Aleve Direct Therapy is a TENS device used for pain management. TENS, or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, is a drug free therapy that uses safe, small doses of low voltage electrical current.
Used predominantly for lower back pain (though they can be applied elsewhere on the body), the electrical current is applied directly to the source, which relieves the pain.
TENS units were most often used in the past by physical therapists, doctors, and chiropractors. They're much more common now, however, and available to consumers for home use.
They're effective, easy to find (available on Amazon and most drug stores like Walgreens, Walmart, and CVS), low cost (often offered with a coupon), small—usually about as big as a cell phone—and use AAA batteries as a power source.
We've researched tens device reviews, how they work, and compared them to the competition to provide this comprehensive review.
How do TENS Devices Work?
To use Aleve Tens, you attach the unit directly to your lower back and turn it on. The electrodes, which are inside small gel pads (which can be used up to five times before replacement) that adhere to your skin, are inside the pads.
While the jury is still out on exactly how the electrical impulses work to relieve pain, there are two widely held and accepted theories.
One school of thought purports the impulses move along the nerve fibers and scramble, or confuse, the pain signals from your body that tell your brain you're in pain.
Another suggests that the impulses cause your body to produce and release endorphins.
Endorphins are chemicals that our brains produce naturally.
When when we get hurt or incur an injury, our body releases the endorphins.
The endorphins then act as a natural pain reliever, like nature's own morphine, thereby numbing, or dulling the pain.
Aleve Direct Therapy uses what's called three-stage waveform technology.
This technology combines both the signal-scrambling and endorphin-releasing methods, so whichever theory ends up being the right one (we might never know), doesn't effectively matter.
The result is pain relief, no matter which approach is used to get there.
It's 100% drug-free and completely safe, so if you're looking for an alternative to NSAIDs like Ibuprofen or Naproxen, or costly chiropractic or physical therapy care, you would be well served with this device.
Comfortable and Discreet
The device is thin and fully flexible, designed to contour to the shape of your lower back, and stay adhered discreetly and comfortably.
So, no matter what you're doing, you can wear it, and you (or anyone else) will most likely not even notice it's there.
It's very skinny, under one inch thick, and a little over three inches wide and seven inches long. It's also light, weighing less than five ounces.
The pads that contain the electrodes stick to your lower back, so can wear it confidently under anything you want, without worrying about bulk.
It's durable and wireless, no you don't have to mess with wires or straps.
You're in Control
Once the unit is on your back, you can use the wireless remote control to adjust the impulses to your desired level of intensity, up to 15.
It's light and portable, so it's easy to bring along, whether to the office, or on vacation or business trips.
Just keep in mind it's not intended for use in the car, in water, or while you sleep. The remote control also runs on AAA batteries.
The device is completely silent, which is a nice feature if you intend to wear it in public or at work.
You can also use it with peace of mind, as it's FDA-cleared and regulated as a Class Two medical device.
Aleve Direct Therapy vs Smart Relief by Icy Hot
Icy Hot also makes a TENS device called Smart Relief. This unit also delivers TENS therapy to relieve moderate to more severe back pain, but the features and cost are not as effective as Aleve Direct Therapy.
Smart Relief by Icy Hot also utilizes electrical current in small does in order to scramble the pain signals sent to the brain.
This in turn stimulates the body to release of endorphins, the naturally occurring pain-relieving chemicals in the brain, which reduce or numb the pain completely.
The design of the Icy Hot device is less discreet and comfortable as Aleve Direct. Instead of a single unit, there are two parts.
You attach the device to an electrode pad, and then peel the pad off of an adhesive strip.
You then attach the pad to the area on your back where you're experiencing pain. From there, you're ready to go, so you just turn it on and choose your level of intensity.
When you're done with the session, you remove it from your back and reattach the pad back to the adhesive strip. You can use each pad 12 to 30 times.
Icy Hot has 63 levels of intensity versus Aleve's 15, but you have to adjust the level on the unit itself. There is no remote control, so it's not quite as convenient or easy to use.
It's also less discreet because you have to expose the device for any adjustments you want to make. So, not quite as easy to tuck under a shirt when you're out and about or at the office.
The Icy Hot takes CR2 batteries, which are more costly than AAAs. Additionally, if you like or need the higher intensity levels the batteries can drain very quickly.
This is a bit of a hidden cost, as you might not think of the long-term versus short term consequences. The Icy Hot is more expensive if you use it more frequently or on higher levels.
CR2 batteries aren't available in rechargeable format either, which means full cost replacement every time they wear out.
Mild or chronic pain in the back, hips, knees, and shoulders is very common. The latest estimates show we spend upwards of 24 billion dollars a year treating lower back pain.
If you're one of the sufferers, you know how difficult it is to find relief. Many have found it with TENS therapy.
There are several models to choose from these days, and in our Aleve Direct Therapy review, it scores high marks for efficacy, cost, and design.
It's also backed by a one-year warranty, making it a worthwhile investment if you're approaching it as a trial device.