 inches below the knee so that it can stimulate the cluster of sensory nerve fibers located there that is close to the surface of the skin. Because the stimulation triggers your body’s natural pain blockers to provide widespread pain relief, you do not have to have the device on the area of the body where you are experiencing pain in order to experience pain relief.

[Editor’s note: For those who would like a longer explanation, here is a short video (scroll down the page a bit) that illustrates how Quell works and a 12-page white paper on the “Science Behind Quell.”]

Can you share any research findings related to Quell, especially those for fibromyalgia?

In a recent clinical study that included fibromyalgia, 81 percent reported improvement in their chronic pain and 67 percent were able to reduce their pain medication.

How long does it take before most patients feel relief, and how long does the reduction in pain last?

Some people experience relief in as little as 15 minutes, but it can take several weeks for people who have suffered from chronic pain for a long time to experience relief.

How is Quell different than a TENS unit?

Quell is a new technology [known as] wearable intensive nerve stimulation (WINS) that is five times more powerful than popular over-the-counter TENS devices. Quell is also the only over-the-counter electrical nerve stimulation device that is FDA cleared for use while sleeping, so it is wearable 24/7.

There are implantable devices on the market that control different bodily functions. For instance, there’s the Interstim that’s inserted into the back to relieve symptoms of overactive bladder, and there’s a device called NeuroPace that’s inserted into the brain to help control seizures. It seems to me that Quell’s technology could be used in a transplantable device for continuous pain relief. Is that option being considered?

There are quite a few implantable nerve stimulators in the marketplace today.  Quell employs the same therapeutic approach as implanted devices, but the nerves are stimulated transcutaneously, so it is non-invasive.  As is the case with any treatment modality, implanted devices won’t work for everyone and do carry risks.  Quell is a wearable option, with minor skin irritation as the only known side effect.

My Quell wearable pain relief review – the pros …

I asked that last question because Quell has been working so well for me that I wished there was a way to permanently implant it in my brain. I know that’s going to sound extreme to some people, but when you live with chronic pain every single day, the idea of having an implant that permanently reduce pain can actually start to sound like a pretty good idea. (I’m pretty sure I’d show up at the hospital tomorrow if such an implant existed.)

As promised, I’m going to talk about the pros and cons of my experience with Quell. First, the pros:

  • Like any fibromyalgia treatment, it doesn’t relieve all pain, but it helps to knock it down a few levels. When I started my trial, I was averaging between 4-6 on this pain scale each day. Wearing the Quell device brought my daily pain scores down to about 2-4 during the first weeks of use. My pain has increased to a range of 3-5 over the past couple of weeks, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the Quell; I think I’ve been eating too much sugar, which is a known pain trigger for me. (Those gluten-free popcicles in the freezer keep calling to me!)
  • Most of us with fibromyalgia experience different kinds of pain. For me, the Quell has worked best on relieving the all-over body soreness that most people associate with fibro.
  • It also helps to reduce the tingling and numbness in my feet caused by neuropathy. If you suffer from neuropathy, Quell is definitely worth a try because it is extremely difficult to find anything to help with that.
  • The device itself is easy to use. It comes with a Quick Start Guide with easy steps for setup and operation. Instructional videos, troubleshooting advice and other helpful information are on Quell’s website, and if you happen to get stuck, there’s a customer care number you can call for one-to-one help.
  • The instructions recommend wearing Quell at least 4-6 hours a day for the first month. I far exceeded this. Typically, I put my Quell on every morning when I wake up and wear it all day until I go to bed. You can wear Quell while sleeping. Somehow the device can sense when you’re sleeping and will alter its pulsing action so it doesn’t disturb your sleep. I wore it several times while sleeping, and it never woke me. On a few occasions, I couldn’t fall asleep due to increased pain, so I strapped the device on my leg to see if it would reduce my pain and got back into bed. After about 30 minutes of a Quell session, the pain began easing up. It’s enough to help me finally get to sleep.
  • Quell has an app that you can download on your smartphone or tablet, which tracks how many sessions you complete each day and how well you slept (if you wore it while sleeping). The settings tab allows you to control your Quell from your phone or tablet instead of doing it manually from the device.

And now the cons…

  • At $249 for the starter kit, it’s not cheap. But the company does offer a good return policy, so if it doesn’t work for you, there’s a way to get your money back.
  • Quell’s electrodes have to be replaced every two weeks, so there’s an ongoing investment for use.
  • When using Quell, you’ll feel a tingling or buzzing sensation on your leg throughout each treatment session. There were times when this sensation became too strong for me, and it felt like the device was stinging me. I was able to tap the button on the device to reduce the intensity of the sensation, but at times, it was still too much. I called the company’s customer service number to ask about the stinging sensation, and the rep advised me to recalibrate my device. I did that a couple of times, but still have the occasional stinging sensation once or twice a week. I’m chalking it up to being some weird fibro thing. When it happens, I turn off the Quell and remove it from my leg for a few minutes, or I move it to my other leg. That always fixes the issue.
  • One time I made the mistake of removing the Quell without turning it off first. Don’t ever do that! If you touch the electrodes with your fingers when the device is on, it feels like a doggie shock collar! Ouch!
  • I’ve been wearing my Quell for over a month now, and my band is starting to show a bit of wear and tear. Part of the band is velcro, so of course it picks up every little tuft of lint or cat hair (of which I have a lot of in my house). Fortunately, the Quell site sells replacement bands.

Final thoughts …

Overall, I love this thing! If my Quell dies tomorrow, I will have another ordered and on the way to my home by the end of the day. It has been that good for me.

I would have never purchased Quell on my own because I’m skeptical of these sorts of devices. I’m glad I had the opportunity to try it because it’s become a great tool in my fibro-fighting arsenal.

Click here for more information on the Quell wearable pain relief device.

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Comments

  1. Tired of Hurting 24/7 says:

    Hi. A Friend of mine ordered the Quell thru his flex spending account after he saw the pain I was in from Fibromyalgia. Was so glad to know FSA does cover it. I haven’t received the unit yet, but look forward t trying it out. I am so tired of fighting with Doctors about my meds. My liver enzymes are elevated and I am looking for an alternative to taking so many pills to help ease the pain. I was wondering if anyone has an answer to this question. Do the Quell Electrode refills expire if I purchase a few at a time. I need to use my FSA and wanted to buy more than one at a time. Thanks!

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      No, they don’t expire.

      • Tired of Hurting 24/7 says:

        Thank you. I called Quell ..they Expire after two years. I just received my Quell. I have been using it for 2 1/2 days. Lets just say it has been a great start. My hands are my worst since I use the computer 8 hours a day. The Quell has helped in only a short time. I am not looking for a miracle..just an alternative to all the meds , creams and ice packs I have to use every day just function. I am looking forward to better quality of Life ahead with the help of this device. God Bless. <3

        • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

          That’s awesome news! I’m so glad it’s helping you! Did Quell say why the electrodes expire? I would have never thought they’d go bad unless they were stored improperly.

  2. Ryan Noell says:

    Are you still a Quell user? Your article was most helpful and I am curious if the positive effects you experienced last year have continued with regular use.

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      Yes, I still wear my Quell pretty much every day. It’s one of the only things that I’ve found effective for pain.

  3. Lauren says:

    Please be careful with this device if you have nerve damage. I thought I didn’t have anything to lose because there were no side effects – boy was I wrong. After just one 50-minute session, my nerve pain became much worse, including other neural side effects like fasiculations and jerks. It even gave me post-concussion syndrome. Before I purchased this unit, I could only find positive or neutral reviews, so I want to make sure potential users know that it can have terrible side effects if you have nerve damage.

    • I too had an issue. Wore this device to bed and woke up feeling nauseated and my back ,neck hurt worse the muscles were very tight and my head felt weird.
      Which caused anxiety as well due to the feeling I was having. I have not had this happen before and it was the first time using this machine and the first day of use.
      Coincidence? Hard to believe that would be the case.
      I have used muscle stimulators as an ex athlete and that feeling is what I had in my back and neck . everything was locked up like I had done the worst work out of my life. Would like to hear more about others experiences as the person who posted this and myself can’t be the only ones that have experienced a problem using the machine.

  4. Gudrun says:

    I have fibromyaligia and CFS/ME. Do you have ME? and did Quell increase or decrease the fatige?

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      Quell had no effect on my fatigue. As far as I know, it is only for pain relief.

  5. I am skeptical of these units, too; however, I am familiar with how you review products, so I trust your judgement on it. I know not all products will work on everyone, but it’s good to know the range of products out there.

    The app tracks the sessions, and sleeping, but is that data used for anything in particular? Or just to increase/decrease the settings?

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      It tracks over time so you can see trends, and it helps to know how many hours you’ve worn it on average. But really, I don’t use the app very much. The app is more useful if you need to make adjustments to how the unit works.

  6. Didn’t work for me either. Wanted it to work so badly. If you can try it, please do so. If it doesn’t work for you, take advantage of their return policy. It is a lot of money. As a long time pain patient, I understand that you would try everything you can, especially non-invasive, drug-free options.

    • Hey Jane,
      I can understand your situation, but if you can one more time use another drug-free option which is called Tens Machines. I am sure you will get good result.
      Let me know if you have anything to ask on the same.
      Cheers,
      Mason Andrew

  7. I have been using the Quell for nearly two months for RA and I have had great results. Their customer service and support is outstanding!

  8. Julie says:

    Thanks Donna! At 249$ I would hesitate too. After all, there is an industry waiting to take advantage of us chronic pain sufferers. One question: can you tell me what else you have in your pain arsenal that is similar in effectiveness? I am wondering if I could cut my cymbalta dose by half… That could cover the cost… Or take Epsom salt baths less frequently…

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      Here’s what I’m using currently for pain: Quell device; magnesium lotion/supplements; CBD lotion from The Fay Farm; other pain-related supplements like curcumin, DLPA, SAMe, etc.; Tramadol and Flexeril as needed, gluten free diet. Mostly I just suffer with it. Not much helps these days. 🙁

      I flunked out of most of the fibro drugs, like Lyrica and Cymbalta. Couldn’t take them due to side effects.

      My understanding is if you buy from Quell’s website, they offer a 60-day trial. If it doesn’t work, then you can return for a full refund.

  9. Patrice says:

    You’re so blessed that people come to you to try all the new different things out there to help the fibro pain!!!

    Thank you so much for these e-mails and sharing what is new out there. I really appreciate it!!

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      Yes, my friend Julie who runs the Chronic Illness Bloggers network has really been working hard on developing partnerships with companies that will allow us to try their products. I’m very grateful for the opportunities she’s negotiated for us. Glad you’re finding the reviews helpful!

  10. Marline Emmal says:

    Thank you sooo much for this post! I,too, was skeptical of the device, but now in light of your review I will be saving up for one.

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      I hope it helps! If you try it, I’d love to hear about your experience.

  11. You are fortunate. Have had bad FM for 30 years, tried Quell 24/7 for 60 day trial. Zero effect for me. Good company, though, and worth a trial if you have FM, works for some.

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      Hi Steve, I’m sorry it didn’t work for you. That’s just so typical of fibro, isn’t it? Some things help some of us and not others.

  12. Thank you for your review. I have been in remission, both pain and prescription free, for many years thanks to the unique wellness work of Joy of Healing. I was interested in your review because prior to experiencing my remission I had tried anything and everything, including a TENs device. Still the pains increased. Good to know that this helped you!

    Love and blessings,
    Janet

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      Thank you, Janet. So glad you were able to find relief w/ the Joy of Healing program.

Trackbacks

  1. […] written a couple of articles on why I love the Quell so much. You can read those here and here. But the short answer is this: It’s the only device that’s consistently reduced pain […]

  2. […] Quell Wearable Pain Relief  – This year, I had the opportunity to try out several higher-end fibromyalgia-related products in exchange for reviews on my blog. On Thanksgiving, I will say a little prayer of gratitude to the folks who developed Quell. This little device has been a life changer for me! It is one of the only things that consistently knocks my pain down to a manageable level. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: If my Quell dies tomorrow, I will have another one ordered by the end of the day. I would not be without it! You can read my full Quell review here.  […]

  3. […] Quell is running a sale on its refurbished units for only $179 through Nov. 27. No code is needed at checkout to get the sale price. Most of you probably know I’m a super big fan of the Quell pain relief device. You can read my previous review of Quell here. […]

  4. […] Fellow fibro bloggers Grace is Sufficient and Chronic Mom review the Quell pain relief device. You can read my own review here. […]

  5. […] I recently had the honor to share my experience with the Quell pain relief device on the #LivingQuell blog. Without a doubt, the Quell is my No. 1 tool for fighting fibro/Lyme-related pain. It’s one of the few things that consistently helps me. I wear it every single day. You can read my full Quell review here. […]

  6. […] friend of mine, Donna from Fed Up With Fatigue, posted about this device on her blog as well. She conducted an interview with the Marketing […]

  7. […] Quell is a new type of technology, wearable intensive nerve stimulation. It is drug free and approved for 24/7 use. It can be worn night and day to help with pain. Quell is designed to be worn just below the knee and tap into your body’s pain control system to block pain signals. You do not have to have the device in the area of the body that experiences pain. If you are interested learning more about the science of Quell you can watch a video here. […]

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