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TENS Units, Muscle Stimulation, Portable Ultrasound, Electrotherapy, Pain Relief Gels, Biofreeze
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Buying Test Strips vs. Deductible: Dependent on Insurance Plan

 Blood glucose test strips are used together with glucose monitoring devices by diabetics to determine their blood sugar levels so that they can manage their diabetes. After a while, glucose test strips will be the most costly part of keeping your blood glucose levels in check. With this in mind, the expense of strips that are compatible with each glucose monitor should be taken into consideration when buying the device.

Medicare covers diabetic testing supplies, such as diabetes test strips, but there may be a limit to how much or how often you are permitted to get them. The insurance allows you to get up to 100 test strips every three months, and they must be ordered from a pharmacy or supplier that is enrolled in Medicare. You are required to pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount after a yearly deductible of around $140.

The following charts are based on One Touch Test Strip packs of 100 for $77.95.


Table 1. Medicare (insurance)                                                                    Table 2. Buying Yourself

You pay 20% + yearly deductible

  Amount of Strips Duration of Time Cost
100 3 months $15.59
100 3 months $15.59
100 3 months $15.59
100 3 months $15.59
Total 400 12 months $62.36+$140=$202.36
  Amount of Strips Duration of Time Cost
100 3 months $77.95
100 3 months $77.95
100 3 months $77.95
100 3 months $77.95
Total 400 12 months $311.8







The following charts are based on Prodigy Blood Glucose Test Strip packs of 100 for $35.45.


Table 3. Medicare (insurance)                                                                   Table 4. Buying Yourself

You pay 20% + yearly deductible

  Amount of Strips Duration of Time Cost
100 3 months $7.09
100 3 months $7.09
100 3 months $7.09
100 3 months $7.09
Total 400 12 months $28.36+$140=$168.36
  Amount of Strips Duration of Time Cost
100 3 months $35.45
100 3 months $35.45
100 3 months $35.45
100 3 months $35.45
Total 400 12 months $141.80





Tables 1 and 2 above show that the diabetes insurance plan from Medicare can help you save money on certain test strips.  Although, relying on the insurance company to save you money may not always be the correct choice when buying other brands of test strips, as seen in Tables 3 and 4. There are many brands of diabetes test strips to choose from, including One Touch, Ascenisia, Bayer, Accu-check, and FreeStyle, to name a few. The brand of test strip you buy should be determined by you, and these costs should be incorporated into your unique situation. You do not have to be insured to receive quality test strips at an affordable price. Online stores such as OTCWholesale can provide quality name brand diabetic supplies for less, so you will not have to worry about the cost of monitoring your diabetes and be able to take control of your life.

When hearing the word ultrasound, Ultrasounds are best known for viewing fetal development inside of a woman’s uterus.  That is not the only thing ultrasound technology or sonography is used for.  Not only can it be used to see and hear the development of a fetus, but it can also be utilized to create internal images of any organs, muscles, blood vessels, or soft tissues; for therapy, treatment, or pain relief of a soft tissue injury; to diagnose abnormal growths or diseases at an early stage; and to visually assist biopsies and surgeries.

Ultrasounds, whether administered by a professional sonographer or done within the convenience of your own home, require a vital component—ultrasound gel.  What is ultrasound gel?  It is the thick, cold, slightly sticky, water-based substance that is applied to the skin prior to any type of ultrasound. It can be colorless, green, or blue; it is fluid enough to fill all the spaces but viscous enough to stay in place; and it can be wiped off easily.  Warmers can even be used to increase comfort.

This gel is a conductive medium that is fundamental in order to optimize ultrasound results.  During an ultrasound, a transducer is rubbed on the area of focus and passes sound waves into the body. These waves bounce off the structure that is trying to be viewed or treated and returns through the transducer along to the computer.  The computer then analyzes the echo, measuring the speed and intensity, and creates a visual image on screen.  The transmission gel facilitates this process by allowing the sound waves to travel freely between the transducer and the skin.  It is used to get in touch perfectly, eliminating any air bubbles or gases that could be impediments to the waves. The lubrication allows for smooth movement along a frictionless surface and helps to generate clear, exact images.

Different types and brands of conductive gels may vary by consistency.  Some are thicker, some are thinner.  There are also some varieties that are hypoallergenic, salt-free, or water-soluble.  However, the type one chooses to use is solely a preference—quality is not affected.   OTC Wholesale offers a selection of brands of transmission gel.  We sell Parker Aquasonic, Thera Sonic, Mettler, Chattanooga, and Current Solutions at discounted prices.  All of the ultrasound gels we carry are hypoallergenic, water-soluble, non-greasy, non-irritating, and will not stain. Whether you prefer Mettler’s salt and alcohol free clear transmission gel or Current Solution’s travel size, you are guaranteed optimized ultrasound results regardless of the brand you choose to purchase. OTC Wholesale sells both professional and portable ultrasound units and the required gels at a discounted price.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS  is a drug free method of controlling pain.  Electrical impulses are sent along wires connected to electrodes that are adhered to the skin.  These signals ‘trick’ the brain into thinking there is no pain.   TENS is not meant to cure the problem, merely to relieve some of the pain.  TENS does not work equally for everyone, however most people find it effective in reducing or eliminating pain.  This allows people to return to their normal activity more comfortably.

There have been many studies to decipher the effectiveness of treating pain with TENS within many different fields. Many times TENS is used in conjunction with other pain medications.

Dental Pain

According to a study done by the Journal of American Dental Association, patients were less likely to return for subsequent dental treatments after painful dental procedures.  They noted that when a TENS unit was used during the procedure to inhibit pain, the clients followed through with their later dental care.

Phantom Limb Pain

Today, it is known that virtually all amputees experience phantom sensations, painful or not, after limb amputation due to the damage of nerves and how they communicate with the central nervous system.   TENS has been successfully used to reduce the severity of that pain and sometimes eliminate it altogether.

Lower Back pain and Sciatica

TENS treatment has been shown to be very effective in the treatment of back pain and sciatica.

Neck Pain     

The most common causes of neck pain are poor posture, poor sleeping position, emotional stress, blows to the head, whiplash or a pinched nerve.  TENS s ideal for the treatment of neck pain


TENS o offers an excellent alternative to pain-killing drugs when treating the chronic pain associated with arthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis.


Pain from cancer can be the result of the pressure of a tumor.  It can also be from radiation or chemotherapy where the treatments can cause irritation to healthy tissue and this, in turn may cause inflammation, pain, and sensitive nerve endings.  TENS can help relieve some of this pain.


The main symptom of Fibromyalgia is severe muscle pain accompanied by fatigue, fever, irritable bowel syndrome, chest pain, and abdominal pain. TENS can be used to control some of the pain caused by Fibromyalgia.

Tendinitis and Bursitis

TENS has been successfully used in these and similar inflammatory conditions such as tennis elbow and trigger finger or thumb.


Migraines, tension headaches, Cluster headaches, also known as erythroprosopalgia or Bing-Horton’s neuralgia, have all been treated with success using TENS.

Pelvic pain

Excessive prostaglandin produced during menstruation can cause menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea) which can also cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, and  diarrhea.  TENS has been successfully used as a drug free alternative for managing the pain.

Shoulder pain

TENS has been used to ease the painful recovery of Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis where chronic pain is caused by connective tissue surrounding the glenohumeral joint of the shoulder becomes inflamed and stiff, greatly restriction motion.


Neuralgia or neuropathy which is nerve pain caused by nerve damage, nerve irritation, infection or other disease has been eased by the use of TENS.  Examples include trigeminal neuralgia, postherapetic neuralgia (shingles pain), diabetic neuropathy, postoperative nerve pain, and tmj disorder.

TENS has been applied to numerous other forms of chronic and acute pain such as pain associated with diabetes, various joint pain, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), costochondritis, interstitial cystitis, Hunner’s ulcers, carpal tunnel, ankylosing spondylitis, acute sprains and strains, burns, broken bones, and  post surgery pain.

TENS is generally considered safe.  However when used incorrectly could cause irritation or burns to the skin.  The electrodes should not be used over eyes, heart, brain or front of the throat.  The unit should not be used by those with a pacemaker as the signal may interfere with the function of the pacemaker.  A TENS unit should also not be used if you are pregnant except under the strict supervision of a physician as the effects of the treatment to the unborn baby are unknown.

What is  TENS?

TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. A TENS machine consists of a small box, generally with a clip on the back that you can attach to your clothing. Leading out of the box are wires connected to sticky pads or electrodes.  The machine gives out little pulses of electrical energy that travel through the wires and electrodes and then into the skin and nerves.  These electrical signals can then suppress the sensation of pain from reaching your brain.  It also stimulates your body into producing its own pain fighting endorphins.

TENS is used for the treatment of acute or short term pain such as occurs after an accident or surgery.  It is also used to treat chronic or long term pain from arthritis, back pain, shoulder pain, joint pain, tension headaches and even pain from fibromyalgia and some cancers.

The TENS machine has dials that can be adjusted to control the frequency and strength of the pulses. There are also preset modes on many models that vary the pulses tailored to the specific needs of each individual or each type of injury or pain.  Varying the duration, intensity, and frequency of the current can help ensure that your body does not become accustomed to the treatment.

What are the benefits of using TENS?

-         TENS offers a drug free alternative to pain relief.

Sometimes pain medications are ineffective or have unpleasant side effects and contraindications.  TENS allows people not wishing to use these drugs an alternative form of therapy for pain relief.

-         TENS is non-invasive

Electrodes for the device are simply attached to the skin with adhesive or conductivity gel.

-         TENS is non-addictive and can be used for hours

Unlike some pain medications, TENS is not addicting.  There have been studies done where TENS was used on patients for 24 hours a day with no ill effects.

-         It is portable and takes up very little space to store

Most units are small enough to fit in a pants or shirt pocket and can be stored virtually anywhere.

-         It can be used at home

The device can be used at home when needed instead of waiting for a visit to the doctor to use one or get a refill on prescription pain medication.

-         It can be used while moving

The electrodes are fairly small and generally flexible so you can use the unit while moving, walking, or exercising.

-         It is safe and the side effects are minimal

TENS technology has been cleared by the FDA as safe.  There are minimal contraindications to the device.  For example:  it is not safe to use the unit if you have certain pacemakers except under the supervision of a physician.  Side effects are also minimal consisting of skin irritations which are often a result of the material of the electrodes or conductivity gel.  There are many options for different electrodes to solve this problem.

-         TENS offers pain relief in minutes that can last for hours

For some individuals a 30 minute session could relieve pain for hours or days.

-         After an initial investment it is more cost effective than most medications

Some people spend thousands of dollars a year on costly doctor visits and prescriptions to make their pain tolerable.  TENS offers a more cost effective solution to pain relief after the initial investment of the unit.  Some insurance companies will even cover the cost of the device.

-         Quick and easy to set up and use

The unit can be set up and treatment started in a matter of minutes.

-         TENS units offer different settings to maximize pain relief

Many models offer different preset modes to take some of the guesswork out of finding the best settings for specific injuries or pain.

-         It can allow for faster return to daily life

No one wants their daily life to be restricted by pain.  TENS offers a solution to allow people to return to their schedules.



Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) involves the passage of low-voltage electrical current to electrodes adhered to the skin. The current is delivered through wires from a small battery-powered power unit. The frequency and intensity of this treatment depend on the specific condition and treatment goals. Accordingly, the electrode pads are placed on various sites on the body. Frequency, intensity, and site of application are believed to be pivotal to achieving optimal results during and after stimulation.

A TENS unit treats many kinds of pain. It can help lessen acute (short-term) pain, like after surgery or an accident. Chronic (long-term) pain, like arthritis, back or muscle pain, or cancer pain may also be lessened with TENS. Some people have trouble taking pain medicine. TENS is a safe, drug-free way to help control pain for these people as well.

TENS Units General use and Care

  • Always check to make sure the batteries are fresh
  • Make sure the unit is OFF before starting
  • Clean and dry the area to be treated
  • Adhere the electrodes to the skin either using conductive gel or using self adhesive electrodes
  • Connect the electrodes to the unit
  • Then the unit can be turned on to the correct settings
  • After treatment it is a good idea to clean the skin and keep it moisturized to reduce irritation
  • Do not get into water with the electrodes connected to the unit

Some general guidelines for electrode placement include:

  • Directly on painful area felt during surface palpation
  • Directly on area identified through diagnostic imaging
  • Around the painful area felt during surface palpation
    • this position is used when the treatment site is too painful for direct placement of an electrode
  • Over acupuncture or trigger points


Different Kinds of TENS treatment

  • High frequency TENS – blocks the pain impulses going to the brain. Usually frequencies between 80-100 Hz are used.
  • Low frequency TENS – (often called acupuncture like TENS) uses frequencies of 2 – 4 HZ. This encourages the body to produce its own natural pain killing substances called endorphins and increases local blood flow, both of which relieve pain. Pain relief often lasts for hours.

3 Types of TENS

Many TENS units come with preset modes to help increase pain relief and reduce the likelihood of someone becoming resistant to the therapy.

  • Modulation TENS or Massaging:

6 second cycle of concurrent width modulation and pulse repetition rate modulation: Width starting at 200µS and decreasing exponentially to 100µS in three seconds and then returning back to 200µS in the next three seconds. Modulation rates starting at 100Hz, decreasing exponentially to 65Hz and then returning to 100Hz

  • Burst TENS or Tapping

Bursts of 9 pulses [200µS] at 150Hz, repeating twice every 2 seconds

  • Conventional TENS or buzzing

There is a constant pulse width and frequency (rate). The range is 50 -300µS (microsecomds) and 50-200Hz (pulses per second).

Different sorts of tens electrodes.

Electrodes are used to transmit the electrical current to the body and can be referred to as electrical conductors. The electrodes are the point of contact where the current that is produced by the electrical stimulation unit reaches the body.

Electrodes made of silver offer reusable conductors and deliver consistent current dispersion reducing hot spots.

Single-application TENS unit electrodes are convenient disposable options.  There are also economical, reusable electrodes which can support repeated applications through a period of several days. Some TENS unit electrodes can last up to two weeks or more. TENS unit electrodes come in a variety of sizes, from large electrodes designed for placement on the back, to smaller ones that are more suitable for harder-to-reach areas. Also available are special lotions and preparations to protect the skin, increase electrode adhesion, and encourage conductivity.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is drug free and can be used almost anywhere.  It is safe and non addictive.  It has been shown safe when used for hours at a time

Do not use TENS :

  • if you have a heart pacemaker or have a heart rhythm problem
  • if you have epilepsy
  • during pregnancy except under strict supervision of a physician
  • when driving or operating machinery
  • if you are suffering from acute, feverish or infectious diseases
  • near heart monitors or alarms.
  • to mask or relieve undiagnosed pain.

Do not place electrodes in these places:

  • on the carotid arteries in the front of your neck
  • over your eyes
  • across the front of the head
  • on the abdomen if you are pregnant
  • on broken skin
  • near malignant tumors

Many people ask us “How can TENS Units help my body fight pain?” – It’s not such a simple explanation so please allow us to elaborate a little on how TENS units work, and how they reduce your pain.

A Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS unit is one of several types of electrotherapy devices that uses small doses of electric current to relieve pain.  Electrotherapy is the use of electric energy as a medical treatment.

What is pain?  Pain is an uncomfortable feeling that tells you something may be wrong in your body. Pain is your body’s way of sending a warning to your brain. Your spinal cord and nerves provide the pathway for messages to travel to and from your brain and the other parts of your body.

Receptor nerve cells in and beneath your skin sense heat, cold, light, touch, pressure, and pain. You have thousands of these receptor cells. When there is an injury to your body, for example surgery, these tiny cells send messages along nerves into your spinal cord and then up to your brain.

Sometimes pain may be just a nuisance, like a mild headache. At other times, such as in the case of chronic disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, pain doesn’t go away even after you take pain medicine. Pain is the most common reason for physician consultation in the United States.

Electricity has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Stone carvings from ancient Egypt depict electric fish being used to treat pain. In ancient Greece, electrogenic torpedo fish were used to treat arthritis and headache.  Benjamin Franklin documented pain relief by using electrical currents for conditions such as “frozen shoulder.”

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS works by connecting electrode pads at or near the site of pain.  A very small electric current is then transmitted through the electrodes and into the nerves under the skin.  This electric signal blocks the pain.

There are two major theories that explain why this technology works as therapy for acute and chronic pain.

Typical tens unitThe first theory is the “Gateway Theory”.  The premise of this theory is that electrical stimulation from the TENS unit blocks pain from reaching your brain by interrupting the pathway from the nerves through your spinal cord.  Along the path to your brain there are “gates” that limit the amount of information that can go to the brain at one time.  The same nerve cannot carry a pain and a non-pain impulse at the same time.  The non-pain impulse from the TENS machine is greater so it basically over-rides the pain impulse and “controls” the gate.  The original signal cannot reach your brain and be interpreted as pain.  This ‘tricks’ your brain into thinking there is no pain.

The second theory is the Endorphin release theory.  This theory states that the electrical currents trigger your body into producing its own natural pain combatants in the form of endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals made in your body that cause a reaction in the opiate receptors, much like morphine or codeine, which block signals indicating pain or stress to the brain thus allowing for an overall analgesic effect and a general sense of well-being.

Theories traditionally used to explain acupuncture, such as effects on flow of vital energy, have also been offered to explain TENS. It is sometimes suggested that TENS may affect the cardiovascular system, increasing heart rate and reducing blood pressure.

TENS is non invasive, drug free, and non addictive.  TENS can be used at home, at work, or while out.  The unit is small enough that it is portable and can fit in a pocket or can be clipped to a shirt or belt.  In today’s fast paced world, people cannot afford to have pain controlling their daily lives.  TENS is a convenient way to alleviate pain and allows people to return to their activities.

Have you ever gone through injury rehabilitation and just felt awful? You’re required to workout and at the same time handle the pain on the road to recovery. In a lot of cases heat stimulation lowers the effects of pain and makes your muscles more receptive to movement. That is why the Fuego TENS Unit has combined heat and nerve stimulation into one machine, making your therapy sessions more productive and less painful.

The heating electrodes on this device concentrate warmth where you feel the most discomfort and targeting the treatment area for your muscle stimulation. It works fantastic on the lower back, neck, arms, legs, or anywhere else you may need it. You have a choice of nine modes, that allow you to customize your temperature and time lapse. This means you have total control of your physical therapeutic sessions.

The other great thing about using TENS Units is that they’re non-invasive and drug free. They modify your pain perception so that you can begin to return to your normal routine. It has proven effectiveness with patients, some who claim to feel less pain even after the session ends. This is dependent purely on the person but regardless it helps the individual get over the injury and allows them to stay active.


As you may know, electronic muscle stimulation (EMS) elicits muscle contractions through the use of electric impulses. It can be used as a strength training tool for athletes and injury recoveries. It is considered a rehabilitative and muscle atrophy prevention tool, as well as a test for evaluating neural and muscular function. The way it works is by generating impulses and sending them from the device to the patient via electrodes. There are different types of electrodes. The more common types are carbon pads. You will see sometimes see silver electrodes because they are considered very conducive but comfortable.

Muscle stimulators are great for recovery and you may take note of their use in physical therapy sessions. They are sometimes used as a post-exercise recovery tool. It’s considered relaxing while strengthening. The reason it plays a role in physical therapy is because it is intended to improve a patient’s ability to perform basic functions and mobility. It may be prescribed after injury or the development of a physical condition. The stimulation will tone and firm a muscle. It’s used as an addition to the routine to a regular routine further encourage muscle development.

You can find this equipment and other home medical care materials at OTC Wholesale.

If you have diabetes, it is integral that you check your blood glucose levels on a regular basis. OTC Wholesale offers a wide range of glucose testing supplies that is designed to help you manage your diabetes and keep it under control. Additionally, OTC Wholesale offers these supplies for incredibly affordable prices, so you may buy them in bulk and have them delivered directly to your front door. insulin syringes

Because OTC Wholesale is a distributor that only deals in brand name drugstore products, it is able to offer you savings unlike those that you will find anywhere else. Although the company’s inventory is constantly evolving, it does generally stock the same basic items that you rely on to control your diabetes or for pain relief. Additionally, given the rate at which OTC Wholesale is able to get these products, the packaging may not look pristine, but the items themselves are of quality.

Once you place your order with OTC Wholesale, you may track its delivery route on the OTC Wholesale website. You may get free shipping on any orders that are worth more than $49.99. OTC Wholesale’s low prices enable you to buy a number of items in a single order, which in turn ensures that you will not run out of the items, such as insulin syringes and TENS Units, which you use.

If you suffer from any form of chronic pain, you should look into buying pharmaceutical products from an online drugstore. Shopping online from an establishment such as OTC Wholesale allows you to save money and save yourself from the hassle of dragging yourself to a brick-and-mortal store, especially when you do not feel up to it. pain relief gels

Additionally, OTC Wholesale provides comprehensive pain relief products, such as TENS Units and pain relief gels, so that you may seek relief from your discomfort or ailment. OTC Wholesale offers standard drugstore products as well as specialized pain relief products, so you may get all of your shopping done online.

By shopping online, you get great discounts and deals on common and hard-to-find items. The greatly reduced prices enable you to buy more items for less money, which in turn means that you have shop less frequently. You may find items for yourself and your family; if you are looking for a little something extra, check out the Sales Rack and New Arrivals pages.

Instead of having to rally to go to the store, buy basic items from the comfort of your own home while sitting at your computer. To start shopping, go to OTCWholesale.com.