I was wondering if anyone here has any experience with, or knowledge about
a device called an alpha-stim. It is an FDA approved device used to treat pain, anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance. From what I can tell, it is similar to a TENS unit, in that electrodes are applied to the body, and the unit generates some kind of electrical stimulation that produces waveforms, but these particular waves promote neurotransmitter production in the brain. You are supposed to treat both the area of the body where you are experiencing pain, and the brain (by clipping electrodes to each ear lobe).
From what I can tell, there is a large body of primary scientific literature behind the device, showing success in reducing pain, anxiety, and depression, and improving sleep quality. Many of these studies use a double-blind format (neither doctor, nor patient knows if they have been given the real treatment, or whether they are in the placebo group). This is the same type of study they use when running clinical trials testing a new medication, as it eliminates both patient and doctor bias. The website says that the alpha stim reduces pain in 99% of users. That number I find hard to believe, but I have skimmed through some of their research, and they have definitely gotten positive results. This devices does have to be prescribed by a licensed medical doctor, and is covered by many insurance plans (without coverage, I think it costs around $1000).
I ask because my mom's doctor recommended it to her for her sleep and fatigue, and me for my pain, and well, everything! I guess that she has only been using the alpha-stim in her practice for a relatively short time, but has been seeing positive results in many of her patients who use the device. I must add that although I am not currently seeing this doctor myself, I have seen her in the past, and she is quite familiar with my case and current situation.
My mom called the company and spoke directly to a nurse about
the device, and my case in particular (including the fact that I already have an implanted neurostimulator). The nurse was apparently very knowledgeable (she was actually familiar with neurostimulators, and whether or not the alpha stim could be used concurrently, etc). The nurse gave my mom a case number, and I am going to call and talk to her directly. My mom also spoke to people in the company about
my particular insurance coverage, as well as a representative from my insurance provider, and it turns out that my insurance will indeed cover most of the cost of the unit. Anyways, I guess my mom was pretty much sold, as has already gotten a prescript
ion for me from the doctor.
I had never heard of this device before recently, and I don't think I've ever seen any mention of it here. Any feedback from anyone with knowledge or experience with this device would be greatly appreciated!
edit: also just found out that this device is being used by some veterinary oncologists and pain docs (yes, there are some doggie pain specialists out there) to reduce pain and depression from cancer, surgery, and osteoarthritis (although it is technically not approved for use on animals)
Post Edited (skeye) : 1/17/2013 10:20:01 PM (GMT-7)