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What is Electro-Therapy:



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Pain Electro-therapy: what is it ?

Electrotherapy started in the 1920's with scientists like Tesla examining the effects of electrical current on physiological processes.  Jump forward to the 1980's and you have the emergence of Transcutaneous Nerve Stimulation (TENS) as a major pain control alternative.  TENS reduces pain is about 20% of patients, and significantly so in about 10% of patients.  It is basically an extension of the gate control theory of pain, wherein a stimulus that competes with pain, also blocks the pain.  Rubbing the area about the pain blocks the pain to an extent; that's essentially what TENS does only in a more intense degree. 

In the early 2000's electrotherapy evolved into the implantation of spinal cord stimulators, made by Boston Scientific and Medtronic.  In this modality, a surgeon implants an array of electrodes into the patient's spine, in the lateral spinothalamic tract (where pain is transmitted up the spinal cord), and the stimulation blocks the pain impulses into the spinal cord, simply put. 

In the 1990's, various extensions of TENS evolved, such as Percutaneous Neuromodulation Therapy (PNT), a highly effective modality for modulating pain in the low back and neck.  Unfortunately, the company that developed PNT, RS Medical,  failed to follow through with obtaining all of the codes for billing for the procedure and it fell into disuse due to lack of payment from insurance companies. 

More recently, P-Stim is a new pain electrotherapy that has been fully approved by the FDA. This involves the discovery by an Austrian Vascular Surgeon, of the cranial nerves that run large neuron bundles into the human ear.  In other words, the earlobe has connections directly into the brain and spinal cord via branches of cranial nerves.  Given that fact, it becomes possible to access the brain and spinal cord through the ear, rather than implanting potentially dangerous devices directly into the spinal cord. 

P-Stim directly affects the autonomic nervous system by stimulating the parasympathetic system so as to over-ride the sympathetic system (which is in vast over-stimulation in the pain state).  By stimulating the parasympathetic system, P-Stim causes the nervous system to relax or reduce its overall activity.  Thereby, the autonomic system has an over-ride of the sympathetic by the parasympathetic system, resulting in far less arousal.  Pain diminishes, anxiety subsides, and stress is dampened.  All of the effects result in lowered overall pain and arousal.  The nervous system is calmed down, DRAMATICALLY !!!





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