“The new understanding of chronic pain is that nerves essentially ‘learn’ the pain over time and become hypersensitive. This is the reason why NSAID’s and other pain relief drugs work poorly, since they do not target the underlying problem,” explains Sree Koneru, Ph.D., Product Development VP of Bioelectronics Corporation
According to Pain Doctor, around 126 million American adults or more than half of all adults – experience some sort of pain over the course of any three- month period of time. Somewhere between 50 and 100 million adults in the US have chronic pain conditions.
Chronic pain is something we as human beings tackle on a daily basis. While the underlying cause is not always easily detectable or treatable, new technologies are providing symptom relief in a variety of ways.
As pain is a natural response that is associated with an injury, chronic pain comes in many states. It is the body’s way of telling the brain that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. Without pain, you would not know to remove your hand from a scalding pot of boiling water. But there is a difference between acute pain and chronic pain.
“While acute pain is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert you to possible injury and the need to take care of yourself, chronic pain is different,” explains the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM). “Chronic pain persists. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years.”
According to Pain Doctor, around 126 million American adults – or more than half of all adults – experience some sort of pain over the course of any three-month period of time. Somewhere between 50 and 100 million adults in the US have chronic pain conditions. (This number does not take children into account.)
Of those in chronic pain, 27 per cent suffer from lower back pain, 15 percent deal with severe headaches and migraines, and 15 percent experience constant neck pain and the cost of chronic pain is ranges between $560 and $635 billion annually in the US alone.
With this in mind, the wearable technology market is expected to reach $51.60 billion by 2022 at a CAGR of 15.51 per cent between 2016 and 2022. The growth of wearable technology market is driven by factors such as consumer preference for sophisticated gadgets, increasing growth prospects of next-generation displays in wearable devices, and growing popularity of Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices, according to Markets and Markets.
The ActiPatch product provides advanced long-lasting chronic pain relief using Electromagnetic Pulse Therapy and works great for back pain, knee pain, muscle & joint pain, arthritis, sciatica, fibromyalgia, strains, sprains and more. It is a drug and ingredient-free so is safe for continuous use and can be used while taking any other medication.
The good news is that the rampant nature of chronic pain means that there is a huge marketplace for pain relief – re searchers, medical professionals, entrepreneurs and technologists from all around the world, devoting time and money towards developing pain relief technologies.
MediWorld ME talked in detail with Sree Koneru, Ph.D., Product Development VP of Bioelectronics Corporation on how ActiPatch relieves muscular chronic pain with the use of drugs.
As pain is a natural response that is associated with an injury, chronic pain comes in many states. It is the body’s way of telling the brain that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. But there is a difference between acute pain and chronic pain.
Musculoskeletal pain relief
ActiPatch is a new and clinically proven drug free technology in the fight against chronic pain. The ActiPatch product provides advanced long-lasting chronic pain relief using Electromagnetic Pulse Therapy and works great for back pain, knee pain, muscle & joint pain, arthritis, sciatica, fibromyalgia, strains, sprains and more. It is a drug and ingredient- free so is safe for continuous use and can be used while taking any other medication.
Sree explains, “The ActiPatch is a wearable medical device that uses electromagnetic fields to regulate faulty nerve activity and relieve chronic pain. ActiPatch belongs to the class of electrotherapy, where electrical energy is used for therapeutic benefits.
“Under electrotherapy, ActiPatch is recognized under many names: Electromagnetic Pulse Therapy, PEMFT, PEMF, PRFE or PSWT. The technology works by pulsing high-frequency (1,000 times a second), low-energy (< 200 times a typical cell phone) electromagnetic signals into the nerves in the tissue region where pain is present”.
It is designed to help with chronic pain for a variety of conditions such as fibromyalgia, sciatic nerve pain, neuropathy, neck pain, hip pain, tendonitis etc.
An electrotherapy device
With regards to pain relief, many companies rely on the use of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation to achieve their results. This is the most common, over- the-counter medical technology that is used for pain relief. A classic example is the ICY HOT TENS machine that is commonly sold in the United States. ActiPatch and TENS units are both electrotherapy device, but they have many differences.
TENS units send current signals directly across the skin to regulate ner ve activity, and this leads to an uncomfortable, tingling sensation during use. TENS can be useful, but has limitations:
- Continuous TENS use is not possible, since sending electricity across the skin continuously can damage it. Treatment sessions are typically limited to 20 minutes
- TENS requires skin contact to work, so individuals with sensitive or bandaged skin cannot use it
- Individuals report discomfort from the tingling sensation during use
- T E N S requires electrodes and gel to work effectively, so constant reapplication of gel may be necessary, making it cumbersome to use, according to Sree.
“ActiPatch provides the benefits of TENS among some other benefits, while eliminating the limitations, such as ActiPatch can be used 24/7, since there is no skin contact needed; ActiPatch does not require skin contact to work, so it can be used on bandages or taped directly over clothing; There is no sensation when using an ActiPatch, so users can wear it for an extended period; and there are no electrodes or application of gel, so ActiPatch is an ideal wearable electrotherapy device for pain relief”.
Superior pain relief
Hot or cold therapies provide temporary distraction to the nerves as long as the sensation is present. According to Sree, when one bumps their hand, the common response is to rub the painful area to feel better. The mechanism here, is that providing a stimulus to someone in pain provides a temporary distraction to the brain, but following a removal of that stimulus, the pain can come back.
“Doctors agree that the level of chronic pain is often unrelated to the level of underlying damage in the tissue. An example is knee osteoarthritis, where pain levels are often unrelated to the level of underlying damage (as measured by radiological imaging). The new understanding of chronic pain is that nerves es sentially ‘ learn ‘ the pain over time and become hypersensitive.
This is the reason why NSAID’s and other pain relief drugs work poorly, since they do not target the u n der l yi n g pro bl em . T h ere are h i gh – r i sk pai n medications like opioids or centrally acting drugs, but they often have significant side effects and work poorly. Our products target th e underlying problem : hyperactive nerves that overreact to cause pain”.Lower back pain is the most common chronic pain condition, and can occur due to injury, inactive lifestyle, congenital health conditions etc. For many individuals, back pain can heal naturally, but during the process of healing, the nerves can become repetitively agitated and ‘learn’ pain. For these individuals the pain can persist even after the injury has healed.
This sensitization process occurs at the level of the central ner vous system, so it is referred to as central sensitization. ActiPatch can help with back pain by reversing the sensitization process and providing pain relief. Since there is no skin contact needed, the device can be placed over bandaging as well.
The ActiPatch is very easy to use and has been designed to work in three simple steps:
- Activate the device according to instructions provided in the package
- Identify the painful area,and place the area of most pain within the loop of the device. Use tape, or wraps to hold the ActiPatch in place
- Use it for up to 24 hrs. a day for at least 7 days. Most individuals report pain relief within 7 days of using the device
ActiPatch is known to work via the mechanism of neuromodulation, which is in essence, is the regulation of ner ve activity to achieve therapeutic effects. Neuromodulation using the ActiPatch reduces nerve hypersensitivity through its signals, which results in pain relief.
“The following analogy may be helpful: an agitated child can be hard to pacify, and tends to hyper-reactive. But if a safe alternative that engage the child, such as a toy is provided, then the hyper-reactive nature tends to decrease and agitation disappears over time. Hypersensitive nerves are like an agitated child, and ActiPatch is like a safe toy that engages the agitated nerves, helping calm them.”
The opioid crisis is an on going world wide phenomenon, where opioid-based pain medication is being liberally prescribed for chronic patients. Many times, the patient or family member can misuse the medication and get addicted to the euphoric feeling that the drug provides. With increasing usage, a person can tolerant to the effects, so there is a propensity to consume even more medication. This can lead to an accidental overdose and result in death. Steps need to be taken to provide a safe alternative to opioid medications, so that other therapies can work as the first line of defense. However, ActiPatch uses electrotherapy and has no drugs involved, so it is a drug-free solution to pain relief.
Safe chronic pain solution
Clinical literature indicates that up to 85 per cent of pain is musculoskeletal in nature, i.e., pain related to the musculoskeletal system (back pain, knee pain, neck pain, other joint pain etc.) Chronic musculoskeletal pain is a complex health condition to treat and often requires a multi-treatment approach for effective relief.
ActiPatch is approved by the FDA for Over-The-Counter sales for the adjunctive treatment of pain due to: 1) Osteoarthritis of the Knee and 2) Plantar Fasciitis.
Outside the United States, ActiPatch is sold in more than 25 countries for a variety of musculoskeletal pain conditions.
“While ActiPatch is one of the safest therapies on the market for pain relief, it may work as a standalone therapy for some individuals and as an adjunctive therapy for others. ActiPatch is already used to treat a broad variety of pain conditions across the world. Our research team is constantly exploring new applications, and we are currently looking at chronic wounds , over active bl adder, migraines a n d menstrual pain.
“Given the complexity of chronic pain, there is no single cure. However, clinical literature indicates that for many cases, the best option is to increase physical activity safely, and use an adjunctive therapy to provide relief. ActiPatch can serve as an adjunctive therapy on top of increased physical activity. Given the retail price of ActiPatch for USD 29.99 in the United States, pain relief costs only a few cents per hour of therapy,” concludes Sree.