PENS: A NEW WAY TO MANAGE PAIN
PENS is an exciting development in the control of pain for people with peripheral nerve pain. Patients are showing clear indications that peripheral nerve pain can be eased using the PENS system, despite the fact that it is a recent innovation.
Development of PENS
Ironically, PENS, a Peripheral Electrical Nerve Stimulator was developed as a useful aid to identify and therefore diagnose patients who would benefit from receiving some form of permanently implanted device to ease pain, by stimulating the spinal cord through the peripheral nerve system. The early identification and diagnosis of such patients can effectively reduce the number of patients undergoing additional procedures, which can be potentially lengthy, cause anxiety, discomfort and even pain to the patient.
However, as the device was used, it became clear that patients were actually benefiting from the PENS device, because it offered patients practically instant pain relief and enabled them to effectively manage long-term neuropathic pain relief of peripheral origin. Given that there are so few ways to effectively manage pain and there are even fewer ways of achieving almost instant pain relief, PENS can rightly be seen as a major breakthrough in pain management.
How Does PENS work?
A PENS treatment provides electrical stimulation and it triggers alternative waveforms, which combine to directly target nervous tissue and the result is an effective, medication free, analgesic effect. This effect is then magnified by the nervous system being prompted into healing itself through the dispersal of opiod peptides into the nervous system.
Who Can Benefit From PENS?
Studies show that patients who benefit most from the PENS system are those who have chronic, significant pain that is specifically peripheral neuropathic in nature. They can have pain levels significantly reduced by a PENS system. In particular, patients who find medication or TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) ineffective in managing their pain, find that the PENS system can be of particular benefit to them.
The Benefits of PENS
The most obvious benefit of PENS is the significant reduction in pain levels associated with peripheral neuropathic pain. But there are other ‘hidden’ advantages to using the PENS system.
It is a relatively non-invasive procedure. Many patients who have peripheral neuropathic pain may have experienced several procedures and may be reluctant to undergo further invasive procedures or they may have underlying conditions that preclude an invasive procedure being the initial course of action. The risks associated with the procedure are relatively low, since it is administered through the skin by a physician and there is no device implanted in the patient. For individuals experiencing chronic levels of peripheral neuropathic pain, their quality of life can be adversely affected to such a degree that they can often find “normal” life difficult. Chronic depression can also be associated with pain that cannot be controlled, so PENS can offer patients the chance to enjoy life again!
Medication Free Option
People with chronic pain conditions, particularly with peripheral neuropathic conditions may have been routinely prescribed analgesics over a long period of time. These may have progressed in dosage or strength, until the patient grows resistant or may develop side effects. The beauty of PENS is that it is a drug free way to control pain!
PENS and ContraIndications
The contraindications presented by the Pens system are minimal. As with any other electrical stimulation procedure, PENS should not be used on patients who have epilepsy, heart disease, who are (or may be) pregnant and it has not been validated as being safe for use with children. Patients on anticoagulants should also not be treated using a PENS system: but for everyone else with peripheral neuropathic pain, it is an effective and safe procedure!