Chronic Pain Woes (and Solutions!)
The biggest shock of adulthood, for me, was not the confusingly high cost of toilet paper or finding myself ready for bed by 10 pm. No, upon completing a four-month long internship of full-time desk work, I was shocked at how much my neck and lower back hurt. I shouldn’t have been surprised given I have the sitting posture of a croissant, but I am only 21; surely, I can’t already be condemned to a life of physical pain like my parents before me.
Asking around, I learned that just about everyone I know over the age of 20 has some sort of chronic pain, and the generations who came before us lament that it will only get worse. Massages are expensive, and painkillers aren’t ideal and definitely don’t solve the problem, so what are we to do?
This is the specialty of Dr. Michael Ho, a chiropractic and acupuncture doctor with a special interest in treating patients who experience pain relating to joints, muscles, and nerves. A 2018 report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 20.4% of the U.S adult population have chronic pain, which is defined as experience physical pain most days or every day for at least the past six months.
With numbers like those, it’s easy to see why addictions to pain medications are on the rise. With this in mind, Dr. Ho has made a name for himself as a leader in technology-based medical products in North America for drug-free pain relief. His Pain Therapy system is uniquely designed to aid in relieving chronic, intractable, and general pain in all areas of the body.
The Dr. Ho Circulation Promoter and Pain Therapy System, pictured above, uses a combination of TENS and EMS that is combined with the company’s own Auto Modulated Pain technology. So, what exactly does this mean? TENS, otherwise known as Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, applies waveforms to muscles and nerves through conductive electrode pads that are placed on the area of pain. Because muscles are comprised of motor units, they are triggered by nerve impulses to contract and create force. The Dr. Ho Pain Therapy unit is able to incorporate three different signals of varying intensities, frequencies, and pulse patterns. The signal begins by generating stimulating pulse sequences, and slowly increases in peak-to-peak voltages over a few seconds, before decreasing. The program places the highest intensity of treatment in the middle of the cycle. Patients have described the pulsing sensation as feeling like a wave. Other patients compare it to a real massage.
These pulses not only work to relieve pain related to muscle tension, cramping, and injuries, but is also effective in treating headaches, increasing range of motion of the neck and back, increasing muscle oxygenation, and treats poor circulation (which indirectly improves sleep). In a 2019 study, found in the Mount Royal University digital Library, a total of 38 studies from 29 papers involving 1,227 patients were examined, and of the 38 studies 24 showed a significant improvement in pain scores following some kind of TENS therapy. A separate study from 2005 showed that a single 20-minute treatment with quiet lying significantly reduced muscular pain and resting activation levels and increased muscle oxygenation.
Of course, electrical therapy is sure to cause a bit of apprehension, but there have been no known reports of adverse effects or safety concerns in relation to the medically licensed Dr. Ho Pain Therapy unit. In fact, there is no evidence of any risk at all, except for the possibility of rare, mild skin irritation. Even so, Dr. Ho has been approved by various safety associations for mitigating this risk.
If adult life has been a pain – literally – just know that you’re not alone. And if you feel you feel like you’ve exhausted all your options, and want to get back to more activities you enjoy, there is one more Doctor to give a try.
Adapted from an article written by Kendall B.