Neurostimulation: Pain Relief Without Drugs

Patients undergoing neurostimulation treatments receive low voltage electrical signals directly into the spinal chord or specific nerves in an attempt to block the feeling of ‘pain’. Generally used to block pain emanating from areas lower than the neck, neurostimulation is becoming more popular in a culture that feels overwhelmed with the high volume of medications … Continue reading “Neurostimulation: Pain Relief Without Drugs”

Patients undergoing neurostimulation treatments receive low voltage electrical signals directly into the spinal chord or specific nerves in an attempt to block the feeling of ‘pain’. Generally used to block pain emanating from areas lower than the neck, neurostimulation is becoming more popular in a culture that feels overwhelmed with the high volume of medications being prescribed for nearly every medical situation, especially pain.

There are two primary configurations for a neurostimulation system. The first one must be surgically implanted and is completely internal. The other configuration has both external and internal components. For any internal configuration, the battery and nerve connectors are implanted surgically. External systems have surgically implanted leads that also have a radio-frequency receiver, while the battery and an antenna is externally worn.

The concept of neurostimulation and how it is used to relieve pain is actually quite simple. Pain is a signal that is sent from one part of the body to the brain. Constant pain that stems from an extremity signifies a steady stream of ‘pain’ signals being sent to the brain. All of these signals travel to the brain by way of the spinal chord. It is a mass of nerves that connect the brain to each part of the body, and likewise, connect each part of the body to the brain. If the ‘pain’ signals traveling to the brain can be ‘interrupted’, then the brain will not receiving the news that an area of the body is hurt or damaged.

Rather than ‘cutting’ off specific nerves or blocking signals altogether, neurostimulation actually activates other nerve fibers, which are in fact, pain-inhibiting. Once activated, these pain-inhibiting fibers actually masks or dull the strength of the pain signal reaching the brain, overall leading to less pain being felt. The activation of these pain-inhibiting fibers also brings forth a tingling sensation. The primary conditions with which neurostimulation is used as a treatment for are all chronic in nature and include, arachnoiditis, complex regional pain syndrome, and failed back syndrome.

The goal of neurostimulation is to reduce and relieve pain, instead of attempting to eliminate pain altogether. In fact, tests have shown that when applied correctly, the majority of patients can feel pain reduce by nearly 50%. Other effects include an increase in activity levels, and a substantial reduction of the use of any medications of a narcotic nature. However, the underlying benefit is possibly an overall improved quality of life.

With so many medications being prescribed for nearly every medical ailment, alternatives are aggressively being sought after. As technology advances and new discoveries in treatment are made, patients will receive better care and are more likely to live pain free lives. Neurostimulation as a treatment continues to develop and although pain is currently only reduced by as much as 50%, technology will continue to advance and we may one day see pain reduced by much higher levels. For those who live in constant and chronic pain, these developments cannot arrive too soon.

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Effective Ways of Getting Rid Of Pain Due To CRPS Syndrome

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (also known as CRPS Syndrome) is a disease caused by the malfunctioning of the central and peripheral nervous system of the body. It is characterized by constant pain, change in the color of skin and swelling of the affected areas. The International Association for Study of Pain has characterized the disease into two major categories depending upon the root cause of the disease. Type I CRPS is caused by damage in the tissue cells whereas Type II CRPS is most commonly associated with a nerve injury. The disease cannot be cured and the almost all the treatment techniques for CRPS include relieving the patient from the immense and sudden pain. As discussed it causes severe pain in the affected body part, and the pain can transverse to other body parts also.
The causes for CRPS are still unknown; however a majority of doctors suggest that pain receptors belonging to Catecholamines are responsible for sustaining the pain. Catecholamines are a particular class of nerve messengers and are released from the sympathetic nerves. CRPS II is said to be caused from an uncertain triggering of the immune system of the body which causes swelling of the affected area. It is not easy to diagnose CRPS as some people have shown remarkable improvement without any treatment, after being diagnosed with CRPS. So a specialized doctor’s consultation is advised before starting treatment for any forms of this syndrome.
A number of treatment techniques are available for it and almost all of them focus on relaxing the patient by alleviating pain. Medications such as antiseizure drugs, antidepressants and corticosteroids are available in the market. However these medicines must be avoided as they are associated with a number of side effects. In addition to the above mentioned medication methods, anesthetic injections such as Iidocaine can also be preferred. These anesthetic injections are often regarded to remove nerve blockages thereby regulating the flow of blood to the affected area. Stimulating the cord with neurotransmitters has also been proved effective against the pain caused by CRPS. The anode used in this treatment method can be beneficial as it directly affects the central nervous system of the body. Sympathectomy is the most recent method for the treatment, which include killing of the nerve cells that are responsible for this syndrome. It has attracted many controversies and is a debatable topic.
National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke are constantly researching for finding cure for the treatment of CRPS. They have supported some theories; however no concrete results have been achieved till date.

Stuart is writing for many websites, He enjoys writing on wide range of topics such as CRPS Syndrome and pain. You may visit for more details.

Is There Any Oil Massage Therapy For Joint Pain?

Joint pain is a kind of uneasiness which arises at the joints. It is also sometimes known as arthralgia or arthritis. Joint pains can be mild or severe and most of them can be successfully treated at home using preventive measures such as using some herbal supplements or joint pain massage therapy.

Some of the factors that cause joint pain are bone infection, broken bone, bone cancer, gout, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, septic arthritis, paget’s disease (bone), dislocation, adult still’s disease, rickets, lupus, lyme disease, ankylosing spondylitis, hypothyroidism, avascular necrosis, tendinitis, bursitis, complex regional pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, hemochromatosis, leukemia, osteomalacia, osteomyelitis, pseudogout, srcoidosis, sprains and strains.

Symptoms – Joint Pain:

Some of the common issues of joint pain people usually face are related with pressure, motion, or weight-bearing resistant activities. Symptoms are swelling, warmth, redness or tenderness.

Rumacure oil is the best herbal massage therapy for joint pain. The powerful blend of herbal ingredients in this oil has proved to be the most effective anti-inflammatory oil at present. Since centuries, the humans have been using these herbal contents, and so many people who have used Rumacure oil are pretty aware of its benefits very well. Rumacure oil uses the proven formula of oil massage for joint pain and its regular use gives several benefits to anyone suffering from mild to severe pains or stiffness. The person has to massage with Rumacure oil on the affected area so as to get relief in short time. The results are visible after few weeks. The plant-based natural herbs present in this oil help in strengthening of bone tissues gradually, thus being the excellent joint pain oil massage treatment. Giving a gentle massage to the affected areas for few minutes daily gives results in quick manner and the person gets relief for long term basis.

It is strongly recommended not to lift heavy weights or any other vigorous physical activity during this therapy. If Rumacure oil massage therapy is made combination with the use of Rumacure capsules then the person gets the most benefits. The intake of Rumacure capsules along with the oil massage at the affected areas is the most satisfying remedy being the excellent pain reliever. This surely cures any kind of muscle and joint ache and stiffness without causing any side effects.

The key ingredients used in this oil are buleylu oil, gandhpurna oil and castor oil. Buleylu oil has the ability to lower the pain and inflammation naturally. This herb is also responsible for soothing nerves. It also gives strength to bone tissues. Being the natural healer, gandhpurna oil reduces pain, inflammation and swelling. Castor oil is associated with healing arthritis joint ache and muscle stiffness. This ingredient improves the mobility of limbs.

Directions for use: Use about 3 to 5 ml of Rumacure oil for gentle massage on the troublesome area twice daily in order to get long term benefits from joint ache, inflammation and stiffness.

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Improving Assessment through Raised Awareness for CRPS

Assessments for physical and mental conditions are necessary to determine who is ‘fit for work’ and who requires additional support through benefits, care and so on. However, this is not something that can be determined easily; there are a lot of different factors to consider, all of which can affect a person differently depending on their condition. There will be instances in which it is obvious to an assessor if a person requires additional help, but there are plenty of cases that have been reported over the last few years in which problems have arisen because the assessor incorrectly determined a person fit to work. There have been suggestions that some of these cases are down to corrupt practices, it’s not always as clear cut as that.

For instance, there are various conditions a person might suffer from that have no immediate physical symptoms or even consistent symptoms, and this can complicate the assessment process and make it difficult to draw a fair, reflective conclusion. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, otherwise known as CRPS or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), is a condition that has proven very difficult to treat because of the vagueness of the condition. It is known to be a continuous condition that is triggered by an injury to a limb, resulting in debilitating pain that can last for the rest of the person’s life. A condition like this would be incredibly difficult to assess for the simple reason that CRPS sufferers have days where their pain is more manageable than others, while they also have days where the pain is so severe that they would certainly not be considered fit to work.
What can be done to combat this? Aside from a revision of assessment policies that takes such conditions into consideration, there is also a huge need for better societal understanding. Better understanding leads to more research, and the lack of understanding already surrounding the condition means that there is also a lack of resources available. This includes crps support for carers, friends and families, the network of people that often require the most support in order to help the person closest to them to cope. In instances like this, it’s not enough to provide support just to the person suffering from the condition.

In order to improve the quality of assessment for people suffering from complex conditions like crps, there needs to be a larger amount of resources and support networks that can be easily accessed from the home. It’s vital that there is a renewed focus on reflex sympathetic dystrophy awareness in order to prevent people with the condition being incorrectly assessed and being forced into situations that they are not capable of carrying out. Assessments of this nature can lead to increases in depression and anxiety, further injuries and in the worst cases, death. It’s a particularly hot topic at the moment in the light of severe government cuts and if there’s one thing that tells us, it’s that raised awareness is the key to improving the quality of life for people suffering from this poorly understood condition.

Katherine Jackman, Content Marketing Co-ordinator at Zebra Internet Services
www.chronicpaincrps.com

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The Difference Between Acute Pain and Chronic Pain

The human body is capable of perceiving different unpleasant sensations which the brain interprets as pain. It is important for the body to be able to recognize certain types of pain because the feeling of pain warns our brain that we are experiencing an injury. For example, a sharp feeling of intense burning pain tells our body to quickly remove our thumb away from the hot stove before more skin becomes harmed. In the same way, putting weight on a sprained ankle sends a jolt of pain to remind us that the stabilizing ligaments in our foot have not yet healed. Pain isn’t always a bad thing because it can protect us. In many instances, if we completely disregard pain, we risk further injury.

Our bodies have specialized nerve endings known as nociceptors that have built in receptors to detect harmful physical stress such as mechanical injury, chemical injury, or potentially dangerous temperature changes (heat and cold). Once stimulated, these nociceptors send signals through the spinal cord to the brain, which interprets the signal as pain.

Acute pain begins suddenly, and is usually described as having a sharp quality. This type of sensation is helpful to the body because it warns us of a dangerous or potentially hazardous situation. Some examples of acute pain would be: a burned finger, a sprained ankle, a scraped knee, a broken bone, pain after surgery, during a heart attack, during childbirth, while passing a kidney stone, and after you accidentally hit your finger with a hammer. Acute pain only lasts for a short or readily identifiable amount of time. Once the underlying cause of the pain has been removed, the discomfort goes away. Modern medicine is excellent at understanding and providing treatment for acute pain.

However, the longer the sensation of pain remains perceived by the brain, the greater the likelihood of the discomfort turning into chronic pain. Chronic pain can continue inexplicably for months and years after a stress or injury has healed. Although chronic pain can be linked to an initial injury (such as a bad infection, sprained back, or car accident) sometimes chronic pain has no known cause. For some unknown reason nociceptors continue to bombard the brain with signals that the brain interprets as persistent pain. Because medical doctors and researchers are unable to determine the reason why the nociceptors continue to transmit pain signals, the medical community has difficulty assessing and providing treatment for chronic pain.

Examples of conditions that may cause chronic pain are: migraines, low back pain, muscle tension headaches, cluster headaches, cancer, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, phantom limb pain, Lyme disease, sciatica, endometriosis, occipital neuralgia, physical damage to nerves (neurogenic pain), Post Mastectomy Pain Syndrome, slipped or bulging discs, Crohn’s disease, and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

It is not uncommon for people who suffer from chronic pain to become frustrated and depressed, especially if their healthcare providers insinuate that their pain problem is all in their mind, or if their friends and loved ones do not understand their situation. Even though chronic pain cannot be easily measured or defined, it is a very real and debilitating health concern that requires further research.

Rachelle Kirk writes about natural health, wellness, and chiropractic care. If you are looking for natural pain relief for back pain, sciatica, and other health conditions then http://www.backinaction.net is the perfect place for you.

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Osteopathy Management of Pain Syndromes

The medical model of injury and illness is the dominant way of thinking about medical problems. When we are hurt we and the doctor search for the faulty structure, diagnose the type of fault present and aim treatment at rectifying this fault and return the area to normal. If we have a broken bone, a chest infection, a heart attack or an arthritic knee we expect the treatment to either cure the problem completely or to minimise the symptoms. Overall this approach works extremely well but it falls down when presented with a series of pain conditions which do not fit the model and are resistant to normal treatment.

Normal tissue injury pain occurs when the injured area transmits a volley of pain impulses up towards the spinal cord nerves in the back, which take the signals and carry them on towards the brain. The volleys of incoming pain excite the spinal cord nerves strongly and they react by amplifying their reactions to them, giving us higher levels of pain. We then protect the area, it settles and heals and the system settles down to its normal state. However, some conditions do not fit this picture, do not have a precipitating injury or event and do not settle down with time, fitting poorly into the normal picture. These pain syndromes are not well understood or diagnosed.

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) and chronic widespread pain (CWP) are typical pain syndromes. CRPS can develop in a wrist or ankle after a moderate or minor injury such as a small fracture or a sprain, with the joint rapidly becoming painful, stiff and swollen. A wrist and hand like this has very limited function and needs to be free of immobilisation as soon as possible to start rehabilitation. Early Osteopathy intervention is vital to get the passive and active ranges of movement as soon as possible and educate the patient in what they have to do.

Widespread pain syndromes are very challenging problems for the patient and are very difficult to treat with any success. CWP shows trigger point hypersensitivity in the bellies of the muscles, specific points which are very painful to palpate and refer pain down to structures nearby. Osteopathy treatment consists of an exercise programme, stretching, acupressure, postural correction advice and acupuncture. Fibromyalgia has the typical symptoms of CWP with the addition of difficulties concentrating, IBS, severe fatigue, unrestored sleep, poor sleep, hypersensitivity to pressure and an over-reaction to activity.

Anger, depression, anxiety or low mood are common accompaniments to a chronic pain syndrome, necessitating the skills of a clinical psychologist if the patients are to be successfully managed. Patients find sticking to a treatment plan very challenging and exhibit anger, irrational thinking, poor coping, non-assertive communication and negativity. FMS patients often disclose an abuse history either as children or in adult relationships and this can be the dominating feature of their presentation. Isolated Osteo treatment is unlikely to work and the psychologists input is vital.

A FMS pain management programme covers several psychological skills and strategies, including pacing activity, realistic and negative thinking, assertiveness and communication skills, mindfulness and acceptance, goal setting and planning, validation of the reality of the condition and reduction of isolation by meeting others with the same condition. Passive communication with families, friends and others is very common and this leads to anger and frustration as they are unable to make their needs clear. The overall very negative nature of the pain experience leads to a negative bias in thinking about the world and their problems.

Medical treatment is not very successful in pain syndromes but drugs such as amitriptyline can be useful with their nerve transmission altering affects. Many FMS sufferers react adversely to drugs and this limits their usefulness, especially if morphine-related chemicals add to lack of mental clarity and fatigue. A graded exercise programme, carefully guided to avoid overdoing, is useful in the longer term as these patients have lost of lot of strength and fitness. Stretching is often reported to be helpful and may be all a person can do if they are having a worsening but overall a structured plan is necessary for a pain syndrome.

Andrew Mitchell, editor of the Osteopath Network, writes articles about physiotherapists in Haywards Heath, back pain, neck pain, injury management. Andrew is interested in many aspects of alternative medicine.

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Wilmington Delaware Podiatrist Performs First Permanent Peripheral Nerve Stimulator Implant

This article is a review of a procedure performed by podiatrist Harold N. Gruber, in June of 2009, at Christiana Care Health System’s Wilmington Hospital, in Wilmington, Delaware.

Several years ago, Dr. Harold N. Gruber, of Tri-State Foot and Ankle Center, was presented in his Wilmington office with a 35 year old female patient with a chief complaint of continuous pain, burning, and tingling sensations along her right foot. The patient worked at an assembly plant and noted it was difficult to perform her assigned tasks due to the continued pain, as it had been unremitting for several months. She was initially diagnosed approximately 7 years earlier with a tarsal tunnel entrapment, and underwent surgery to release the nerve. The patient returned to her assembly plant job, yet approximately 4 years after the original procedure was back in the office with complaints of a reoccurring pain from the tarsal tunnel. After a second surgery to release the nerve, her post operative course was unremarkable, and she returned to work.

Three years later, the patient came back to the office with complaints of pain in the same area, however, more severe. She was experiencing significant burning and tingling along the plantar aspect of her foot which extended to her toes. She also complained of having trouble sleeping, due to the continuous levels of pain. In addition, her pain was beginning to affect her ability to walk. Complex regional pain syndrome, or, “CRPS”, was ruled out, and with the help of electromyelogram and nerve conduction studies, a diagnosis of recurrent, significant tarsal tunnel entrapment was made. At that time, a decision was made to release the tarsal tunnel once again, however this time, additionally attaching a peripheral nerve stimulator to the nerve.

Advancements in research have shown that low levels of stimulation to nerves assist in the regulation and alteration of pain signals, as they are perceived by patients. Using such stimulators, a patient can decide how much of stimulus is comfortable and most beneficial, at which time the unit can be programmed to deliver this level of signal on a continuous basis. Because the treatment is ultimately guided by patient input, it can be likened to a patient directed pain pump, however without the deleterious effects of narcotics, which, when used for chronic pain, can cause dependency, lethargy, weight gain, and which can interfere with other medications patients may require.

At the request of Dr. Gruber, the patient returned to the operating room at Christiana Care Health System’s Wilmington Hospital, where the tarsal tunnel dissection was performed. During the surgery, Dr. Gruber observed significant scarring and atrophy of the posterior tibial nerve. Because of this, a Neurogent® nerve wrap was applied to the nerve and a Medtronic™ peripheral nerve stimulator was then attached. A lead (which transmits a stimulus from the unit to the nerve) was implanted within the ankle, exiting in the leg, where it was attached to an external trial battery pack. The patient reported immediate relief of her symptoms, following the surgery. As a result, the trial external device was then converted to a permanent implantable unit, which was ultimately positioned within the patient’s thigh. Six months after the procedure, the patient reported that her pain level was improved overall by approximately 40%.

New advancements in this technology will now provide Dr. Gruber with the option to implant the above mentioned nerve stimulator via an injection, as opposed to an open procedure, and benefit patients by reducing their post operative recovery times and expediting their return to normal activities. Implantable nerve stimulators are designed to reduce pain and give patients with a chronic condition an additional option, over narcotics and potential disability. Patients with nerve pain or tarsal tunnel syndrome should be carefully evaluated by an experienced professional, as additional treatments are available.

Dr. Gruber can be reached at Tri-State Foot and Ankle Center’s North Wilmington office, located at 2018 Naaman’s Road, Suite #1, Wilmington DE, 19810. The office phone number is 302-475-1299. Their office in Hockessin can be reached by calling 302-239-1625. They accept most insurance plans, including HMO’s, PPO’s, IPA’s, EPO’s, Medicaid & Medicare. For more information on the doctors visit www.tristatefootandankle.com

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Understanding CRPS

What is CRPS?

CRPS means Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and refers to a chronic condition that is not very well understood in the medical community at present. Despite every 1 in 3,800 people in the UK suffering from the CRPS, we still remain largely in the dark as to its causes and how to effectively treat it. All that is known so far is that it causes pain in an affected limb and is sometimes triggered by an accident. The treatment available includes providing education and skills in self-management
Is it a problem we need to address better?
Very little is known about the condition and this ignorance leads to a lack of awareness that can cause feelings of isolation and emotional difficulties in CRPS sufferers, so it’s definitely a problem that can and should be addressed more often. Chronic pain is a serious issue that needs to be better understood.

How can we achieve this?

More research needs to be done into the area of CRPS in order to determine the exact causes as well as exploring potential treatments. At present, the only CRPS treatment involves the use of pain killing medications and pain-management techniques, which may be effective in the short term but present no real options for long-term treatment. CRPS is a debilitating condition and can be very difficult to cope with, so the more we can learn about the condition the better.
Websites like Burning Nights are already making headway in this area. Run by a CRPS sufferer, the site aims to raise awareness of the condition through the chronicling of her experiences, creative writing and fundraising efforts. Awareness is one of the keys to better understanding a complex medical problem, so more sites and social networking related to this issue is an excellent way to compel further research into the area.

Katherine Jackman, Content Marketing Co-ordinator at Zebra Internet Services

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