Effective, Safe Pain Control With Electricity


Effective, Safe Pain Control With Electricity

The pain stimulus is sent to the spinal columnJoint N-11to go to the brain. It is an electrical signal that imbalances certain nerves and the resulting actions by the nerves insure the pain message is received so no further harm is done. All of this is good until the message going to the brain is continuous or more frequent than is needed and unnecessary. It is at this point when the message is constant that the patient has a problem. Now the issue is not protecting the body but preventing further harm by the constant pain message which limits the patient's abilities to be functional. The pain impulse becomes an inhibitor to health. One comment you will hear often is the pain " is all in your head". Very accurate statement as all pain is in the head as that is where it is perceived so nothing new here. The danger of it not being in your head is most evident in a patient with diabetic neuropathy or other diseases where the sensory input is lost. That patient may have a cut, or burn to their foot/legs, and never know about it until infection has set in. The impairment of the sensory input to the patient's brain results in far more serious injury often resulting in systemic infection, amputation or in some cases death. For those patients the lack of pain being in their "head" can be tragic.

With chronic pain the nerves that are transmitting the pain signal are activated by minimal input. When the pain nerve going to the spinal cord is stimulated a message is sent and the spinal cord can only accept and transmit a limited number of messages to the brain. The messages to the brain come in from different types of nerves referred to as "A", "B", "C" fibers. These fibers carry different messages such as pressure, heat etc. so the fibers have different duties (jobs) to keep the brain informed of what our body is experiencing. Because there are more nerve fibers coming to the spine than there are pathways to the brain then some messages do not get transmitted. When that message is the pain message from the C fiber, then if not transmitted, obviously there can be no pain.If not in the brain then no pain.

With electricity for the chronic pain patient we use devices to stimulate the "non pain" fibers.For visualization I like to compare this process to the old fashion telephone system where you had an operator who physically routed phone calls to their destination. The operator might only have access to 10 outgoing lines so when there were 20 calls coming into the central system the operator had to decide which of the 10 were most important and allow them through while letting the other 10 know to wait or call back when less busy. This is similar to the process our spine goes through on deciding what messages are allowed or not allowed.

In order to prioritize non pain messages so the spinal cord will transmit that message, rather than the pain message, we use electricity to stimulate the non-pain fibers. The electrical impulse stimulates ( causing physical/chemical changes ) to the nerve fibers and therefore the input from the non pain fibers are transmitted and the pain message is not. When using electrical inputs the patient experiences non pain sensations since that sensation is what is being transmitted to the brain for our perception. The pain signal goes away or is never transmitted therefore no pain.



Keywords: joint n-11


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