Considering how the United States is currently having to cope with an opioid crisis, many are trying to find a way to remedy this situation, but it is important to understand a major cause that makes individuals take these drugs in the first place. Chronic pain is something that millions of individuals must cope with daily. However, another approach is currently being tested and the hope is that advancements in technology will assist millions of chronic pain sufferers find the relief they seek without having to use pain-relief medication.
Although the underlying reason for chronic pain can be difficult to detect or treat, recent technologies are able to provide relief of symptoms in numerous ways. Before we can look at several technologies that promise relief, it is important to first understand what the state of chronic pain is and realize that if you are an individual who does suffer from this daily, you may feel like you’re alone but that is not the case. Millions of people know what you are going through which includes myself.
The State of Chronic Pain
Naturally, pain is a response that is associated with an injury or disease as the body tells the brain something is not right and needs to be corrected. While most people would like to avoid pain, without it an individual wouldn’t remove their hand from a pot filled with scalding hot water; yet, there is a difference from experiencing acute pain and chronic pain.
According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM), acute pain is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert you to possible injury and the need to take care of yourself; chronic pain is different. Chronic pain persists, and pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years.
Chronic pain sufferers can sometimes feel alone while enduring pain daily; however, this is not the case when you are exposed to the data and statistics that appears on the pain doctor’s website. One such statistic states that 126 million American adults experience some sort of pain throughout any three-month time period while the cost of chronic pain figures to be between $560 and $635 billion in the United States on an annual basis. Fortunately, there are technologies that are becoming available that promise to offer some amount of pain relief.
The ReST Bed Offers Chronic Pain-Sufferers a Good Night’s Sleep
Nighttime can be the worst time of the day for chronic pain sufferers as they experience turning, tossing and consistent shifting to avoid painful areas of the neck and back is a big struggle. Since undergoing two separate spinal cord operations over my forty-seven years of living, I can relate to experiencing sleepless nights due to chronic pain. The ReST Bed offers a way to resolve this dilemma.
This product is a unique mattress that allows the user to customize and control the firmness of five specific areas of the bed as a app is used to preset an individual’s level of firmness of each level. During your sleep cycle, the mattress will automatically detect your pressure as you move throughout the evening and deflates or inflate based on your preferences. Joe Auer of Mattress Clarity claims it is very responsive and comfortable while giving it a 4.3 out of 5.0 rating.
Wearable Pain-Relief Technology from Quell
Chronic pain sufferers struggle with trying to be active in their lives despite how restricting the pain can be. However, there has been a rise in companies working on wearable devices that provide relief of chronic pain; one company that uses pain-relief technology is known as Quell.
Although the technology is new, the FDA has approved it and in a 60-day trial, two out of three who used Quell’s device were able to cut down the amount of pain medicine they were taking while 81% of those who participated were cited as seeing an improvement with their chronic pain. Quell reports that the device works by stimulating the sensory nerves in your upper calf, triggering your body’s natural pain relief response blocking pain signals in the body.
The Future for Chronic Pain Relief is Technology
Chronic pain is a condition that affect millions of individuals within the United States and the use of pain-relief medications, such as opioids, has unfortunately become a main factor for the opioid crisis going on in the US today. The prescription drug doses that I was previously taking were so high that if I had not stopped or lowered the amount I was taking; my body would have burned itself out within one or two decades.
The solution for chronic pain needs is moving from pain-relief medicines to technology that can generate some relief while not damaging an individual’s body. The ReST mattress and Quell’s wearable device are samples of how technology is adapting and being developed to assist those who are in need. Further advancements in technology will continue to help millions of chronic pain sufferers find the pain-relief that they deserve to have.