Quell Wearable Pain Relief, an Introduction



I as I imagine many of our readers (especially if you started at AnythingButiPod or GoodAndEvo) are starting to age into sports and other injuries becoming a persistent nuisance.

Well, I’m in that group. Soccer and Volleyball through High School (Cretaceous period); NCAA Sailing and Crew in College (Eocene), and continuing pickup roller and ice hockey (Pleistocene). Now as a family man (Anthropocene) shoveling, home repairs, etc. You like me likely have aches and pains, and the ability to predict the weather to some degree.

I’ve found that even mixing NSAIDs: Ibuprofin and Naproxen can still leave me feeling like crud, not from an injury that day, just having lived a few decades (millennia). I’m also a big guy so, I’ve worked with my PCPs to find what “helps” for me.

With all that said, let me say I am extremely happy that I found the Quell device.  And let me perfectly upfront about this, researching alternative pain relief (meditation, yoga, etc, I’ve tried a lot of things that didn’t help), the unit I am wearing was provided by NEUROMetrix for free in exchange for an honest long term review.

What really piqued my interest were these two papers:

Vance, C. G., D. L. Dailey, B. A. Rakel, and K. A. Sluka. 2014. Using TENS for pain control: the state of the evidence. Pain Management 4:197–209.

Shai Gozani, MD, PhD is the founder of NeuroMetrix, Inc. which was one of the first spin-offs from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1996. But they didn’t rush their product to market as we see with day one patches on everything from hardware, firmware, and games, but took the slow, cautious, and conscientious approach to general availability to the global market.

Here is what the device looks like when you receive it:

It has a lovely glossy slip-cover and what has become the ubiquitous opening experience that was first undertaken by Apple. Removing the slip-cover shows a matte gray box with an embossed blue and white Quell “Q”.

Opening the clamshell you have a Quell’s branded “Welcome to Wearable Pain Relief” on the left and the actual Quell unit on the right, as you open and unpack the box you can see that it comes with a micro-usb charger and wall plug, the unit itself, the leg-band and a white package containing two of the consumable Quell electrodes.

You can see the unit itself is very thin and minimalistic, hardly taller than the wall plug it ships with. On the back is the ubiquitous Bluetooth FCC/EU label, as well as the attachment point for the electrodes. The bottom sports a micro-usb plug for charging, while the front has a single large button above the Quell logo, that allows you to control the unit without the phone using a series of long- and short-presses.

Here you can see the Quell in the leg band from the front and rear. On the front you can see the blue framed window allowing access to the multi-use button. The rear window shows allows the electrodes to interface with the device, and the right-most image shows a top down view of the device in the band, where you can see a series of LED’s that blink white to indicate activity, power level, etc, or orange to indicate that the device has lost contact with your leg via the electrodes, which in my case means that the electrode “nubs” had most likely popped out of their holders.

So far I really like it, and there will be multiple followup posts to this, but I can wholeheartedly say that this has worked extremely well on pain that did not respond to NSAIDs either OTC or prescription levels.

The band is washable (yay), and my only real complaint so far is that when my calf flexes a lot I can dislodge the “nub” on the electrode from its “socket” in the device. It also tracks sleep, so now I have three ways to do that:

  1. Pebble Time thought I used Sleep As Android with my Pebble OG/KS!
  2. Sleep As Android I have the Full Unlock: amazing for <$4!
  3. Quell Pain Relief Wearable

It is currently listing at $249 with $30 clickable coupon on page for a total of just $219 + tax:

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Ben C

First phone: Wall-mounted rotary dial. First cellphone: Motorola StarTac (dozens of antennas) First Android: Droid Incredible: rooted, ended up on CM Current: Essential PH-One (Now Defunct) Fun stuff: dad, photographer, dog-owner, Subaru and Volvo owner, water and nature lover.

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