Painkillers are notorious for side effects, but if a new type of wearables lives up to its promises, they may not be required.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now given the nod to a company called Neurometrix, which has developed a type of wearable technology that can assist in the reduction of pain levels among people with any of a range of different conditions.
The idea is to provide an alternative to having to take prescription painkillers, which come with several potential problems.
The wearable technology in question is called “Quell”. It is a type of sports band that is washable and that contains a small therapy pod that is powered by a slim lithium battery. The pod is slipped into a pocket in the washable band which is worn on the user’s calf area. By wearing it there, the device is meant to relieve pain all over the body. According to the Neurometrix senior vice president, Frank McGillin, “It basically stimulates sensory nerves in your leg which triggers the release of endogenous opioids, and those are the body’s natural pain relievers. They block pain throughout the body.”
Essentially, this wearable technology encourages the body to send out its own natural pain relief.
It works by manipulating the central nervous system so that it will signal to the body that it needs to provide its own pain relief, where required. McGillin explained that it is being used by people with many different types of pain causing conditions, including fibromyalgia, nerve pain, diabetic neuropathy, arthritis, lower back pain, and sciatica. He stated that “Chronic pain is really an epidemic. One hundred million Americans are suffering from some sort of chronic pain.”
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This leads many people to take over the counter or even prescription medications, just to be able to continue to go about their daily lives. Now, some doctors are recommending Quell to their patients, just to see if it can work as an alternative, as painkillers are typically meant for short term use and can lead to additional health problems if they are used over time.
The wearable technology product is meant to be used as a replacement for NSAIDS (such as ibuprofen) as well as stronger painkillers such as prescription narcotics (such as oxycodone).