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FES vs TENS (Tens won't work for me will FES)?

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  • FES vs TENS (Tens won't work for me will FES)?

    I am seeking a FES bike. But upon my bumpy road map to purchase one i have a question. TEns machines do nothing to my lower extremities. Yet above injury line it works fine. Will Functional Electronic STimulation (FES) produce slim to no results in muscle contraction like the TENS machine? Any easy way to test this out?

  • #2
    What is your injury level?? AIS status? (a complete profile is SOOO helpful!!)

    If you are trying to do FES on lower motor neuron (LMN) muscles, you will probably be unsuccessful. TENS has little or nothing to do with intact reflex arcs in the target muscles.

    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


    • #3
      Your injury level and status will give a good guide to whether you can use an FES bike. With injuries low down on the spine it is possible that the lower motor neurons will not be intact and then the FES bike wont seem to work for you becuase both the nerves and the muscle structures become altered as a side effect of the injury. Best chance is with injuries C5 down to T9. There is some technology we use in Europe with denervated muscles to restore tissue bulk and quality - but its not a bike and I dont think has approval to be offered in the USA. Also I should say that some individuals who I had expected to be denervated due to their described injury level actually were able to use a bike effectively. Trying is the best way to be certain.


      • #4
        At 15G's you better know that it works for you. I am T12 L1 and have a combination of upper and lower motor nueron injury. Some of my muscles responded to stim, some didn't. I will say that the traditional tens units were not strong enough to produce a contraction with me. The FES bike was able to go high enough to cause a contraction.

        Try one first. They are very expensive. I bet that many PT gyms have them and you could get a trial on one for a price I am sure.

        My two cents. The FES was the ONLY thing that I did at out patient that was worth the cost. Everything else I could've saved my money and done on my living room floor. Which I did.

        But the nurse is right. It doesn't work on everyone, so you should definitely try one first.