What is Dr. Ho's Pain Therapy System?
Dr. Ho claims that the Pain Therapy System can relieve pain, ease muscle tension, and improve circulation through transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulations (TENS).
Pain is among the most common reasons for a trip to the doctor’s office. More than 20% of US adults are estimated to suffer from chronic pain.
As the source of the pain can be wide-ranging, the treatment choices are just as variable. Common management options can include medications, supplements, ointments and creams, hot and cold packs, physical therapy, as well as more invasive medical procedures.
Both your pain and its management can carry substantial physical, emotional, and financial burdens.
Dr. Ho claims that his Pain Therapy System provides a drug-free and more cost-effective option for addressing your pain.
In fact, he claims that the Pain Therapy System can be used to manage the following conditions:
- Back Pain
- Neck and Shoulder Pain
- Joint Pain
- Nerve Pain
- General Aches and Pains
In this article, we’ll help you determine if these claims are true by detailing the recommended use of the device, reviewing the science behind TENS, as well as addressing the available purchasing options for the Pain Therapy System.
How to Use Your Pain Therapy System
Dr. Ho claims that the Pain Therapy System can help relieve pain from the comfort of your own home. This is said to be accomplished through TENS - the application of a gentle electrical current through adhesive massage pads.
To use your Pain Therapy System, start by placing the self-adhesive pads on to the skin overlying your pain. Next, click on the power dial.
Once the unit powers on, you can gradually increase the intensity and choose from three separate massage patterns modules; deep, vigorous, or gentle, calming massage. Also, each module offers four different massage techniques.
Set the built-in timer for 10 or 20 minutes - the Pain Therapy System will shut off automatically after your desired duration.
According to the website, TENS should work by sending electrical impulses along your nerves to prevent pain signals from reaching your brain. Dr. Ho claims that this will help relieve pain, decrease muscle tensions and spasms, and improve circulation in as little as 20 minutes.
Is There Any Science Backing the Pain Therapy System?
According to the product page, Dr. Ho commissioned clinical investigations that examined the proposed benefits of the Pain Therapy System.
While the Pain Therapy System was found to be effective in relieving muscle stiffness and tension in pain clinic patients when compared to the control group, this study was funded by Dr. Ho.
Also, without being published in a medical journal, it is unlikely that this study has undergone a rigorous peer-review process. Thus, results must be taken with a grain of salt.
The ability of TENS to relieve a variety of pain-related conditions has been rigorously studied elsewhere, however.
This review concluded that TENS might represent a safer option for pain relief when compared to other medical managements. However, the potential effects may be limited as individuals develop a tolerance to their TENS device.
In a review of 12 randomized trials, TENS did not improve symptoms related to chronic back pain, though researchers did conclude that it may offer short term improvements in functional disability. When reviewing 9 randomized studies, researchers similarly found the evidence supporting TENS as a back pain treatment to be lacking, mainly due to poor study quality.
In a study examining previous reviews of TENS use in those with chronic pain, researchers were unable to draw a strong conclusion. Again, they found the available evidence to be insufficient to effectively determine if TENS is beneficial or harmful in those with chronic pain.
Another recent large review also found the available evidence to be inconclusive regarding the ability of TENS to benefit acute low back pain.
As you can see, TENS is a well-studied topic. Unfortunately, due to the variety of study subjects, methods, and results, it has been challenging to draw strong conclusions regarding the effectiveness of TENS.
Is the Pain Therapy System Safe?
TENS devices like the Pain Therapy System are generally safe to use, though there are some things you should know about before using.
The risk for serious harm is unlikely, but minor side effects related to skin irritation are possible. You may unknowingly have an allergy to the adhesive used in the skin pads.
Shaving or trimming the area to which you apply the pads can limit irritation and ingrown hairs from repeated use of your TENS. Similarly, your skin should always be clean before pad placement.
While pads are reusable, they should also be kept clean. Ensure that the adhesive cover is free of dirt, debris, hair, etc. when you store them away and replace them frequently.
You should avoid placing pads over broken skin, cuts, abrasions, bruising, etc. to avoid unwanted pain or infections.
Lastly, it is advised that those with heart pacemakers or epilepsy, as well as those who are pregnant, should avoid the use of TENS.
The biggest risk for adverse effects when using TENS is that these devices do not address the underlying causes of pain. They simply mask the signal. Without properly identifying the source of your symptoms and taking proper steps in management, you may never truly experience relief.
Speak with a doctor to determine the best plan of care.
Pain Therapy System: The Cost
Dr. Ho’s Pain Therapy System can be purchased directly from the product page.
Three different options are available:
The Basic Package comes with the TENS unit, 8 regular pads, 2 large pads, foot pads, a travel bag, and an instructional DVD. It currently costs $199.99.
The Deluxe Package includes the same items except that you get double the amount of regular and large pads. This package costs $229.99.
Lastly, the Ultimate Package includes Dr. Ho’s Pain Therapy Back Relief Belt and Magic Heat Pad in addition to the contents of the Deluxe Package. It costs $279.99.
You can also purchase pad replacements. The kits vary in both the size and number of pads included and range from $35-$50.
Like other products offered by Dr. Ho, the Pain Therapy System is backed by a 90-day guarantee. If you’re unsatisfied, email email@example.com or call 1-877-DrHoNow (1-888-816-6547) to process your return.
The same packages are also available through Amazon and are priced similarly. Keep in mind that you’ll miss out on the 90-day guarantee with this option, however.
What Are the Alternatives?
Dr. Ho’s Pain Therapy System is not the only TENS unit on the market. With a little bit of investigating, you are likely to find comparable devices available for purchase in-store or online.
For example, the TENS Massager from iReliev comes with 20 pads and offers 8 different settings. At $59, it is less than a quarter of Dr. Ho’s intermediate package.
iReliev also offers a 100% money-back guarantee and has a 4.6-star rating on 677 reviews at Amazon.
This unit offers many additional pads, a variety of settings, and a 60-minute built-in timer. Considering the cost and the return policy, this is probably a better place to start if you’re considering a TENS unit.
The Bottom Line
Dr. Ho’s Pain Therapy System does offer convenience though the research in support of TENS is lacking. However, you should be aware that even if effective, TENS only addresses the symptom and not the underlying cause.
Therefore, you may find relief during use, but still experience pain when you’re not using the Pain Therapy System.
Nonetheless, the 90-day guarantee does allow ample time to determine if the Pain Therapy System can offer benefits. Though the system is pricey, this helps eliminate much of the financial risk to try it.
At HighYa, 16 users rate the Pain Therapy System 2.9-stars. Those unhappy cite product malfunctions, pad durability, and issues with the return policy. Customer support did seem to address all concerns and mentioned that they couldn’t control return policies when units are purchased through other vendors.
TENS may provide some relief, but given the available research, opting for a more cost-effective unit may be a better idea before splurging for the pricier system offered by Dr. Ho.
Either way, you should speak with your doctor about addressing the cause of your pain. Otherwise, it may persist even with using TENS and other therapeutic options.