I'm not a big fan of using pain relievers and I'm also not a big fan of giving back rubs to my wife who suffers from constant back pain. Thus, when I got the chance to check out Aleve's new Direct Therapy TENS device I jumped at the opportunity. It operates based on a simple theory - the TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) device stimulates the nerves to block the sensation of pain without using drugs.
In the past, devices like this would cost hundreds of dollars and be only available in therapists offices. However, Aleve has packaged the Direct Therapy unit in an easy to use package and priced at only $49.99, with gel pads (used for sticking the unit to the skin) available at $15.99 for a two-pack (four pads total).
Setup is simple and all the required pieces are contained in the box including a small screw driver used to open up the back panel so you can insert the included batteries.
To use Aleve Direct Therapy, simply attach the gel pads to the wings of the device, turn it on and use the remote to adjust the power level.
Does it Work?
Yes, but ... Aleve Direct Therapy is sold specifically for "Relief from lower back pain" and it does that well. However, it's a relatively unsophisticated device and doesn't work as well for other parts of body that we tested. This includes shoulders, arms, and legs. The key issues here was the stiffness of the device and the relatively large jumps in intensity as we increased the power.
The other challenge in recommending this device though is that $16 seems fairly high for just two sets of pads. While each pad should be able to be used 3-4 times, this is clearly a razors and blades type product where the unit is sold at a low price that they then hope to recoup revenue with through the sale of gel pads.
That all being said, it's not an outrageous price and it does work for what it is specifically advertised to do. The industrial design of the unit is also very nice and easy to use compared to more medical-looking devices that it competes with. At $50, I'd say it is worth trying and you can make up your own mind if it is something you find valuable.