Quell Wearable Pain Relief Device

WINS Device for Chronic Pain


The Quell is a wearable device aimed to ease chronic pain from conditions like fibromyalgia, diabetic neuropathy, sciatica, and osteoarthritis. It's a small, square device that sits in a velcro pocket with an electrode snapped inside. Like a TENS unit, the electrode strip sends electrical signals that trigger your body's own pain relief mechanisms.

The Quell is an FDA-approved Class II medical device for symptomatic relief and management of chronic pain. It is available without a prescription.

Using the Quell

You slip the Quell into the breathable sports band and wrap it around your upper calf. Then you calibrate the system so that it gives you as much stimulation as your body needs. You control how much stimulation is given to your body, then the Quell takes over. It automatically works for an hour and then shuts off for an hour, continuing that cycle for as long as you wear it.

It's designed to be worn 24 hours a day so it even senses when you're sleeping and changes the stimulation. It easily fits under your clothes and it also works with a free app to track your therapy and sleep history.

How Does Quell Work?

Quell is a device based on wearable intensive nerve stimulation (WINS), a form of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). At first glance, it may seem odd to put a portable pain device around your calf to help with back or neck pain. Here is the basis of how the Quell produces pain relief:

  1. Quell stimulates peripheral sensory nerves with a measure of electricity.
  2. These peripheral sensory nerves carry neural pulses to the pain center in your central nervous system.
  3. This causes your body's natural pain-relieving opioids to be released, which stops the pain signal from spreading.
  4. These natural opioids often work better than prescription meds.

The Pros

Quell has many advantages:

  • It works. In a study published in the Journal of Pain Research, 80% of participants responded to the Quell reporting that their chronic pain had improved in 60 days.
  • It's comfortable. As small as it is, you will feel it the first time you try it. It may feel a little weird to walk around with it on and it takes some time to get used to, but it's very lightweight and if you use it regularly, you barely notice it.
  • It's easy to calibrate. The idea is that a pulse is sent through the Quell, kind of like a very mild electric shock. It continues pulsing for an hour and you are in charge of the settings. Once you calibrate it, you can still change the settings if it feels like it's too much or not enough.
  • It's easy to use. Unlike TENS units, where you have to place the leads and wires, the Quell has one giant electrode that wraps around your calf in one easy movement.
  • It works automatically. Once you turn it on, it continues working the way it's supposed to, so you don't have to think about it.
  • A variety of options. There are different electrodes to choose from, regular ones you can wear daily and sports electrodes which have a different type of gel designed to work better when you're sweating. You can also choose bands in a variety of colors.
  • There's an app. The Quell also offers an app that's very easy to use. You can actually calibrate your Quell from the app, customize different stimulation patterns that work for you, and also track sleep patterns and how your pain therapy is going

The Cons

There are a few drawbacks to consider before you buy Quell:

  • It may not work for everyone. As suggested in the study, not everyone responded to the Quell, so that may the case for some. Quell offers a 60-day money-back guarantee so you have nothing to lose in trying it.
  • It's pricey. You can find small portable TENS units for under $20 in some places, so the Quell may seem expensive at over $200. You also have to change the electrodes every few weeks, so that's an extra cost. They do send you extras when you order the product.

Bottom Line

The Quell has great potential for people dealing with chronic pain. The company says they aim their product towards people who have sciatica pain, fibromyalgia, diabetic neuropathy, and osteoarthritis. If you are looking for a way to get pain relief without drugs, you may want to try the Quell.

2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Neurometrix. The Science Behind Quell.

  2. Gozani SN. Fixed-site high-frequency transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for treatment of chronic low back and lower extremity pain. J Pain Res. 2016;9:469-79. doi:10.2147/JPR.S111035

By Paige Waehner, CPT
Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer," and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness."