Relief for Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain brings more people to the doctor’s office than anything else except the common cold. Several kinds of treatments are available: traction, massage and even acupuncture. Now there’s a new procedure that combines the ancient tradition of acupuncture with modern day technology.

Running is good for Jerry’s heart, but the constant pounding has taken a toll on the rest of his 72-year-old body. “I had very severe buttock pain,” says Jerry. “It was intolerable.” Jerry’s problem? Two herniated discs and a narrowing spinal cord caused by running and age.

Instead of surgery, Jerry decided to let his doctor poke him with this hi-tech needle-gun. The battery-powered gadget shoots a needle directly into the irritated muscle — three times within two seconds. The quick jabs cause the tense muscle to twitch then relax.

When the muscle is contracting it’s being exercised, and it’s being stretched out. The spasm opens up, and then the tension in the muscle goes down. The pain goes down.

Doctors say this approach, called intramuscular stimulation, can ease nerve-related pain in the back or other parts of the body due to injury or aging.

Acupuncture, which isn’t as precise, did not help Jerry, but how about this? “I felt relieved. I felt looser. I felt more flexible,” says Jerry.

Previously the technique was done by hand, but that method takes twice as long and is more tiresome to both patient and doctor.

Jerry won’t be running any more marathons, but thanks to his monthly sessions as a human pincushion he now enjoys an easy workout.

The Philadelphia doctor that created the procedure hopes to teach other doctors how to use the needle-gun. The manual version, which has already been clinically proven to ease pain, is available in most parts of the country.

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