Electroanalgesia is a pain management technique that uses high-pulse electrical current to ease pain, boost blood circulation, improve mobility, and induce relaxation.
When applied to the target areas that are causing pain, the electrical stimulation “floods” the nervous system with high frequency external electrical pulses. This action disrupts the pain signals traveling from your peripheral nerves (the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord) to the brain. This process, which is known as neuromodulation, provides long-lasting relief from pain.
But electroanalgesia also offers a cascade of other benefits. The electrical current stimulates the supply of blood, nutrients, and oxygen in the area affected by pain, which reduces inflammation and supports the ability of the body to heal damaged tissues. What’s more, electrical stimulation triggers the release of feel-good hormones known as endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers.
As shown by recent research, electroanalgesia is effective in significantly reducing the levels of acute and chronic pain caused by a range of conditions. These include musculoskeletal disorders, nerve pain (neuropathy), inflammatory diseases like arthritis and tendinitis, post-operative pain, fibromyalgia, and degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis.
TENS And PENS Techniques
TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) and PENS (percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) are two methods of pain relief that utilize electrical stimulation.
In TENS therapy, low-pulse electrical current is carried through the skin via sticky pads known as electrodes, which are placed around the painful area.
In PENS, the electrical current is delivered through needles inserted near the nerves serving the areas that are causing you pain. Commonly, PENS therapies are delivered by surgically implanting devices that generate low-pulse current behind the ear, with the aim to interfere with the normal transmission of pain signals to the brain over prolonged periods of time.
Both pain management options may be effective in treating pain conditions such as neuropathy when delivered as part of a comprehensive electroanalgesia treatment.
Unlike low-pulse over-the-counter electrical stimulation devices, the FDA-cleared high-pulse electroanalgesia protocols offered at Neuragenex deliver up to 10,000 electrical pulses per second (versus the 250-400 pulses per second transmitted by traditional TENS units).
The high pulse electrical current allows therapeutic level doses of current to reach deeper into the damaged tissue, move quickly through the skin, and provide greater stimulation to the nerve endings in the painful areas. Ultimately, it is this feature that makes electroanalgesia a superior treatment option for treating chronic and acute pain.
The Benefits Of Electroanalgesia Treatment
Being non-drug, non-addictive, and non-invasive, electroanalgesia represents a valid alternative to opioids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and surgery to manage pain. But this treatment option also offers a range of benefits that go beyond simply easing pain:
- Enhanced Relaxation: The sensations caused by electrical stimulation offer an experience that is similar to massage therapy. As such, electroanalgesia can relax tense muscles and loosen tight tissues.
- Reduced Pain: The electrical pulses delivered through electroanalgesia prevent pain signals from an injured or diseased part of the body from reaching the brain. Additionally, through a process known as sustained depolarization, electrical stimulation can reset your perception of pain by triggering a shift of electrical charge in the neurons in charge of processing pain signals in the brain. The combination of these actions reduces painful sensations, a benefit that lasts long after the treatment is over.
- Improved Circulation: The electrical pulses have a stimulating effect on the blood circulation around the damaged area. This promotes a fresh supply of essential oxygen and nutrients, which support the body’s ability to heal damaged tissues.
- Improved Mobility: Electroanalgesia can counteract the effects of musculoskeletal conditions that limit mobility. Firstly, improved blood circulation can decrease inflammation, swelling, and stiffness, which allows you to move more freely. Additionally, electroanalgesia can be used to strengthen and rehabilitate muscles that have been affected by atrophy due to disuse, prolonged immobilization, or injury.
- Reduced Stress: The electrical pulses can offer an acupuncture-like experience to patients, which triggers the release of chemicals responsible for feelings of relaxation and well-being, such as endorphins.
Preparing For Electroanalgesia Treatment
Compared to medications and surgery, electroanalgesia is still a lesser-known treatment option. So, it is only natural to have questions and doubts about what is going to happen during treatment. Nonetheless, understanding what’s ahead and what results you’ll be able to see can help you prepare for your first appointment and increase the treatment’s effectiveness.
Here are some key steps to take:
- Consult with a healthcare provider: After reviewing your health status and medical history, a healthcare provider will help you determine whether you are a good candidate for this form of treatment. A specialist can also help answer any questions you may have and put your doubts to rest.
- Understand the procedure: Understanding what happens during an electroanalgesia session is key to avoiding unnecessary stress and anxiety. These feelings can aggravate your chronic pain and counteract the relaxing and stress-relieving effects of electrical stimulation.
- Follow pre-treatment instructions: Before your treatment, your healthcare provider will offer instructions such as not switching medications or avoiding activities that aggravate your pain. These simple actions can make the treatment more effective and ensure that the results from each session are not influenced by external factors.
- Wear comfortable clothing: During an electroanalgesia session, you may need to uncover certain areas of the skin where the electrodes will be placed. Your healthcare provider may also ask you to perform certain actions, such as walking. Avoiding tight clothes makes these actions easier and allows you to remain comfortable throughout your appointment.
- Discuss pain management goals: Whether you are looking to improve your sports performance, ease pain, or reduce high levels of stress, be sure to discuss your expectations with your doctor before the appointment. This step is critical to know what to expect from electroanalgesia, and learning about your goals can help a healthcare provider design a treatment protocol around your needs.
- Arrive on time: Last but not least, don’t be late for your appointment. Arriving at your doctor’s office on time can reduce your stress levels and allow you to complete all preparations without feeling anxious.
What To Expect During The Electroanalgesia Treatment
What happens during an electroanalgesia session depends on what technique is used to deliver the electrical pulses, what areas of the body are concerned, and what results you are looking to achieve. While your provider at Neuragenex will be able to help you set your expectations before your appointment, here’s what you need to know:
- Electrode placement and application: An electroanalgesia treatment starts with the placement of electrodes, which are small suction cup-shaped sticky pads. The electrodes are placed strategically around the area that is causing your pain, to facilitate the circulation of the electrical pulses. The electrodes are removed at the end of the session.
- Sensations during treatment: Your healthcare provider will activate the electrical stimulation to deliver mild pulses of electricity to the area that is causing pain. The intensity of the pulses is gradually increased to create sensations that are closer to your pain threshold. During the treatment, you will experience tingling or “pins and needles” sensations, which can feel intense but should never be painful. The massage-like sensation can also relieve muscle tension and boost relaxation.
- Monitoring by a healthcare provider: Your healthcare provider will fine-tune the electrical pulses to obtain the desired results and will monitor your progress and perception of pain during and after the treatment. A doctor will also look out for any adverse reactions, such as skin irritation caused by the electrodes.
- Length of treatment: A single electroanalgesia treatment usually lasts up to an hour, depending on the severity of your symptoms. Although you may experience a reduction in pain after a single session, Neuragenex recommends undergoing at least two hour-long sessions a week for 12 weeks to obtain long-lasting relief from pain.
By sticking to the treatment plan and completing the whole course of therapy, the pain relief effects offered by electroanalgesia can last for months.
Recovery And Follow-Up Care After The Treatment
Being non-painful, non-invasive, and non-pharmaceutical, electroanalgesia does not require long periods of recovery or downtime. However, some recovery and follow-up tips can help you improve the effectiveness of treatment and return to your normal self in less time:
- Rest: In the days following an electroanalgesia session, you’ll want to rest and avoid strenuous activities that may increase stress, pain, and inflammation. However, staying active is important: choose mind-body activities like walking or stretching instead of high-impact sports.
- Follow instructions from healthcare providers: Your healthcare provider will provide advice such as staying hydrated, following a balanced diet, and avoiding high levels of stress.
- Monitor for side effects: After electrical stimulation, you may experience minor and temporary side effects, including fatigue. The areas where the electrodes are applied may also feel sore. These side effects will ease down within hours of the treatment, but you should contact your doctor if they persist.
- Attend follow-up appointments: To obtain the results you’ve discussed with your doctor, you should accurately follow the customized electroanalgesia program you’ve been provided with. Make sure to set up follow-up appointments and attend all scheduled sessions. Long term outcomes depend on your commitment to follow through with your treatment protocol.
- Communicate with your healthcare provider: If you have doubts, concerns, or questions after each session, don’t delay in contacting your healthcare provider. An expert can help you understand how to maximize the reduction in pain and take care of your health after each appointment.
Comprehensive Neurofunctional Pain Management Treatment Plan
Electroanalgesia is a revolutionary approach that can efficiently help those suffering from chronic pain ease their symptoms and stop being dependent on medications. But electroanalgesia is only one of the three pillars of Neurofunctional Pain Management.
This whole-person approach introduced by Neuragenex uses electrical stimulation in combination with custom IV Therapy programs and Lifestyle Counseling to help patients restore their quality of life and live pain-free without medications or surgery.
- IV Therapy: Tailored IV therapy protocols are designed to fulfill any nutritional deficiencies and imbalances that may be aggravating your pain. Through IV injections of minerals, nutrients, and vitamins, you’ll benefit from long-lasting hydration, reduced inflammation, and higher levels of energy.
- Lifestyle Counseling: Through ad hoc lifestyle counseling programs, the specialists at Neuragenex will be able to address those lifestyle factors that are contributing to your pain or disease. From creating custom dietary plans and exercise programs, to addressing obesity and habits such as alcohol use, a Lifestyle Counselor can help you lay the basis for long-term health and well-being.
Benefits Of This Revolutionary Pain Management Protocol
What makes Neurofunctional Pain Management so revolutionary is that this protocol does not only aim to treat the symptoms of a painful condition. Instead, Neuragenex looks at the bigger picture – which includes lifestyle factors, habits, occupational hazards, medications, and health goals – to help you build the foundations of long-term health.
This whole-person proactive approach allows treatments like electroanalgesia and IV therapy to offer longer-lasting results while helping you create a lifestyle that is conducive to your well-being. Ultimately, with Neurofunctional Pain Management, you can address the risk factors that may lead to health complications (i.e.: overweight, diabetes, or a sedentary lifestyle), support your body’s ability to heal damaged tissue and enjoy a magnified quality of life.