A report in this months issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia, an easy non-invasive method of using low amounts of electric stimulation of the brain provides notable pain relieving effects.
Transcranial electrostimulation (TES) possible would provide an important, non-medication approach in order to decrease pain and eliminate pain medications, according to researchers of the study at Stanford University.
Electric Stimulation Decreases Onset and Overstated Pain Reactions
For the study, ultraviolet light was used in order to make a small, painful spot of sunburn on the upper thigh of healthy volunteers. The researchers applied the this technique a standard model used in testing the pain relieving reactions of medications to examine the effects of TES on pain reactions.
In using TES, a gentle electric current is sent through electrodes put under the patients head. Two different stimulation frequencies of 60 and 100 hertz (Hz). The volunteers experienced a gentle tingling feeling during the electrical stimulation. The outcomes of pain relief was evaluated through means of sensory testing, using hot temperature and mechanical force used on the sunburned skin also to undamaged skin.
The findings revealed that TES had greatly decreased pain reactions in both sunburned and non-sunburned skin in a frequency dependent fashion. Among the 60Hz and 100Hz only the 60Hz had an effect the 100Hz had minimal or no effect.
The results of TES on both heat and mechanical pain shows that it could eliminate the overstated reactions of the central nervous system to a painful cause, which has a vital part in the developement and maintenance of numerous pain states according to lead writer Dr. Vladimir Neckhendzy.
Dr. Neckhendzy notes that the results were limited to the time period that TES was being applied.
Nevertheless, a probability that TES could give lasting benefits to patients obtaining numerous treatments.
There is a major requirement for new and safe method to pain control induced in part by the quick increased use of strong morphine associated pain medication management, according to an Editorial written by Dr. Felipe Fregni of Harvard University. The concept of brain stimulation to control pain is not a new concept. TES in some areas is alike to other kinds of non-invasive brain stimulation currently being studied like transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation. Even though research confirmation is needed, this new study adds critical information for developing non-invasive cortical stimulation as an pain reduction method remarked by Dr. Fregni in his editorial.
Dr. Steven L Schafer of Columbia University and Editor-in-Chief of the journal remarks the potential of non-medication approach to relieve pain is very inspiring. The next step is to go past the volunteer trails to see if TES is effective in patients enduring chronic pain.
Other Alternative Practitioners Using Electrical Currents
Even though the main treatment method in chiropractic care is spinal manipulations they do use a variety of other methods among them TENS Units (transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation). Most chiropractors will used a combined treatment of manipulations and the TENS units.
The TENS units are a highly effective device for pain reduction. The unit will send small square electrical pulses to the electrodes which in turn sends this electrical pulse to underlying nerves. The pulse frequency can be set to the persons needs. The pulse frequency is how strong the electrical current will be sent to the electrodes. The strength of this current is measured in megahertz. It can also be adjusted to how long the pulse width will be.
Sessions usually last about 30 minutes or less dependent upon feeling the effects. TENS units are totally safe and FDA approved. Never use unit on head, face or if you have pacemaker.
The use of TENS units give no side effects. You can purchase a TENS unit for home use however, it does require a prescription from the chiropractor or pediatrician or other medical professionals. You also need to follow the instructions set by your chiropractor. This unit should only be used under supervision of chiropractor.
TENS units are used for an array of pain, the most common include Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer, Back Pain, Carpal Tunnel and Labor Pain not to be used prior to nine months.
Do not use the TENS unit if you have:
Pregnant under nine months without physician consent
Any forms of malignancy.
Heart condition or epilepsy
Around head or electrodes placed on neck near carotid.
For other precaution listing check with chiropractor.
Acupuncturists use electro-acupuncture by the method of pulsating electrical current to the acupuncture needles in order to stimulate the acupoints. The treatment is basically the same as acupuncture by placement of needles, obtain the qi reaction by hand manipulation and then attach an electrode to the needle for continual stimulation.
It replaces enduring hand maneuvering which in turn makes sure the patient receives the amount of stimulation required. It can aide in reduction of treatment time for the session.
It can provide stronger stimulation if warranted without producing tissue damage linked with twirling, lifting and thrusting the needle. Stronger stimulation could be required in cases of neuralgia or paralysis.
The stimulus frequency and amount is easier to control than by hand manipulation of needles.Sources:
Medical News Today
A & L Chiropractic Center