Laura’s Pen reviews the ActiPatch electromagnetic pulse therapy device for her chronic pain…
Before I start my ActiPatch review, let me take you back to Winter at the end of 2013. I’d just started seeing a physiotherapist for my chronic hip bursitis, I’d been told I wasn’t allowed any more steroid injections into it: the only thing that gave me any pain relief, I was crying myself to sleep every night because of my pain and my body had just decided to start hurting in other places, widespread throughout my body.
Disclosure: While I did not receive any free products or payments for this review, I have included links to my Amazon storefront, for which I will a small commission if you purchase through it.
Painkillers didn’t help. Prescription cocodamol made a very small dent in the pain. Naproxen did nothing at all. Both… didn’t do much either. I basically froze my leg with ice packs many nights in an attempt to numb it. I eventually found that constant use of heat patches on the exact point they injected me with the steroid injections made a difference…a lot more difference than all these drugs. But I was still in an immense amount of pain. Standing hurt, walking hurt, sitting hurt, laying down hurt. Laying in bed hurt most of all.
Why I tried ActiPatch
I saw an advert on Facebook for a trial version of a device called an ActiPatch. It was a couple of pounds and I thought, it’s worth a try. ANYTHING is worth a try right now.
Just so you know, this isn’t a review based on me receiving a free product. This is a review based on my own buying and use of the product.
That was the best decision I ever made.
What the ActiPatch did for my Hip Bursitis
I first tried it on the front of my hip where it seemed to hurt most and this…did nothing. Then I thought, ok, let’s try it on the back of my hip, basically my upper thigh/lower bum, exactly over the point they injected the steroids. I still had a mark from the injection which made this pretty easy.
The difference was remarkable. After a few days I could sleep without it hurting as long as I lay on my back. I could sit with my legs up on the sofa and straight out in front of me without pain. It started making a difference after just a few hours.
It didn’t get rid of the problem. I suspect that’s because there’s some still unknown cause behind the bursitis. Originally they thought it was due to weakness in my legs but I regained strength with Physiotherapy and the pain was still there.
I’ve been using it on my hip constantly since then. I still can’t do a lot of things without it hurting. I can’t stand still, I can’t lay on my side and sitting in a normal chair aggravates it.
But… it means I can live without it hurting me if I sit and lay in the right positions. I am no longer crying myself to sleep every night, in fact, with the patch on, it’s very low down on my list of problems. My hip no longer stops me sleeping, it just dictates the position I sleep in.
I attach the ActiPatch with tape and occasionally a bit of tape pulls off and it goes a bit wonky. Or, with my forgetfulness, I forget to put it back on after a bath. It takes about two hours before I’m sitting there thinking…owww..my hip really hurts. Then I check the patch, put it back in its place, and an hour later the pain has gone again.
What it doesn’t help with
Obviously, with this making such a difference to my pain I went and started applying my ActiPatches to other areas on my body, and had much less success. It had zero effect on my burning nerve pain in my knee. My neck… it does loosen the muscles up a bit and I get the same feeling in it I do after it’s properly massaged. But after a day I start to feel a bit funny with it on. Massage does the same thing to me, no idea what’s going on there. So I decided my physio and hot wheat bags were a better idea.
My muscular shoulder pain… it hasn’t helped with. I have a feeling it might help with this if I had one source of the pain. But I think I’ve got several different muscles all having a pain party. I’m still trying to figure this out with a physiotherapist. If they made a massive patch I could just apply to the whole area, it might work well for me. (There’s also a possibility I have endometriosis on my diaphragm, in which case it may be referred pain)
I think it’s much better for a specific pain where you know the source of the problem and can apply the patch accordingly. If I hadn’t known the cause of my hip pain I would have applied it to the wrong place and not had any success. For Fibromyalgia I feel pain is too widespread for it too be much help, and there’s a lot of different types of pain going on in Fibro. Nerve pain? Not so good. Muscular pain/inflammation/muscular injury very good. But if you have that all over the place, you’d be covering yourself in ActiPatches, which would prove very expensive.
However, there is a lady I’ve spoken to who used it on her knee after an operation on it and the surgeon was impressed with how quickly it healed. I’m not sure how she is getting on now though I’m afraid. This was a conversation from a few years ago!
How does the ActiPatch work?
The thing the company loves to stress is THIS IS NOT A TENS MACHINE. Although “electromagnetic pulse therapy” sounds like a tens machine, it definitely doesn’t feel the same. In fact, you don’t feel anything when it’s on.
Here is one of their videos that explains how the ActiPatch works, because, to be honest, I don’t really understand how it works well enough to explain it myself.
How much does it cost?
This isn’t cheap. But it is much cheaper and effective than using a heat patch every day on the area, which is what I was doing before,If you want to try it, I would recommend the 7-day Actipatch trial device so you can test if it helps you. You can’t turn this off like the full device though (at least you couldn’t when I tried it).
The trial version comes with some plaster-type things to attach it to yourself.
The full version (available in the shops listed below) comes with either plasters to attach it to you, a back strap or a knee strap, depending on which type you buy.
You can also buy the device directly from their website.
I personally don’t use any of the attachments and I bought myself some micro-porous tape that I use instead.
The full version lasts 720 hours, or 30 days, and you can turn it off when you’re not using it. So I’m buying one a month. I actually find it normally lasts a bit longer than this, I keep going with a device until my pain starts creeping back.
Where can I get it?
If you’re in the U.K.:
Amazon and some online pharmacies sell it, although you may need to order it into a store if you want to get it from a physical shop. Or you can order it from their website.
The tryactipatch website has free delivery but says it may take two weeks to arrive (I usually don’t find this to be the case but you have to allow for it when ordering).
It is technically available on the NHS now, but it has gone to my CCG to make a decision on whether I can get it, and its taken them months to get back to me. You may have better luck than me.
If you are elsewhere in the world:
ActiPatch have a handy map and links of where you can buy it in the world. I know I have a lot of readers in the USA, so yes, you can buy it there.
While this product isn’t a miracle, it has made a huge difference to me. It felt like a miracle at the time. I can’t express how hard it was to cope with the amount of pain I was in whilst laying in bed trying to sleep. Unfortunately, other things keep popping up and interfering with my sleep, but my hip is not one of those things.
It won’t work for everyone, and shelling out twenty plus quid for a full device is a lot when you don’t know if it will work, which is why I’d really recommend having a go with the 7-day trial ActiPatch and you can try it on different body parts and see if it would be useful to you.
I hope this review has been helpful!
Lots of love from,
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