Pain Relief Machines – a Full Guide for Chronic Pain Treatment

Chronic pain is becoming more and more widespread, due to different factors such as environmental factors and aging populations.

Chronic pain is pain that lingers for months and even years. When pain lasts for 3 to 6 months or more, it’s defined as chronic pain. Symptoms range from a dull ache to shooting pain. Suffering chronic pain means hurting every day, and this can take a toll on every person.

Chronic pain management techniques

Treatments for chronic pain depend on the severity of the pain, the underlying cause, and the location of the pain.

Efficient chronic pain treatment techniques can be divided into general categories including self-care, exercises, various therapies, medications, and the interventional techniques. It’s not necessary to choose only one treatment option, and a combination of different treatments may prove to be the best option.

The pain relief technologies described below fall into the self-care category that is so crucial in chronic pain management. There are other forms of self-care, starting with the most basic one: rest. Exercises are another form of self-care that can both alleviate symptoms and keep you healthy. Chronic pain management therapies include physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), relaxation techniques and others. Prescription and nonprescription drugs can help in chronic pain treatment when needed, and interventional techniques such as injections and surgery are recommended in severe cases only.

Pain Relief Technologies

Here’s a guide to 5 major pain relief technologies offered today for chronic pain treatment. All 5 chronic pain relief technologies are 100% drug-free, non-invasive and non-surgical solutions to apply daily using portable, practical devices. These noninvasive pain management devices usually use electrodes in the form of pads to connect to the skin or of conductive gel. All 5 technologies are available for use in the comfort of your home and sometimes on-the-go, for self-care and pain management. It is always advised to read instructions and warnings carefully and consult before use, especially if you have any medical conditions.

Solio Alfa Plus device

(1) E-Stim

What is e-stim?

Electrical stimulation, often referred to as E-stim, is a technology that sends mild electrical pulses through the skin to target nerves or muscles. These electrical pulses help stimulate nerves with the purpose of relieving pain, possibly because they block the transmission of pain signals from nerves to the spinal cord and the brain.

Uses and benefits of e-stim devices

Electrical stimulation technology has been used for pain management for decades, and it has been found to have potential benefits in the management of various painful conditions causing nerve and muscoloskeletal pain.

The electrical pulses also stimulate injured muscles for purposes other than pain relief. When targeted muscles are stimulated, they contract repeatedly, and this may be helpful in enhancing muscle recovery and strength.

Electrical stimulators are small electronic devices used externally by the patient. In electronic pain relief devices, electrical pulses are delivered through wires that connect the e-stim unit to electrodes placed on the skin and from there into the body. The impulses can vary in intensity, frequency and duration, depending on the treated area, the device, and the patient’s tolerance.

The two main types of e-stim are transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and electrical muscle stimulation (EMS). There are also other types of e-stim for noninvasive chronic pain relief that may be beneficial depending on your condition.
We focus on TENS, as the TENS technology is aimed at chronic pain treatment.

E-sim FAQ

What does e-stim treat?

E-stim may be appropriate for the following pain relief:

  • Acute pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Back pain
  • Joint pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Post-surgical pain
  • Muscle injury from trauma or disease
  • Nerve inflammation
  • Fibromyalgia

What to expect during e-stim therapy?

  • Electrodes are placed around the site of pain
  • Electrical current begins to transmit pulses, starting on low setting and increased gradually
  • You will feel the electrical pulses as “pins and needles” or tingling on site
  • Muscles may twitch or contract in response to the electrical stimulation
  • E-stim therapy sessions usually lasts 5 to 15 minutes

What are the risks of e-stim?

E-stim is generally safe, but it does involve risk to heart health. E-stim is not recommended and may even be dangerous for people with a pacemaker or other implantable heart device. It is also not recommended for pregnant women or people with epilepsy.

Skin irritation may occur where the electrodes are placed. Also, e-stim electrodes should not be placed over the eyes and on the front of the neck or directly over the spinal column. In addition, they should not be placed in situations such as broken skin or over a tumor.

(2) TENS devices

What is TENS?

TENS, Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, is a treatment that administers mild electrical current to the skin to create nerve stimulation and trigger pain relief response. The electric current is produced by a TENS pain relief machine and delivered to the body through electrode pads attached to the skin around or near the area to be treated for pain. The electrical impulses reduce the body’s ability to transmit pain signals, and they also stimulate the body to produce endorphins that act like natural pain relievers.

TENS machine uses

TENS devices may help with the following symptoms of chronic pain: chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, and chronic joint pain.

They may also alleviate the pain that results from various conditions such as period pain, sports injuries, post-surgical pain, arthritis, endometriosis, and other conditions.

While the use of TENS has proved effective in clinical studies, there is a lack of conclusive scientific studies and clinical trials, and there is controversy over which conditions the TENS device should be used to treat. A few studies have shown objective evidence that TENS may modulate or suppress pain signals in the brain. This may be dependent on several factors, such as the painful body part.

As they stimulate nerves, most TENS devices can modulate intensity, frequency, and duration to administer an appropriate level of pain relief depending on the painful area, the device, and the patient’s tolerance.

Intensity: The TENS technology requires an adequate intensity of stimulation to achieve pain relief. The intensity can be set by the user.

Frequency: Frequency refers to the number of electrical pulses per second. TENS is usually applied at high-frequency (more than 50 Hz) for acute pain, and at low-frequency (up to 10 Hz) for chronic pain.

Duration: The duration is the amount of time that the electric current enters the skin.

There seem to be more positive results for chronic pain treatment when complying with clinical advice of intensity of sensations, frequency, and duration of treatment.

Duration of pain relief

Pain relief experienced during the use of TENS device and after can vary. Some TENS device users experience relief only when the device is on, while others continue to experience pain relief for up to 24 hours after using the device.

TENS machine for back pain

To treat back pain with TENS machine, the placement of the electrodes is crucial. Electrodes should be placed on the skin over an area of pain in the back. Doing this should result in electrical impulses that travel along nerve fibers and create a tingling sensation. This should not hurt. Pain relief is usually experienced during use, and in some cases may still be felt after it.

Before using TENS machine for back pain consult with your doctor and make sure it’s right for you. This is especially true for people with pacemaker, heart problem, epilepsy or pregnant women.

Benefits of TENS device

TENS devices are painless and noninvasive. Pain relief is the major benefit of TENS pain relief devices, which may enable users to reduce their intake of pain medications and improve their quality of life.

Easy-to-use and portable, they can offer pain relief almost anytime, anywhere.

Safety and side effects
TENS units are generally safe and have no side effects. However, the electric pulses produced by the TENS device may cause an uncomfortable sensation on the skin. Some people may also experience skin irritation from the adhesive pads and may find that hypoallergenic pads are better for them.
There are several locations where TENS should not be used, especially over the eyes and on the front of the neck. It should also not be placed directly over the spinal column, or through the chest (positioning the electrodes in anterior and posterior locations). Also, normally TENS devices should not be used internally, on broken skin, or over a tumor.

Specific groups of people should avoid TENS treatment as a result of having a special medical condition unless advised by a doctor:

  • People with heart problems
  • People with a cardiac pacemaker or implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs)
  • People with epilepsy
  • Pregnant women

TENS devices

Different companies specialize in TENS devices. Quell device, for example, is a wearable TENS device. Quell is designed to treat chronic pain. It uses electrical pulses and claims to be 3 times more powerful than typical TENS devices. It is designed to stay on your body day and night, even in your sleep, usually running one hour on, one hour off as long as you wear it.

Another example is Nursal TENS unit electronic pain relief massager, with different massage modes and levels of strength, for chronic pain relief. HealthmateForever is FDA-cleared and offers different versions of electrotherapy for topical pain management. 

TENS FAQ

What does TENS treat?

TENS may be appropriate for the following pain relief:

  • Chronic pain
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Joint pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Post-surgical pain
  • Period pain
  • Nerve inflammation
  • Fibromyalgia

What to expect during TENS therapy?

For home use devices, prepare the device according to instructions.

  • Place electrodes around the site of pain
  • Turn the unit on
  • Electrical current begins to transmit pulses. Start on a low setting and change intensity to be strong but comfortable
  • You should feel the electrical pulses as “pins and needles” or tingling on site
  • Muscles may twitch or contract in response to the electrical stimulation
  • Session length varies depending on the device. For example, HealthmateForever units suggest 30 minutes therapy sessions, 2-3 times daily for acute pain relief of more for chronic pain relief.

What are the risks of TENS?

TENS technology is generally safe, but it does involve risk to heart health. TENS is not recommended and may even be dangerous for people with a pacemaker or other implantable heart device. It is also not recommended for pregnant women or people with epilepsy.

Skin irritation may occur where the electrodes are placed.

Young beautiful latin hispanic woman in painful expression suffering stomach cramps and menstrual period pain

(3) RF Devices

What is RF?

RF, radiofrequency, involves the application of alternating pulses of electrical current produced by a radio wave in the suggested frequency range of 20 kHz to 300 GHz (different sources specify different range). This is a low-energy, high-frequency alternating current that heats up a small area of nerve tissue, decreasing pain signals from that area.

In medical settings, RF procedures are described as the application of RF electrical signals to neural tissue with RF electrodes inserted into the tissue and RF administered directly to the roots of the nerves which are responsible for sending pain signals, sometimes involving needles that penetrate into the body to reach specific nerve cells. This is an invasive procedure, usually done with X-ray to monitor the location and verify that the needle is located safely before radiofrequency currenct can be applied.

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive medical procedure to ablate nerves in order to essentially stop the transmission of pain signals to the brain. It is usually performed in an outpatient setting, by a specialist using anesthetics. It is effective in many cases, offering pain relief.

Continuous RF (CRF)

In CRF, alternating RF current is applied to a target nerve using a needle electrode. The goal is to apply the current for sufficient time to cause coagulation, or a thermal lesion, less painful, although the mechanism for its effectiveness is unclear. Diagnosis is very important since pulsed RF seems to be ineffective in some conditions.

Non-invasive RF

Home devices are noninvasive and RF is administered by a device placed on the skin with the help of conductive gel.

Read more on What is Radiofrequency Pain Treatment?

Uses of RF device

RF devices may help with the following symptoms of chronic pain: chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, and chronic Joint pain from arthritis.

Radiofrequency (RF) energy, in the form of radiating waves or electrical currents, has been used in medical treatments for many decades. However, peer-reviewed publications regarding the efficacy and mechanisms of RF are now starting to appear. There are a number of medical applications of RF, such as diathermy, a therapeutic treatment most commonly prescribed for muscle and joint conditions, and even magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Benefits of RF device

Pain relief is the major benefit of RF chronic pain devices, alongside healing acceleration and muscle relaxation. This often enables users to reduce their intake of pain medications and improves their quality of life.

Best pain relief devices using RF technology that used to be available only in medical settings, are now portable and can be used almost anytime, anywhere.

Safety and side effects
RF pain relief devices are generally safe and have no side effects. Applying RF to the body often does not involve any pain or muscular contraction. However, it’s important to be careful not to get superficial burns called RF burns.
In addition, be careful if you have a cardiac pacemaker or other active implants.

RF Devices

RF technology for pain management, which was not previously available for home use, is now part of new devices for chronic pain relief.
Solio Alfa Plus uses bi-polar radiofrequency deep penetration technology that reaches the muscles and joints and increases blood circulation to cure the pain. It is the first pain management device that treats pain using RF+IR+LLLT technologies for maximum benefits. In fact, Solio Alfa Plus is the only FDA-cleared home-use device featuring the patented synergy of 3 energy sources to gain pain relief and help the body heal itself.

Radiofrequency FAQ

What does RF treat?

RF is used to treat many conditions, such as the following:

  • Chronic pain
  • Low back pain (such as from lumber facet joints, the sacroiliac joint, the intervertebral discs)
  • Neck pain
  • Joint pain (such as thoracic)
  • Knee pain
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Chronic post-surgical pain
  • Cancer pain

What to expect during RF therapy?

For home use devices, prepare the device according to instructions.

  • Plug the device into electrical outlet and turn it on
  • Apply slider gel to the treatment area
  • Place device on site of pain
  • Warmth is emitted from the device if used in RF mode
  • Session length varies depending on the device. Solio Alfa Plus requires 15-20 minutes per sessions.

What are the risks of RF pain relief devices?

There are no known risks associated with noninvasive RF pain relief devices for home use.

Pain relief - elbow treatment

(4) IR Devices

What is IR?

IR, infrared light therapy, is a treatment that uses certain wavelengths of light delivered to the skin to trigger pain relief response to sites of the body. Infrared light cannot be seen by the eye, yet it penetrates into the body to offer pain relief. Unlike ultraviolet light which may be harmful, infrared light is the heat that we feel when exposed to the sun, and it helps cells regenerate or repair themselves. IR light is produced by a pain relief machine.

Uses of IR device

IR devices may help with the following symptoms of chronic pain: chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic joint pain from arthritis, temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ), and chronic tendonitis.

Infrared light therapy is applied in the treatment of various health conditions, including trauma, muscle pain, joint inflammation, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, diabetic neuropathy, injuries, wounds, and post-surgical incisions.

Benefits of IR device

IR is a natural, non-invasive, and painless technology that offers various health benefits, from pain relief to reduced inflammation.
Infrared light penetrates into the skin and improves the circulation of oxygen-rich blood in the body, promoting faster healing of deep tissues and relieving pain.

Safety and side effects
Infrared therapy is a safe and effective pain relief technology, without adverse side effects. As a matter of fact, infrared light is safe and is used even for infants.

IR Devices

IR devices are offered for home use. Best home use devices offer clinically effective light therapy delivered consistently to maximize pain relief.

The LumiWave® Infrared Light Therapy Device was FDA cleared for temporary relief of minor muscle pain and spasms and minor joint pain and stiffness, such as resulting from strains and sprains, as well as the first clearance for the treatment of arthritis for an infrared therapy device.

Solio Alfa Plus pain relief device uses also Infra-Red (IR) and red spectrum for treating skin pain and stiffness, in synergy with RF energy and LLLT energy. Infrared has invisible wavelengths that we feel as heat and can penetrate into the body, while similar red light is part of the visible spectrum.

Another company to use red spectrum is Joovy. Joovy is a manufacturer of personal, in-home red-light therapy devices, which come in different sizes, setup options, and wavelengths. Joovy offers models for specific areas in the body as well as larger models that are full body.

Some clinical studies demonstrate the pain relieving benefits of red-light therapy. But remember, wavelength and intensity are incredibly important. Make sure you choose a device with the correct wavelength and optimal amount of power.

IR FAQ

What does IR treat?

IR may be appropriate for the following pain relief:

  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic back pain
  • Chronic neck pain
  • Chronic joint pain
  • Arthritis
  • Post-surgical incisions
  • Trauma pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Sciatica
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

What to expect during IR therapy?

IR and red-light therapy are treatments in which you expose your skin to a device or a laser. For home use devices, prepare the device according to instructions.

  • Plug in
  • Place unit over site of pain
  • Select treatment mode (this may refer to intensity of treatment and/or the types of light therapy applied)
  • Session length varies depending on the device. 

What are the risks of IR devices?

IR is generally safe, with no known risks and side effects.

Chronic pain relief

(5) LLLT Devices

What is LLLT?

LLLT, Low-Level Laser Therapy, is a treatment that administers low power laser or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) beams of light to the surface of the body to relieve pain, as well as stimulate and enhance cell function.

LLLT is known in many names, including:

  • Cold laser therapy
  • Low-power laser therapy (LPLT)
  • Soft laser therapy
  • Soft laser biostimulation
  • Low-intensity laser therapy
  • Therapeutic laser
  • Photobiomodulation
  • Monochromatic infrared light therapy (MIRE) technology

Uses of LLLT device

Light affects cellular function, and this is used at specific wavelengths and the right intensity in LLLT pain management medical devices.

There is no consensus over LLLT validity, but there are studies that suggest it may be effective in relieving pain for different conditions, including low back pain, chronic neck pain, acute neck pain and more.

LLLT devices may help with the following symptoms of chronic pain:

  • Nonspecific chronic back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Musculoskeletal pain

LLLT may also be helpful for pain relief for muscle pain, injuries and joints, and useful in the short-term treatment of pain caused by various conditions such as chronic joints conditions like osteoarthritis and tendinopathy. These devices were said to be useful in the treatment of other musculoskeletal conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. Other applications such as post-operative pain may also be used.

Benefits of LLLT device
LLLT devices may help with pain management, but there is no clinical support regarding their long-term outcomes.

Safety and side effects
The wavelengths used by LLLT devices are within the normal visible spectrum of light, but with no harmful UV rays.
The range of wavelengths, also known as the “therapeutic window” of light therapy, needs to be effective but not too powerful. Therefore, it is advised to use a high-quality therapy device that delivers optimal power with proven wavelengths.

Nevertheless, LLLT should be avoided on the eyes and thyroid and consulted before use if you have any medical conditions.

Solio Technology 1 Solio Technology 2 Solio Technology

LLLT devices
Different companies specialize in LLLT devices.

Solio Alfa Plus utilizes LLLT light energy to treat muscle spasms and work with deeper RF energy to treat pain at its source.

B-cure uses LLLT to treat the pain and its source, helping with chronic pain relief even when used for a few minutes, twice a day. According to B-cure, it has “clinically proven efficacy for treating pain”, as well as other conditions such as inflammation and sports injuries.

LLLT FAQ

What does LLLT treat?

LLLT may be appropriate for the following pain relief:

  • Chronic pain
  • Low back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Joint pain
  • Sports injuries

LLLT may also be useful in short-term pain relief for:

  • Musculoskeletal conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Post-surgical pain
  • Chronic joints conditions

What to expect during LLLT therapy?

For home use devices, prepare the device according to instructions.

  • Place the unit on site of pain
  • Turn the unit on
  • Session length varies depending on the device. 

What are the risks of LLLT devices?

LLLT is safe, with no known risks. However, it should be avoided on the eyes and thyroid.

* * *

Chronic pain is more prevalent in some areas of the body than others. Now that we know more about in-home pain relief technologies, let’s take a look at two especially common areas of chronic pain, back pain, and knee pain, where chronic pain relief devices are often used successfully.

(1) Chronic back pain relief devices

Lower back pain is one of the main causes of pain and disability in everyday life. Most instances of back pain subside after a few days, but many others suffer chronic back pain, defined as pain that lasts for 3-6 months or more.

Signs for back pain can include pain that worsens with activities such as walking and bending, and improves with reclining. Pain symptoms can include shooting pain, muscle ache, and pain that radiates down the leg.

Common causes for lower back pain include nerve injury, muscle injury, injury to ligaments and tendons, or injury to spinal vertebrae. These can be the result of various causes such as wear and tear, long hours of seating, the sciatic nerve and many more.

Different chronic pain relief treatments are available for chronic low back pain, depending on the cause and intensity of the pain. There are medications and
injections, physical therapy, stretching, massages, and chronic pain relief devices.

Upper back pain relief treatment

Home-use devices offer significant pain relief benefits for chronic back pain, such as the following 4 leading devices:

  1. Quell TENS device. In a study conducted by Quell in 2016, results show the fixed-site TENS (FS-TENS) is an effective option for treating chronic low back pain and lower extremity pain.
  2. Nursal TENS device. This electronic pain relief device claims to benefit people with back pain thanks to its relaxation and tension release properties.
  3. LumiWave IR pain relief device. LumiWave helps with back pain relief in cases of muscle strain and disk degeneration.
  4. Solio Alfa Plus. Solio is an FDA cleared home-use device, the first pain management device that treats pain using Radio Frequency (RF) + Infrared (IR) technologies and Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT). The synergy of three different energy sources works to eliminate pain by treating its source, increasing circulation and accelerating the healing process. The optimal healing environment also helps to reduce inflammation, muscle aches, and stiffness.

(2) Chronic knee pain relief devices

Knee pain is one of the most common types of pain, and affects people of all ages.
Chronic knee pain can be the result of different knee problems. Knee injuries may cause tears in ligaments or cartilage. Medical conditions, including arthritis, meniscus, tendonitis, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, can also cause chronic knee pain. Symptoms may vary and include swelling, stiffness, weakness, instability, and others.
Knee pain can be treated with rest, knee braces, and physical therapy. However, sometimes surgery is needed. Knee pain can also be alleviated with chronic pain relief devices.
Home-use devices offer significant pain relief benefits, such as the following 4 leading devices:

chronic knee pain relief treatment

  1. B-Cure laser therapy. The laser’s restorative power is provided by laser technology. B-Cure Laser is an effective mode of treatment that helps treat inflammation, reduce swelling, and provide laser pain relief.
  2. Tendlite® red light therapy device. Tendlite is used for pain relief for muscles and joints such as knees, but also fingers, ankles, and shoulders.
  3. Healthmateforever YK15AB TENS unit. Specifically designed mode buttons make pain management quick and easy. Apply 8 pads at the same time, and help your knee with a safe and effective solution to pain relief.
  4. Solio Alfa Plus. This pain relief device was developed in order to reduce chronic pain, including chronic knee pain. It uses specific wavelengths and bipolar RF to stimulate the body’s healing mechanisms and increase blood circulation, drawing oxygen and nutrients to the afflicted area. The deep heating creates an optimal healing environment that accelerates tissue regeneration and reduces inflammation, muscle aches, stiffness, and pain.

Home use pain relief devices also help with other body parts, such as foot pain relief devices, and neck pain relief devices.

Solio Alfa Plus
Solio Alfa Plus and its features: Bipolar RF and IR heat energies, skin temperature sensor and LED light energy

Conclusion

Chronic pain can interfere with your life. It can make you less active, damage your quality of sleep, and increase the risk of emotional difficulty and depression. Don’t just accept pain. Choose to alleviate it using one of the many options available today.
Solio Alfa Plus is a new device for chronic pain treatment, offering new pain relief technology for a wider variety of needs through the patented synergy of 3 energy sources, each directed at a different depth within the body, therefore generating more healing and pain relief processes.

Solio Alfa’s benefits:

  • FDA-cleared for pain relief
  • 100% natural – no drugs, no surgery
  • Non-invasive and painless
  • Safe and No side effects
  • Easy-to-use
  • Portable
  • Suitable for all ages