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Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3051
   Posted 1/17/2013 10:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi all,

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 prescription 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)

Retired Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 1/18/2013 1:35 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Skeye,

I have not personally heard of this one, but I just read an article in either Prevention or Readers Digeast about something similar. Perhaps it is the manufacturing name for the one I was reading about. None the less, I'd love to know more!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 2023
   Posted 1/18/2013 3:12 PM (GMT -7)   

I have this but had no effect from it.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3051
   Posted 1/18/2013 10:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks, Suzane! I appreciate you sharing about your experience!


RM, do you recall what the article said about the device? I'm pretty intrigued by this alpha-stim, especially because it is FDA approved for treating both pain and depression/anxiety/sleep disturbance, which so many of us with CP also suffer from, and additionally, it can only be prescribed by physicians. For whatever reason, I find that kind of reassuring that this device is indeed legit. It is always so hard to know what to think about devices like this that you hear about, that claim to treat all pain, or in this case, pain plus depression, etc, & also have extremely high success rates. I find that most of them are bogus, but they are also usually things that any person can obtain OTC from a pharmacy, online store, or even in some cases, an infomercial.

I did not have time to call the alpha-stim nurse today, but I'm thinking that if insurance will cover it, or at least the majority of the cost, then this might be something worth trying. I know that my mom will take the device if I do not find it helpful, as she is quite interested in trying it herself. I'm also wondering if they have, or might be able to set-up some kind of trial period for me, where they could either sent me a loner for a couple weeks, or allow me to send the device back within a certain number of days if I have little or no improvement with the alpha-stim. I'll definitely have to look into it, or ask when I speak with someone from the company.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3557
   Posted 2/15/2013 7:14 AM (GMT -7)   
Please read the forum rules....Advertisements are NOT allowed on here and your obvious member name is associated with the product you are trying to sell...

Again...Moderators have been alerted and I'm sure it will get deleted shortly:)
SB (Snowbunny) and the pup that snores (my yellow lab:))

3, two-level, cervical fusions over the past 11 years. The last one was anterior and posterior with lots of fun titanium!
Still have active herniations along with knee problems and another Morton's neuroma in left foot.
I try to find joy in each day even with chronic pain:)

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 1276
   Posted 2/15/2013 9:11 AM (GMT -7)   
Josh - this forum is for us, as chronic pain patients, to share experiences with each other. Whether you were trying to sell the product or not I think is irrelevant, it's that the forum rules do not permit 'medical professionals' to give any medical advice here on the forums.

Thanks, and have a nice day.

Moderator - Chronic Pain Forum

Full body CRPS with spasms, dystonia & contractures, gastroparesis, orthostatic hypotension,bradycardia/tachycardia, bursitis, CTS, osteoporosis, multiple compression fx, disc bulges.

Oxycodone ER/IR, Topamax, Mobic, Somac, Cymbalta, Lorazepam, Midodrine, Vit D & C, SCS, baclofen/bupivacaine pump

Screaming Eagle
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 2/15/2013 3:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello Skeye!……can't help with the question, but wanted to get in a Howdy! Glad to see you posting here again. Your knowledge has help a lot of members here, and you have been so willing to share with us. Thank you!…Thank you!

SE wink
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Weekly Quote!

Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement - and we will make the goal. ~Jerome Fleishman

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 10/14/2014 7:20 PM (GMT -7)   
A friend of mine loaned me his Alpha-Stim and I have used it a dozen times or more for attempting to reduce the chronic pain in my mid back and lower back. There are two applicators for this treatment. Probes that must be applied by a mate (when treating the back since you can't comfortably reach the areas by oneself) or pads that stick to the skin. When I first used the probes I felt them and they seemed "stronger" than the pads. And the first time I thought I felt better then next day after treatment. Now I barely feel anything going on with either the probes or the pads. Right now I am sitting here with the pads on my back with the settings at the highest levels (100 & 6) and I barely feel anything in the way of current "treating" my back. The battery shows a full charge so I just don't know what to think. Every now and then I'll feel a bit of a tingle but not like the first time. And the first week he loaned them to me I noticed the battery levels dropping but tonight they still show 5 bars out of 5 bars. I did just move a pad on my back to another location and feel the tingle a little bit more but for settings on high I have to wonder if I don't feel it enough that I have to reduce the setting, will it help? So far I'm unsure of the effectiveness for my condition. One day I wore it all day and would run it for an hour and then off for an hour or so and then on again. I didn't find it helped any more with that kind of use than not using it or using it for just an hour. I wish it would definitely work but like everything else I'm not sure there is any relief to be had out there with any drug or device.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 15149
   Posted 10/16/2014 8:00 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello Flash & welcome to the forum. Please note that you have posted on an older thread that has not had an activity in over a year. We do like to keep these older threads off of the maon page.

We do ask all new members to make a separate intro thread so that all members will see it & be able to give a proper hello & welcome aboard. By posting on an older thread not all members will see your post.

I will lock this thread so others will not post any further here. Thanks.
Moderator Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums
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