Please note: An update has been added to the bottom of this post.
I first became aware of the Quell— a wearable pain relief device– in 2015, when a friend purchased one during a trip to Vegas. It really helped with their pain and they couldn’t recommend the Quell highly enough. Instantly, I knew I would love to try the Quell but at the time they were only available for purchase in the US.
Rewind to the end of last year and I was contacted by Chronic Illness Bloggers who asked if I was like to review the Quell in preparation for their UK and European launch. I jumped at the chance! I wanted to see if the Quell would live up to the hype and I knew it was going to come in useful during the months ahead, as I navigated a new treatment plan for my Lyme disease.
Spoiler alert: I have had the Quell for a few months now and it’s my new favourite thing, it’s attached to my leg every single day and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough! Read on to find out more.
What is the Quell?
The Quell is a completely safe, natural and drug-free pain relief that is used to manage chronic pain. It is a small device that is worn on the upper calf where it stimulates sensory nerves, tapping into your body’s natural pain relief response. In simple terms, stimulating the nerves on your calf tells your brain to block pain signals, leading to widespread pain relief.
It feels similar to a TENS machine but is 5 x’s more powerful than any other over-the-counter-device. The main difference is that it is not worn on the area of the body that is painful but instead it is always worn on the calf, no matter where your pain is.
It is safe to wear 24/7, meaning that you can have round-the-clock pain relief. Perfect for those of you who suffer from disrupted sleep due to your pain.
Quell is easy to set-up & use
I was so excited when I received my Quell and I couldn’t wait to get started with it. I actually unboxed it over on my Instagram story when I received it and if you saw that, you would have seen how easy it was to get it set up.
Quell starter kit
In the starter kit, you receive your Quell device, an adjustable band, a month’s supply of electrodes (2 electrodes), plus a charger. My device arrived fully charged and was ready to use immediately. Great!
There is a pocket on the band to hold the device and then the electrodes simply snap on at the back. You then place the band on your calf, 1-2 inches below your knee. The band is secured with velcro.
Calibrating the Quell
Before you use your Quell for the first time it needs to be calibrated so that it provides optimal pain relief. This involves sitting with your feet on the floor and knees bent at 90°. To start calibrating, you hold the button on the device until the lights start running back and forth. Release the button and then any time you feel the slightest tingle, press the button. Once done, you are good to go!
Using the Quell
Quell is straight-forward to use. You simply put the device on your leg, press the button to switch it on and then leave it to do its thing! It’s honestly that simple. It delivers therapy for an hour, then gives you a break for 60 minutes, before starting another cycle automatically (you can change the frequency in the app, which I’ll explain below). After 4 cycles of use, it will buzz at the end of a therapy session to remind you to let the skin on your leg have a breather. I simply switch it over to my other leg if I feel I need to.
If necessary, you can also increase or decrease the intensity of the therapy Quell delivers. To increase, you hold the button on the device down until you see the all the lights flash. Keep holding until it reaches a level you are happy with. To decrease the therapy, press the button once. To switch the device off completely, you press the button 4 times.
The Quell App
The Quell also works with an app and you can control it directly from your phone via Bluetooth. To be honest, I prefer to do this as I feel using the app gives you a bit more info.
In the app, you can see how long you have left of your therapy session, or when the next one is due to start. You can also start or stop a session and increase or decrease the intensity of your session. It also displays the battery level as a percentage and it will tell you how many remaining sessions you have if you click on the battery.
Different settings are available
Within the settings, you can also put your Quell into sleep mode, disable the device button (so there’s no accidentally pressing it; believe me when I say it’s no fun to accidentally put your Quell into calibration mode without realising) and adjust the type of stimulation (I prefer the alternative one to the standard). You can also change the therapy dose.
There are 4 different options: standard is a therapeutic dose that lasts 60-minutes and is followed by an hour break before restarting; manual is where the therapy lasts 60-minutes but you have to manually start the session; low is a 30-minute session that restarts after a 60-minute break, and high is a 60-minute therapy session that restarts after a 30-minute break.
Track your pain
Finally, in the app, you can also see how many Quell sessions you have had that day and when you need to replace your electrode (which lasts approximately 2 weeks). You can also record how your pain has been over the previous 24hours, which is a great way to track how the Quell is helping your pain.
The only thing I wish the app did was provide notifications when the battery is running low on the Quell. The two notifications options available are to remind you to fill out the ‘rate pain’ feature and to replace the electrode.
My experience with Quell
The Quell does not work right away for everyone and sometimes it takes weeks of use until you feel the full benefits. I was lucky. Within half an hour I could feel a reduction in my pain, particularly around my neck and shoulders. I was impressed with the Quell from day 1! The more I used it, though, the better its effects became.
My reservations before using Quell
I did have a couple of reservations beforehand, though. Firstly, as I tend to wear slim-leg jeggings I worried that I wouldn’t be able to pull them up over the device. I needn’t have worried as this wasn’t an issue at all.
I also worried that people would notice this weird thing strapped to my leg. Not because of how it looks aesthetically, but more because I didn’t want to have to explain what it was and why I was wearing it. However, the Quell is pretty slim-lined in design and only the very observational folks have noticed it. And even then, it was after weeks of use. I was so impressed by it at that point that I was happy to tell everyone about it in the end!
Turning the dial down on my pain
I’ve been roadtesting the Quell for almost 9 months now so I can confidently say that it does work to help reduce my pain. The Quell is no magic bullet, though. It isn’t a cure and it doesn’t completely eradicate pain. But it does turn the dial down and takes my pain from being problematic to being background noise.
I’ve found it’s most effective for nerve pain and the general all-over ache that you get with fibromyalgia. Going through Lyme disease treatment, I’ve found that it hasn’t stopped the pain I have experienced through herx reactions (an exacerbation of symptoms caused by bacteria die-off). However, I do wonder if the pain would be worse if it wasn’t for the Quell. I was not willing to experiment and find out though!
The first thing I do each morning
Thankfully, my pain does not wake me up and I, therefore, don’t feel the need to wear the Quell overnight. However, it is the first thing I put on each morning and it’s the last thing I take off at night. I would not be without it and I think that says everything!
The Quell has allowed me to do more
The Quell might not be a cure but it sure does help me to do more than I otherwise would be able to. The Quell reminded me how draining and tiring pain can be and to have that lifted has made a big difference.
Since having the Quell, I’ve been to a gig without being in a lot of pain (which would have been my norm) and I experienced no payback of pain afterwards. I even managed to dance… dance!!!.. at my 30th birthday and generally, I’ve been able to stay on my feet that bit longer than normal.
Now, it has to be said, that these examples are admittedly the rare exceptions for me. However, I doubt I’d have managed to do them without my Quell. I feel the Quell makes my good days even better and my bad days that bit easier to tolerate.
The biggest drawback of the Quell is the price. At $249 it is an investment. However, it is a risk-free purchase as if it doesn’t work out for you, there is a 60-day money back guarantee. The difference it has made to my quality of life means, for me, the price is more than worth it.
There is also an ongoing cost
The electrodes last for 2 weeks and then need to be replaced. They are a bit tatty after two weeks and do need to be replaced but I have pushed one to three weeks of use. I wouldn’t advise it though as the Quell occasionally felt stingy on my leg, instead of the usual buzzing feeling. I think this was simply because the electrode was pretty worn out.
The band also gets worn and stretched after a while and the velcro loses its strength. To be honest, the velcro part is fine, it’s more the fact the band attaches to itself. After a while, the velcro pulls the fibres away and– as you are sticking the velcro to the same bit each day– it loses its ability to grip the band as well. So my own gripe would be that I wish the band was designed with stronger velcro so it didn’t need to be replaced as often.
100% worth it
Despite those drawbacks, I hand-on-heart say the Quell is absolutely worth it. It has become my number 1 favourite way to manage my pain. If you saw me in person and asked me about my Quell, I’d rate it highly and I’d recommend that you try it. I imagine it won’t help everyone (same as anything else) but with the 60-day money back guarantee, it’s definitely worth trying.
Purchase the Quell
If you are struggling with your pain and you are onboard with the concept of drug-free pain-relief, the Quell might just be what you are looking for. It is available to purchase on Amazon, though if you are in the UK please ensure that you are aware of the shipping and import fees prior to placing your order.
Pin for later:
I originally published this blog post in July 2017, a few months after I began using the Quell. I used the device daily for almost a full year (until September 2017). It was my go-to pain relief and I wore it all day, every day. It improved my quality of life and I highly recommended the device.
Unfortunately, I had to stop using the Quell in September 2017 as my skin began reacting to the electrodes. I have no idea why but I started to get a rash from the electrodes and my skin was itchy and irritated. It was so odd that my skin suddenly started reacting after almost a year of use.
Quell support were excellent and offered some suggestions to help. Unfortunately, my skin continued to react so I had to stop using the device. It’s a real shame as the Quell is a great option for pain relief. I was absolutely gutted that I had to stop using it.