Certain disadvantages of drugs – such as side effects – compel many people to look for alternative methods to relieve pain. And technology has brought an interesting array of products that anyone can use at home to alleviate several types of pain.
These devices are gaining popularity owing to their efficacy. Their modes of operation are based on the manipulation of physical phenomena and electricity. They come in many different shapes and sizes, working for just about anyone in any age group. And, if used correctly, they can provide pain relief relatively quickly.
Here are three little known technologies that help alleviate pain and are commercially available to consumers presently.
A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation device essentially consists of an electrical generator/modulator with electrodes that adhere to the skin. They are connected by wires to transmit the electric signals from the TENS unit to the body parts covered by the electrodes. Most modern devices feature built-in controls that let users tweak several parameters of the electric signal (intensity, frequency and width). This allows patients to regulate precisely the nerve stimulation to enhance the pain relieving effect. These devices are not really new; they were invented in the second half of the 20th century, and their original purpose was to actually test human tolerance to electrical stimulation. They are generally indicated for chronic and acute pain conditions. Depending on the modulatory skill of the user, pain relief may be experienced instantly.
Infrared light therapy
NASA hosted the first studies on the anti-inflammatory properties of infrared light. Fast forward, it is now known that biological tissues react to a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum (including visible light). Why this happens is not yet understood, but the evidence is clear. Infrared light therapy devices (many types of products with different names) are manufactured in many different sizes, shapes and body targets. There is evidence that infrared light induces pain relief and even has a regenerative effect on the body. Owing to these properties, infrared light equipment (mainly lasers) has been used clinically for a while. Now, there are also consumer products that can be used at home. This tech is extensively employed in dentistry and is also indicated for chronic joint pain. Using a personal device is as simple as turning the light on and exposing the aching body area to it for a short amount of time.
Vibrating human cells millions of times per minute (specifically at the medically graded frequency of 1.5 MHz) seems to also cause an anti-inflammatory and pain relief (and, in some cases, regenerative) effect on the targeted area. Like the above two types of stimulation, ultrasound is used clinically to help treat certain conditions (in addition to aiding several types of diagnosis). Personal ultrasonic painkillers typically feature a small chrome-finish surface area that transmits the ultrasonic energy to the body parts it touches. Like infrared light, the ultrasonic energy is to be applied regularly for a certain amount of time until the pain relief effect is experienced.