I am considering the use of electronic therapy to help with managing the pain I am experiencing due to my MS. What options are open to me?
There are two tried and trusted methods of electronic therapy used to manage the impact of pain. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy is a method of relieving pain which uses a mild electrical current, known as electrotherapy. It works by sending low-voltage electrical impulses to the affected area via electrodes which are applied to the skin, impacting the pain signals that are sent to your brain and spinal cord. TENS therapy does not provide a cure for the cause of pain but provides a temporary easing of its severity.
Interestingly, a recent study by Dr Roger Enoka of the University of Colorado in the USA has found that using TENS therapy may help people affected by MS in terms of improving walking and dexterity. TENS units are available on general sale from a variety of providers.
Action potential simulation is similar to TENS, as they are both types of electrotherapy, but works differently in that it mimics the body’s own electronic signalling system, simulating the discharge of electricity along a cell. This process is known as ‘action potential’ and helps to not only reduce pain but promote injury repair and boost energy.
The Bedfordshire and Northants MS Therapy Centre was the first of its kind in the UK to trial APS and, in the first two years, 79 per cent of those who underwent a programme of therapy reported an abatement in the level of pain they experienced.
APS Therapy is now available from a variety of MS Therapy Centres around the UK. We have recently published a blog detailing APS Therapy on our website, which contains a link to Painfree Potential from whom you can buy or hire APS units. Visit www.ms-uk.org/blog-what-is-aps-therapy
It is important that you seek medical advice before beginning a course of electrotherapy. For instance, you may have other medical conditions which need to be taken into consideration before use. A prime example of this is with TENS therapy as it may interact with a pacemaker or defibrillator should you have either of these fitted. The NHS website has further advice here www.nhs.uk/conditions/transcutaneous-electrical-
If you have a question about MS, call the MS-UK Helpline for information and emotional support from 10am-4pm Monday to Friday on 0800 783 0518.