What’s All the Buzz About?
Chronic pain sufferers find relief with a new twist on an ancient electric therapy.
By: Giovanni De Domenico, Grad Dip. (Physiotherapy), Dip. T.P., M.Sc., Ph.D., M.C.S.P., M.A.P.A., M.C.P.A., Professor and Chairman of the Department of Physical Therapy, at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Pain is difficult to measure, especially chronic pain - the kind of pain that simply will not go away. In many cases, not even after surgery, drugs or special treatments, and sometimes not even long enough for a decent night’s sleep. It is a demanding kind of pain that brings sufferers to the point of unimaginable frustration and exhaustion, and frequently to tears and even to depression.
Many millions of people in the United States may be afflicted with some form of chronic pain. For many, it’s brought on by a car accident or workplace injury. For others it’s a symptom of serious illness. Many don’t know why the pain starts, or what will make it go away. But a new form of an ancient therapy holds the promise of relief for many chronic pain sufferers.
For decades, physical therapists and other professionals have used TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) units and Interferential therapy in their clinics. In fact, electrical stimulation is a therapy that goes back at least to the ancient Greeks, where physicians of the day used natural forms of electricity from rays and eels to treat a wide variety of problems.
Now, modern technology has made it possible to produce different electrical treatments from a small, battery powered device that can be used at work or at home. With appropriate medical approval, a patient can actually wear the unit and treat him or herself while wearing the device virtually anywhere.
The new unit is a combined Interferential and TENS unit developed by MedFaxx, Inc., and it’s the first of its kind. It fuses these two effective forms of electrical stimulation therapy into a single device to treat chronic pain. This portable, battery powered unit – about the size of a deck of cards – can safely deliver a healing current of electricity that can help bring relief to areas of chronic tightness, spasm or pain. Although the devices are small, they are able to safely deliver a current that is equal to the much larger stimulators one might find in a physical therapy clinic.
Interferential current therapy is essentially a deeper form of TENS that affects the transmission of pain messages at the spinal cord level, stimulates the circulation, and relieves muscle spasm. The only sensation the patient experiences is a pleasant tingling.
When used properly, Interferential stimulation can provide what is called “carryover relief”, that is, even when the unit is turned off, the pain relief can continue for an extended period of time. Although this occurs with other forms of TENS, patients often report that the effect seems much more pronounced with Interferential treatment. In fact, many patients who have not found relief from conventional TENS may benefit from Interferential treatment.
There is, of course, no single cause for chronic pain, and not surprisingly, there is no single treatment that works for every sufferer. Nonetheless, the most commonly prescribed treatment to manage chronic pain is the use of a wide variety of drug therapies. Some of these medications are extremely powerful and potentially addictive, and many have other serious side effects. As a result, it is easy to understand why many sufferers of chronic pain are looking for alternative therapies to manage their symptoms. The Inferential TENS unit is an especially effective non-drug remedy.
Although the thought of electrical impulses being sent into the body may seem frightening at first, all that is felt is a tingling sensation. Many patients who have used the new MedFaxx, Inc. units have found an effective alternative to traditional chronic pain treatment.
Reimbursable by Medicare and covered by most insurance plans, the units are also an affordable alternative to expensive drug treatments. MedFaxx, Inc. offers a free trial period with an appropriate prescription.