By Jorie –
For my birthday this past year, my mom graciously gifted me the Quell 2.0 device. I had been wanting to try Quell for a long time after hearing about it within the chronic pain community, but neither I nor my husband could immediately afford it. I’m immensely grateful for my mom’s constant, unwavering support in my chronic pain treatment, and of course this gift meant a lot to me. I couldn’t wait to get home and give it a spin. I went in feeling extremely positive and hopeful.
Quell 2.0 has an average review of about 4 out of 5 stars across all buying platforms and reviews are all generally positive. Quell 2.0 sells for a firm $299 with a 4 pack of replacement electrodes selling for $19.99. The first generation of Quell is also still available for purchase at around $230-$250 depending on where you buy it.
So, What is Quell?
Quell 2.0 (which is the second generation of the device) is a 100% drug-free daily pain relief device similar to that of a TENS unit designed to be worn on your calf. It comes paired with a mobile app to use in sync with your treatment.
You may be wondering, why on the calf and not on the specifically painful area? I’ll explain that more below.
How Does it Work?
Created by a company called NeuroMetrix started by Dr. Shai Gozani, MD, the science behind Quell has been carefully studied for over 20 years.
According to the company, Quell is up to 10x more powerful than typical over-the-counter TENS devices. Quell uses neurotechnology to zero in on your personal pain profile and design an approach that is unique to your body.
Ultimately, the simplest way to explain how Quell works is this: the device sends signals to your spinal cord through consistent stimulation which activates endorphins in your brain. Endorphins, which aid in pain relief, kick in after consistent use and that’s when relief becomes noticeable. This is why it isn’t necessary to wear Quell where your actual pain is located.
How To Use The Device
When you receive Quell 2.0 and unpack the box, you’ll find that it comes with:
- The device itself: The device is a small, flat, black unit with a little light on one end and a charger input on the other.
- Soft wearable band: The device fits snugly inside this band that will then be wrapped around your leg with the electrode attached inside.
- One electrode pack: The electrode snaps to the device once it is tucked into the wearable band.
- Charger & adapter: You will have to charge the Quell periodically. You can find out battery percentage when you download the Quell app and connect via bluetooth.
After unpacking all these components, it’s important to register the device in your name and download the Quell app. When you download the app, it will take you through a series of questions so the smart technology can learn about your pain patterns and know how to adjust Quell to your best benefit.
Once charging is complete, you’ll slide it into the wearable band so that the little light is showing upright on the outside and the snaps for the electrodes are showing on the inside. This is where you’ll snap on the electrode, then peel off the protective layer. The sticky side will be wrapped around the meaty part of your calf with the device showing on the side of your leg (as shown in my photo further down in this post), and use the velcro to secure the band snugly around your leg. You should be able to walk easily without it sliding down.
Next, you’ll use the app to calibrate your device. This allows the device to learn your sensitivity level and how much to send pulses through your leg in any given therapy session. You can adjust the intensity anytime during therapy sessions, however, or stop completely if you need to by pressing the “stop” button in the app, or tapping the device on your leg twice.
Quell recommends wearing and using the device at least 3 times per day for 30 days to begin seeing results. This is why I decided to write my review after 30 days of regular usage and recording my thoughts throughout this time period to get an accurate representation for how Quell is working for me personally. Remember that this review is subjective and results can vary from person to person.
My First 30 Days
My first day using Quell was experimental and interesting, as I was getting used to the sensation and beginning to understand how the technology worked on a biological level. The Quell app suggests that the pulses should be “strong, but comfortable” which I felt was a good way of describing it because that is indeed how it felt. It was very bearable and after a while I forgot I was wearing it as I went on with my day.
The morning of day 2, I noticed I had some mild skin irritation at the site of the electrode adhesion. I noted that this could possibly be due to my “zebra skin” which is slang for the symptom I have with Ehlers Danlos Symptom that causes fragile and easily-irritated skin. This may or may not happen with other people. I simply switched the device to my other calf for day 2, and switched back for day 3, following this pattern. It seemed to work out well for the breakouts I experienced.
By day 5, I felt some itchiness with my first morning therapy session around the 20 minute mark. I assume that this occurred because I’d gone back to using it on the opposite leg that I initially started using the device on (essentially, this leg has gotten more use now than the other), and I’ve got more irritation happening as a result of EDS issues. I also found the device to be in general more uncomfortable by this day as well. But, onward and upward!
I didn’t note anything particularly remarkable about the next 25 days.
Usage Beyond 30 Days
I found that past the 30 day mark, it was hard for me to keep up with using the Quell in my daily life. During that time I traveled to Washington, DC for a few days where I advocated for migraine and headache disease at Headache on the Hill and I barely found the time to use the device, even though I did bring it along. There were other instances in which I forgot the use Quell, or it got just in the way of my schedule, etc.
For someone on the go a lot (which I am not!), I don’t think Quell is ideal. However, Quell does make a Quell Sport version for people who are very active, but I cannot speak on that device, only the 2.0.
Past 30 days, my use of Quell significantly dropped because I felt it wasn’t working all that well and it wasn’t super worth my time to get it out and use it constantly. I wasn’t feeling any major results with it past the initial minimal drop in pain levels for a bit.
Overall Rating & Thoughts
Taking into account my entire experience, the ease of use, and all other components of the Quell 2.0 device, I rate it a solid 3.5 stars.
I feel that Quell wasn’t the best treatment for me personally, but I believe it does have a lot of potential for other chronic pain patients out there, especially if you are a person who is great at keeping up and sticking to routines. Using Quell it is absolutely essential to be consistent in order to see results. I found that my lifestyle, even though it isn’t fast-paced, didn’t match up well with using it.
If you decide to try Quell, keep these notes in mind:
- Quell does not currently require a prescription to obtain, but if you are enrolled in FSA (Flexible Spending Account) or HSA (Health Savings Account), it is eligible for both of those.
- NeuroMetrix has a 60-day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with your Quell experience. I did not take advantage of this, but want to let you all know it is out there!
Have you tried Quell 2.0? Let us know any questions or thoughts in the comments!