Got back pain questions? Our Back Wellness Coaches have answers. Text Us Now at 412.419.2225. It's FREE!

Login Signup

Quell Pain Relief Device Review: Does it Work for Back Pain?

Published May 17, 2019
| Written By SpineNation Editorial Staff   | Medically Reviewed by J.B. Kirby, NP
Tags:  Quell


Does Quell Work for Back Pain

The Quell device treats chronic back pain by sending electrical pulses through the skin to trigger the body’s natural pain relief response. The product is about as thick as an iPhone and is worn around the calf. It's lightweight and it's straps and fixture resemble a jogger’s armband. Since Quell is small and not bulky, it can be hidden under your clothes. Quell pairs with its smartphone app for tracking and reminders. The best part is that it's an FDA-cleared, non-drug therapy for chronic pain relief, which eliminates side effects common to pain medications.

What is Quell?

Quell is an FDA Class II medical device available over-the-counter without a prescription. It’s designed for people with chronic back pain, sciatica, osteoarthritis, and other chronic conditions. Once worn, the device can be used for an hour, or overnight, depending on your pain level and need. Powered by the Quell Relief App, patients can customize their therapeutic experience while monitoring sleep, tracking usage, measuring activity, gauging gait, and documenting pain levels. Quell’s rechargeable battery can last for several days under moderate use and is compact enough for travel.

How Does Quell Work?

Quell is a wearable intensive nerve stimulation (WINS), a form of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). It stimulates peripheral sensory nerves using electricity. These peripheral sensory nerves carry neutral pulses to the pain center in your central nervous system. This causes your body's natural pain-relieving signals from spreading. It’s recommended that you use Quell three times each day for the first 30 days of treatment for best results. Studies on whether TENS units effectively manage pain are inconclusive, but they don’t rule out the therapy as a treatment option. Patients using TENS units like Quell on a daily basis to manage pain report developing a tolerance to the treatment. Once tolerated, patients perceptions of their pain level is decreased.

The following conditions may be effectively treated through use of a Quell device:

  • Abdominal pain from menstrual  cycles
  • Joint pain
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Endometriosis
  • Arthritis
  • Sports-related pain or injuries
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Fibromyalgia

Is There  Difference Between Quell & TENS?

Quell is technically a TENS unit, however it is up to 10 times more powerful than many over-the-counter TENS units. This is based on the design of Quell and its ability to be work continuously (even overnight). TENS units require the user to affix sticky electrodes on the skin directly on the pain affected area. Once turned on, electric current reaches the skin and tissues below it. The Quell unit sits comfortably on the calf and sends pain relieving current not just to the affected area, but surrounding areas as well.

Who Should Not Use Quell

While safe for most people, these segments of the population should avoid using Quell (or any TENS unit) without explicit consent and direction from a doctor.

  • Expectant mothers
  • People with epilepsy
  • Those with sensitive  heart conditions, including people who use pacemakers

Does Quell Have Side Effects?

Not at all. Some people may experience a mild skin irritation under the electrodes with prolonged use. Others report a tingling or prickling sensation on the skin, which can be uncomfortable. To minimize the risk of skin irritation, remove your Quell device for 15 minutes every 5 hour of consecutive wear or upon waking if you use the device overnight.

Why Should I Use It?

If you’re curious about using electrotherapy, here are a few reasons why Quell could be right for you:

  • Quell is clinically proven to help you manage chronic pain.
  • It is 100% drug-free and doctor recommended.
  • Quell is FDA-cleared for 24-hour use. Wear it during the day while active and at night while sleeping so you can get relief when and where you need it for improved sleep with chronic back pain.
  • Quell taps into your body's natural pain relief response, blocking signals to deliver widespread pain relief. 
  • Quell's patented OptiTherapy technology technology automatically adjusts therapy and dose to ensure you receive optimal pain relief.

If you need more proof, in a clinical study:

  • 81% reported improvement in chronic pain
  • 67% reported a reduction in their pain medication use

Is Quell Covered by Insurance?

Considering that Quell is FDA-cleared and does not require  a prescription, health insurance companies and Medicare won't cover the cost of the unit. Nonetheless, you might consider using your Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to offset the price. Quell devices and replacement electrodes are 100% eligible for reimbursement without a prescription.

How Do I Get One?

Since Quell requires no prescription, you can order Quell directly, or get it through a number of websites that sell medical devices. A Quell starter kit costs $299, which includes a one-month supply of electrodes, an adjustable sports band, a charger, and a quick start guide.


Despite the jury being out on long-term research data, Quell works. Most users can safely use it with little to no side effects. If you think you’d like to try Quell, talk to your doctor first.

Updated: February 12, 2020

Information provided within this article is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for medical advice. Those seeking specific medical advice should consult his or her doctor or surgeon. If you need to consult with a specialist, you may be able find a health care provider in our Specialist Finder. SpineNation does not endorse treatments, procedures, products or physicians.

You might also like...

  • Oska Pulse Review and the Science Behind PEMF
    September 7, 2017 | Articles

    The Oska Pulse is a brand new pain relief wearable device that is designed for people of all ages who are looking for relief from acute to chronic pain. *Let's examine the specifics.

Contributors and Experts

Dr. J.B. Kirby is a nurse practitioner and college professor who started off as a firefighter and emergency medical technician when she was 18 years-old. She's been in health care ever since.