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Microcurrent Treatment Helped My Nerve Pain: Case Study

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 5 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
Pain Nerve Microcurrent Fibromyalgia

Linda Horncastle suffered from such severe fibromyalgia that she was unable to work for 20 years. The occupational therapist from Buckinghamshire says the symptoms were so bad that she had started testing electric wheelchairs as walking had become so painful.

“Having children kicked off my fibromyalgia,” says Linda, who’s now 50 and says she had been in pain since the age of 19. The chronic condition is characterised by widespread pain and stiffness in the tissues supporting the bones and joints.

“I was always in pain, suffered from chronic fatigue and felt anxious all the time with panic attacks, and also had an oversensitivity to stimuli. Going on the underground in London, for example, was like being in a flashing light disco.

“Because my body could not cut out the stimuli, I needed something to distract it, like blinkers on a horse. That’s why I always wore sunglasses in the underground!”

Tried Different Methods

Linda tried lots of methods to quell the pain, but she is so sensitive to painkillers she couldn’t even take paracetamol. Her symptoms improved slightly using diet and relaxation techniques, but not enough to go back to work.

Then she met Dr. Bob Lister, a man “very into alternative medicine without any side effects”, who spoke to her fibromyalgia support group. He told her about the Alpha-Stim 100, vaguely similar to a TENS machine, which is used to relieve nerve pain, among other problems.

Battery-operated, it sends microcurrents to the brain. They are delivered usually via small ear clips, and the current is so small that most people don’t even notice it. The device has been used for almost 30 years in the United States, but was still relatively new here.

Different to TENS Machine

“A TENS machine measures in milliamps, 60 to 100. When it is on it’s like a hammer action to distract the pain going up and down the nerves. It is a very high current,” Linda says.

“The microcurrent is measured in microamps, about 500, so it's thousands of time less current than a TENS machine. Latest research has found this more gentle current works better on cells, and at the same level of current as cell activity

“It is much safer and keeps away pain, and also helps the cells to heal, so the effect is cumulative. With the TENS, when you take it off it stops working.”

Linda says she was very sceptical at first, but when she was told the microcurrents have a 90 percent success rate and was completely safe, she decided to risk it. It was the best decision she ever made.

Linda used the device for three weeks, then travelled to London with her younger son, to discover he needed a leg operation. It was a very stressful day which involved her going on the Underground, which was another anxiety trigger and usually resulted in a very bad headache.

Amazing Results

When she and her son arrived back home, she realised that throughout the entire day she hadn’t had a panic attack or headache, that her back pain had not increased and she hadn’t needed to use relaxation techniques. These were all firsts for her in recent years.

Going on holiday soon after that, Linda says she had another revelation.

“I hadn’t slept well for years and on holiday it was normally even worse because it was a strange bed,” she says.

“We went on holiday a few weeks after starting to use the device, and the second night I slept for 10 hours only waking once for a few minutes. My husband couldn’t believe it when he woke up and I was still asleep!"

During that holiday Linda also, for the first time in many years, managed a two-hour walk - up a fell in the Lake District.

Still Improving

A year later Linda is continuing to improve, and although there’s still some pain from the fibromyalgia she can control it using the device.

Everyone around her has been delighted by the difference in her as well. “It’s not just my husband and the children who’ve noticed. My mother has been amazed at the change in me and when I went to the dentist, even she said she couldn’t believe the difference!”

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