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We have a guest blog post today written by Dr. Bennett Hixson. Dr. Hixson is a Doctor of physical Therapy at Lifestyle PT and he introduces you to where pain comes from and how to treat it without medication, surgery, or injections. I hope you enjoy. Karen S Shuler PT, DPT
Where Does Pain Come From?
Pain is a “pain in the butt”, but what if I told you it was a pain in your brain? The brain plays a large role in the severity of pain. When dealing with pain the brain seeks a way to protect the body; like a mother would their child. When the brain chooses to protect the body, it increases the sensitivity of the overall nervous system which brings us to a “fight or flight” response. During the fight or flight response the brain increases how sensitive the body is, to gather as much information as possible, to protect against threats. Due to this “perceived threat”, the nervous system is so sensitive that otherwise normal body experiences are amplified and result in pain. Light, Noises, and light touch can now be perceived as a threat and produce a pain response. This can happen due to a normal response to injury, but once that pain or injury becomes chronic, our nervous system continues to stay overly sensitive. The body keeps itself in this “fight or flight” mode and it begins to build anxiety and stress because our brain is constantly in fear of pain and is attempting to avoid these threats.
You may be thinking how does one correct this? Well, many people use pain medications whether it be over the counter or prescription, but here at Lifestyle Physical Therapy we utilize Alpha-Stim as a non-pharmaceutical based pain management option in conjunction with exercise to re-teach the brain what pain free movement is.
Alpha-Stim: How does it work?
The Alpha-Stim Aid is Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) that emits a current to the brain that reduces the sensitivity of the nervous system. (Sounds scary but we simply place clips along the earlobes to emit the current and it is pain free). The body has multiple frequencies it operates on with fight or flight being the peak. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Delta, or deep sleep (where the body performs a significant amount of healing) Right in between those two frequencies we have Alpha, which should be our baseline operating frequency. This is the frequency targeted via Alpha-Stim. By sending this current to the brain we are assisting the brain to communicate with the rest of the body to relax and thus the body exits the fight or flight response.
Some patients can feel an instant reduction or relief to their pain while others may take more time to get their body on board with changing the body’s definition of “normal.” Many times, the immediate effect depends on the duration and severity of pain. In regard to joint or body part specific pain, Alpha-Stim also offers the Alpha-Stim M which comes with smart probes and AS trodes that can be attached directly to the site of pain. This allows the unit to provide Microcurrent Electrical Therapy (MET) to the affected nerve endings that are sending pain sensations to the brain.
How does Lifestyle PT utilize Alpha-Stim?
At Lifestyle PT we utilize both CES and MET in conjunction with therapy to get you back to life! We offer the ability to purchase or rent both Alpha-Stim Models: Model Aid and Model M; which includes education and learning on how to use the device on your own. A home unit can be helpful for upcoming surgeries, to accelerate healing and reduce post-surgical pain response. The Alpha Stim AID; which offers CES only, is cleared by the FDA for treatment of anxiety, depression and insomnia. The Alpha Stim M; which offers MET in addition to CES is FDA cleared for relief from acute pain, chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
We do offer a 2 week free trial of Alpha-Stim, in the clinic, to determine if you will respond well to this type of treatment. If you have any questions or would like to set up an appointment, call or text our offices at 803-831-1454. Lifestyle Physical Therapy’s Doctors of Physical Therapy are ready to help you get back to doing the things you love with less pain and without medication, injections, or surgery.
For more information and to review the research behind Alpha-Stime you can visit www.alpha-stim.com
Bennett Hixson DPT Physical Therapist at Lifestyle Physical Therapy
This Article is intended for education Purposes only. Never start an exercise program without first consulting your physician or Physical Therapist. Never Go against the medical advice of your physician, physical therapist, or healthcare provider. If you are not cleared for exercise, you need an evaluation from a physical therapist to determine the safest way to begin an exercise program.