While drug developers are trying to discover new nonaddictive medicine to treat pain, medical device manufacturers are racing to develop smaller, more comfortable implants as well as external devices that don’t require surgery.
The idea has been around since the 1960s, but in recent years the technology has undergone rapid innovation.
Michael Leong, a pain specialist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, says the benefit of these devices is that when patients use them, they’re able to take fewer drugs or no painkillers at all. That’s appealing to both doctors and patients. Continue reading
Recall of Zimmer Biomet’s Spinal Fusion Stimulators – May 31, 2017
Just when I thought electric stimulation could not possibly be damaging:
Zimmer Biomet has recalled the SpF PLUS-Mini and SpF XL IIb Implantable Spinal Fusion Stimulators due to higher than allowed levels of potential harmful chemicals,
“which may be toxic to tissues and organs, and that were found during the company’s routine monitoring procedure,” according to a release from the US Food and Drug Administration.
How are “harmful chemicals” released by an electric stimulator? Nowhere in the article are the specific “harmful chemicals” listed. Continue reading
An analysis of two U.S. payor databases has found a 3.11% infection rate for spinal cord stimulation (SCS) implants, with age, peripheral vascular disease and history of infection identified as risk factors.
According to the study’s authors, when compared with rates of infection for total joint replacement and pacemaker surgeries, the data reflect a need for improvement of infection control practices. A recent international survey on infection control practices for SCS demonstrated low compliance with evidence-based guidelines (Neuromodulation 2016;19:71-84)
Elderly patients were less likely to have infection. For each additional year of age, patients were 3.2% less likely to have an infection.
For both logistic regression and survival analyses, expected risk factors such as obesity, diabetes and smoking were not shown to be risk factors for infection.
“It’s interesting that the SCS infection rate is higher than the 2% rate for pacemakers,” Dr. Eisenach said. “It’s possible that there is a difference related to sterile technique.”
Leading the ‘Neuromodulation Revolution – 12/12/2016 – by Bob Kronemyer
Recent advances in neuromodulation and other innovative technologies have created viable alternatives to opioids for chronic pain, according to experts at a recent panel discussion.
Dr. Slavin said it is a myth that corrective spinal surgery can resolve long-term opioid use.
“In fact, there is plenty of literature that shows that people who
use opioidshave pain prior to spine surgery most likely will continue to use opioidshave pain after surgery and that chronic opioid usepain significantly worsens surgical outcomes,” he said.
I had to correct the paragraph above because it confuses “using opioids” with “having pain”. This confusion is widespread and confounds all opioids studies these days. Continue reading
With so much emphasis on using alternative medicine instead of opioids, this is a treatment without chemical side effects that holds some promise, at least for the few who
- have the kind of pain these treatments can relieve.
- have insurance that covers a sufficient number of treatments and who
Below is a thorough article by Dr. Forest Tennant, explaining how electricity flows through our bodies and how electromagnetic treatments affect it.
His theory is that pain causes electricity to pool instead of flowing freely, thus initiating a cycle of increasing tissue damage, pain, and impairment. This is a long and detailed explanation of electromagnetic forces and how they relate to pain from damaged nerves:
“A fundamental to understanding electromagnetic measures is the pooling of electric charges around damaged nerves.”
Various forms of neuropathic pain were significantly reduced by applying scrambler therapy, according to the results of a pilot study presented at the 2016 annual scientific meeting of the American Pain Society.
“With my years of experience in pain management, I realize there is no magic bullet,” said principal investigator Ricardo Cruciani, MD, PhD, professor and chair in the Department of Neurology
Scrambler therapy (also known as Calmare Pain Therapy Treatment [Calmare Therapeutics]) is noninvasive, using electrostimulation to block the transmission of pain signals to nerve fibers. Continue reading
Cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) is the use of low-level microcurrent applied through the head to the brain for medical and psychiatric/psychological purposes.
Although CES is primarily used for the management of anxiety, insomnia, and depression, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that it will play a role in pain management over the coming decades.
Indeed, in a recent report from the office of the army surgeon general, CES was included as a complementary and alternative (CAM) tier II modality. Continue reading
This overview article gives a good explanation of the functions of the vagus nerve and how it could affect chronic illness and pain.
Vagus nerve stimulation is one of the most promising chronic pain interventions under development today.
An earlier blog on Health Rising featured an astonishing story of a woman whose very severe fibromyalgia was largely ameliorated by a vagus nerve stimulator implant.
a recent three part review did an overview of our understanding of what the vagus nerve does, how vagus nerve stimulation works and how it effective it is. Continue reading
Vagus Nerve Stimulation Dramatically Reduces Inflammation | Psychology Today | Christopher Bergland / The Athlete’s Way | June 2016
Inflammatory responses play a central role in the development and persistence of many diseases and can lead to debilitating chronic pain.
In many cases, inflammation is your body’s response to stress.
Therefore, reducing “fight-or-flight” responses in the nervous system and lowering biological markers for stress can also reduce inflammation.
there’s growing evidence that another way to combat inflammation is by engaging the vagus nerve and improving “vagal tone.” Continue reading
BACKGROUND: Peripheral neuromodulation is often used as chronic neuropathic pain treatment.
Percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (PENS) is generally utilized with several probes at the same time and repeated treatments.
OBJECTIVES: Evaluate the short- and long-term efficacy of a single probe and single shot PENS approach. Continue reading