Electrical stimulation is one of a variety of non-invasive treatment protocols we frequently use here at the Headache Center of Chicago. Careful application of alpha wave technology, which relies on microcurrent electrical stimulation, has been shown to be particularly useful in the treatment of chronic headache and migraine conditions. Additionally, head and neck pain due to chronic muscular tension and even TMJ problems can be treated with electrical stimulation. Electrical stimulation is often performed in conjunction with other beneficial physical medicine modalities.
What Type of Electrical Stimulation does HCC Use?
At the Headache Center of Chicago our neuromuscular dentists rely on a specific type of electrical stimulation device called an AlphaStim. The AlphaStim is an established, FDA-Approved technology that produces virtually no side effects and has over 30 years of clinical research establishing its viability in chronic pain treatment and management. This device is technically called a Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulator (CES). While there are many devices on the market that provide some form of microcurrent electrical stimulation for use in pain treatment applications, ours is particularly well-suited to neuromuscular treatment and rehabilitation applications and designed to mitigate muscle tension, headache and migraine pain, and temporomandibular joint problems.
How Does AlphaStim Technology Compare to Other Commonly Used Electrical Stimulation Devices?
Over the years, many devices have been used for applied electrical stimulation to treat a wide variety of conditions. Perhaps the most common of these devices is known as a TENS unit, which stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Many people are already familiar with TENS units because these devices are often what you’ll find used in chiropractic offices or physical therapy practices. However, it is important to note that use of a TENS unit for electrical stimulation does NOT provide the same treatment that AlphaStim’s various microcurrent applications provide. In fact, the AlphaStim is quite different than the more commonly known TENS units because AlphaStim is not utilized to fire or ‘pulse’ the muscles, or to create additional fatigue within the muscles. Quite the contrary!
The microcurrent applications of the alpha wave technology in an AlphaStim device are uniquely designed for neuromotor re-education of functional pathways and management of the abnormal neurochemistry present in chronic pain patients. The AlphaStim can actually modify and modulate a patient’s sensorimotor, proprioceptive, and somatosensory reflexes to assist with the neural re-education of those feedback pathways that contribute to dysfunction and pain. Therein lies the critical benefit of AlphaStim to patients who suffer chronically from headache, migraine, TMJ pain, and muscular tension conditions. TENS units do not provide these kinds of microcurrent benefits, but AlphaStim does.
What Kind of Dysfunction and Pain does AlphaStim Address?
Since we are talking about treating areas of our bodies that contribute to the dysfunction and pain one experiences, let’s ask the obvious question: Exactly what IS dysfunctional when you have these types of pain conditions? In short, chronic pain patients with the types of conditions we have mentioned frequently suffer from dysfunctions within the Trigeminal System. Dysfunction in the trigeminal system has been directly implicated in a variety of different headache and migraine conditions, as well as in orofacial pain conditions, trigeminal neuralgias, and in orofacial muscular disorders such as muscle spasms, myositis, myalgia, and occipital-cervical segmental dysfunction.
In Conclusion: AlphaStim Can Really Help Patients With Chronic Pain
The Headache Center of Chicago uses AlphaStim to reduce pain and heal patients with chronic headaches, persistent migraines, as well as a host of other debilitating conditions. And believe it or not, use of AlphaStim also simultaneously encourages the restoration of normal sleep patterns which are necessary for the correction of chronic pain. By using Alpha-Stim as part of a comprehensive plan for chronic pain management, a suffering patient may finally be able to live a more productive and less painful lifestyle.
If you are suffering, or someone you love is, know that AlphaStim technology is just one of many things that HCC can potentially offer you in your effort to find lasting pain relief. Contact us today at Headache Center of Chicago in Westmont, IL for more information.