Because of the increasing number of patients who turn to opioids for pain treatment, many researchers and clinicians have been searching for other alternatives. If you often find yourself taking pain medication, you’ve come to the right place. We rounded up new technologies developed for pain relief.
#1.Radiofrequency Ablation Device
This device was developed many years back. It is expected to get some attention because more people are reporting suffering from chronic pain.
Halyard Health, Diros Technology, St. Jude Medical, and Boston Scientific
Geriatric pain, chronic pain
Heat produced from an alternating current with a medium frequency of 350 to 500 kHz is used by RF or radiofrequency. This is done to cut off the nerve supply from the tissues that are in the peripheral nervous system.
Doctors perform the procedure, called radiofrequency catheter ablation, with the use of a catheter. There is a low risk of complications because the surgery is minimally invasive. According to a Transparency Market Research report, there is an expected increase in demand for this technology as the geriatric population continues increasing across the world.
“Aside from the decreased risk of post-surgery complications, other benefits of this medical technology include quick recovery and reduced adverse effects. The equipment is also readily available and affordable.”says Dr.J P Szatkowski ,an orthopedic surgeon at Drspring.
A study about patients receiving RF treatment for pain in the refractory sacroiliac joint was published in 2014 in Anesthesia & Analgesia. More than half of the 77 patients who participated in the study reported relief from pain for about 6 months after having this treatment.
#2.HEAT Pain Pro TENS Device
It was introduced on October 4, 2016.
Muscle and acute joint pain
This technology utilizes heat and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation to relieve patients from muscle and acute joint pain. A doctor’s prescription is not needed by patients to use this.
The pain is relieved by the electrical pulses sent to the nerves of the skin, so pain signals are prevented from being received by the brain. Furthermore, endorphins, which are natural hormones for pain-alleviation, are released by these electrical pulses. Although this pain technology has been utilized by health professionals, there is limited equipment currently available in the market. Up until now, patients had to go to a healthcare worker or doctor to get this treatment.
According to Carol Lucarelli who is the director of product development and marketing at Omron Healthcare, there has been an increase in awareness of the possible dangers of using prescribed pain medications and opioids. As a result, many people have been searching for other alternatives that are not only effective but also accessible and safe.
Though more people have been using it, the effectiveness of this approach is currently being tested. UK’s NHS or National Health Service mentioned that most of the feedback is from the users’ experience rather than objective observation.
With more than 20 heat and TENS combination, there are more options for various pain locations that include the legs, shoulders, joints, arms, lower back, and feet.
The package comes with palm-sized gel pads that you can use up to 30 times and a battery that can be recharged.
The approval of this device by the US FDA was made known on October 4, 2016
St. Jude Medical
This device was designed by a physician. Unlike other kinds of spinal cord simulations, it gives bursts of pulses that are similar to the patterns of natural nerve impulses in our bodies. The bursts keep the body from becoming dependent on SCS treatment.
According to the researchers of SUNBURST study, almost 70% of the 100 participants either received tonic simulation followed by burst stimulation or opted for the burst stimulation. 91% of the participants reported improvement of the pain in their limbs.
In the US, the FDA has approved this kind of treatment. Some patients at St. Jude who have spinal cord stimulation systems can supplement these systems with burst stimulation.
It was featured in October 2016 at Pharmacy Week held in Trinidad and Tobago.
Rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, post-op pain, chronic pain due to osteoarthritis, shingles, injuries from sports, and neuropathy
It is an electroceutical and non-invasive apparatus that utilizes electromagnetic fields. It dampens the pain perception of the brain and attunes to the outward nerve activities. The signals are pulsed into the tissue to prevent the brain from adapting to the stimulation.
Unlike TENS, Dr. Ken McLeod of the Clinical Science and Engineering Department at Bingham University said using it does not cause patients to feel heat, tingling, or vibrations.
As of now, ActiPatch is the only available OTC neuromodulation electric apparatus for the management of pain. It is safe to use for the elderly and people with pacemakers, defibrillators, metal implants, arthritis, and diabetes. However, pregnant women should not use this. It can be used for more than 700 hours with an on-and-off button.
According to a trial study that was in the publication of Pain Management, 5002 participants mentioned that the effectiveness rate of this treatment is around 60-70% when used for various pains. They also reported a huge decrease in usage of OTC and prescribed drugs. More than 60% were able to reduce or eliminate taking opioids. More than 70% had become more active and enjoyed improved sleep.
These are some of the new technologies developed that offer pain relief. If you are tired of using strong opioids for pain relief, then these alternatives could be right for you. However, it is always best to ask for your doctor’s recommendation first before making a decision about this important issue. We hope this article has helped you choose a good alternative for your pain management.
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