You just want to sleep.
You’ve dealt with chronic pain all day, and now, laying in your bed in the quiet nighttime stillness, you rest — and wait to feel a few hours of reprieve from an unending onslaught of pain and stiffness in your neck, your shoulders, your hips, your chest.
But sleep doesn’t come easily for those who suffer from chronic pain. As you lay there, you think about your exhaustion. You’re too tired to do much of anything anymore, so you think of what your life has become: you haven’t left your house, you miss your friends and family, and even bathing and dressing have become insurmountable obstacles that you just can’t handle anymore.
Everything hurts. You just want to sleep.
Eventually, you hear an alarm clock go off, but it’s pointless — you’ve been awake for hours. You get out of bed because you have to feed your pets. You ache. You drink coffee. You’re stiff. You want to do housework, to go outside and feel the sun on your skin — but instead, you lay down again because of the pain. If you’re lucky, you sleep.
This used to be April Jordan’s morning. She suffers from fibromyalgia, a medical condition characterized by widespread, chronic pain. It’s difficult to treat, but even more difficult to live with — until Jordan started using Quell.
How Wearable Technology Helps Chronic Pain Sufferers
Quell is an FDA-approved piece of wearable technology that looks — well, pretty unremarkable. It’s a black Velcro strap that wraps around the upper calf. That design is intentional; Quell provides continuous therapy to chronic pain sufferers, and its simple structure means that the device is comfortable to wear throughout the day, even while sleeping.
The Velcro strap houses a therapy pod and an electrode array, which provide therapeutic electric charges throughout the day. Quell stimulates the pain sufferer’s sensory nerves, thereby activating the brain and body’s natural pain management systems. Its algorithms allow the device to automatically determine a person’s stimulation intensity, and its accompanying app tracks their treatments and sleep quality.
The end result is this: a user-friendly device that can give chronic pain sufferers their life back. In a clinical study, researchers found that 81% of Quell users reported less pain, and 67% were able to reduce the amount of painkillers they used.
For Jordan, Quell was transformative.
A Good Night’s Sleep At Last
Jordan didn’t have exceptionally high hopes for her Quell. “After you try so many things, you kind of lose hope anything will help,” she shared in an interview.
But on her second night of using the device, she slept for the first time in what felt like ages. “I actually cried a little bit from happiness when I realized I got sleep,” she said. “By day three, I noticed a subtle lessening of my stiffness and my pain during the day as well.”
Chronic pain is a leech. It soaks into every part of the sufferer’s life, taking away the things they once enjoyed. And according to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation, Americans with chronic pain report higher stress levels, and “stress, pain, and poor health are correlates of shorter sleep durations.”
But over a month after starting pain management therapy, Quell is still helping Jordan live with the chronic pain symptoms of fibromyalgia. “I noticed I have much more energy,” she said. “I can do more housework, go out and run more errands … I’m more social now that I’m getting some pain relief.”
In Jordan’s case, wearable technology didn’t just reduce her pain — it helped her regain control of her life.
“Before Quell, I Was In Pain All The Time”
Twelve years ago, Dan Reynolds stepped outside to trim his lawn — and his life drastically changed. Reynolds lost his second toe in a lawnmower accident, and over time, his big toe drifted over to where the second toe used to be. This slow shift was accompanied by bone spurs, a massive bunion, limping, and literal years of unending, chronic pain.
“I’d wake up in the middle of the night many times in cold sweats from the pain,” Reynolds said. His doctor prescribed a series of highly addictive painkillers — Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycodone, and then Dilaudid — and Reynolds fell into the same problem that afflicts an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States: substance abuse disorder.
As a wearable that does not require any medication, Quell helped Reynolds break his self-described hopeless situation and addiction to painkillers. After speaking with his podiatrist about his options, Reynolds tried Quell — and he was able to feel a difference within the first 15 minutes.
“By the time I’d had it on 45 minutes to one hour, there was no more pain left whatsoever, and this is the truth: I broke down crying — tears of joy, of course — because for the first time in 12 years, I could walk without being in pain.”
This is Reynolds’s new normal: “I normally start the day off with three consecutive therapies, then take the electrodes off for an hour and let my leg air out some.” Quell is intended for use throughout the day, so his routine continues from the morning until he goes to bed at night.
“Here I am wearing a tiny device on my leg, which not only takes pain away from my foot,” Reynolds said. “It takes it away from literally everywhere.”
Taking Control Of Health
By using wearable technology to manage his chronic pain, Reynolds can take long walks again — “a mile, at the very least, which is a long way for me.” He’s finally starting to build up muscle and lose weight, both of which will allow him to walk longer, live healthier, and most importantly, take control of his life once more.
Quell is unique among health care wearables because it combines user-friendly design and medical innovation. Plus, the technology gives patients new pain management solutions: it doesn’t require a reliance on highly addictive prescription medications, and its features — a comfortable band, an intuitive app, and even responsive customer service representatives — ensure that Quell is here to stay.
And for chronic pain sufferers like Jordan and Reynolds, that’s a beautiful thing.