Cryotherapy for Arthritis
September 3, 2012 by Julia.
A new type of arthritis therapy has recently been approved in the United Kingdom. A type of 'pen' that uses super-cold temperatures to stop pain signals could provide relief for thousands of arthritis patients. The handheld device contains a tiny needle-like tip that is cooled to minus 20c — this is inserted just a few millimetres under the skin against a nerve. The theory is that the cold temperature makes nerves 'hibernate' so that the pain signals are blocked.
Cryotherapy for Arthritis
The new gadget — which is the size and shape of a pen — could also work for a wide range of conditions, say the manufacturers, including headaches, arthritis, facial pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. The therapy can be repeated continually in a GP surgery or pain clinic. Cold temperatures are increasingly being employed by doctors to treat a range of pain conditions.
The treatment is called cryotherapy, and is thought to work by blocking the ability of nerve fibres to transport signals. The conduction of signals along our nerves involves the coordination of a number of complex chemical reactions. It's thought that cold temperatures can slow the rate of these reactions, and lead the nerves to become 'quiet' and stop sending signals. This is partly why our hands and feet go numb in cold temperatures (the cold also causes blood vessels in the extremities to shrink, further adding to the numb sensation).
The cryotherapy pen uses cold liquid nitrogen to chill the tip. When the pen is switched on, the cold liquid inside the device is put under high pressure, which causes it to turn into a super-cold gas. This gas then cools the metal tip. A doctor places the tip — which is the same thickness as a needle — into the patient's skin, which cools the surrounding tissue in a matter of seconds. Sensors in the device monitor the temperature of the skin throughout the treatment, to ensure the tip is cold enough to send the nerves into 'hibernation', but not so cold that it could damage the tissue.
Each treatment session takes around 30 to 45 minutes. It can be repeated as often as required, and the researchers say that the effects last for differing times depending upon the condition that is being treated. Clinical trials are still ongoing, but early data from more than 100 patients already shows that the system can be effective. As well as investigating its use for pain disorders, researchers are also looking into whether the device could work on nerves that control movement. They hope that this will enable it to be used for conditions that cause upper limb spasticity such as stroke, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's. These disorders cause nerve damage, which triggers uncontrolled muscle activity such as clenching, twitching or spasm.
The cold pen has the potential to deactivate the malfunctioning nerves and block the uncontrolled muscle activity. Clint Carnell, chief executive of U.S.-based Myoscience, which developed the device, said: 'We currently have studies looking at its effectiveness for pain and for movement disorders and if all goes well we would hope to launch in the UK in 2013.'
Until the cryotherapy pen is approved around the world, arthritis sufferers, especially those with gout, should ask their doctors about colchicine 0.6mg, a gout treatment that has been available for hundreds of years. Although it is made from a relatively common plant, the autumn crocus, it could be extremely costly at your local pharmacy. International and Canadian pharmacies with different health care plans are able to offer colchicine for significantly less that can be found at your local pharmacy.
Filed under: Cochicine 0.6 mg, Cochicine Canada, Colchicine Use, Alternative Gout Treatment.
Tags: colchicine 0.6mg, canadian pharmacy, cryotherapy, canadian pharmacies, pain relief.
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