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A buzzer for bad backs could help people with restless legs sleep better. Stimulators implanted in the lower back are being used to ease restless legs syndrome, a condition that affects up to one in 15 Britons and causes an overwhelming urge to move their legs.
This is often accompanied by a crawling or creeping sensation in the feet, calves and thighs.
Symptoms - Night - People - Bed - Awake
Symptoms are usually worse at night, making people feel restless in bed when awake and jerking their legs repeatedly while asleep. Although it can be a symptom of other conditions, including iron deficiency and diabetes, in many cases the cause is unknown.
Treatments include medication that raises levels of the brain chemical dopamine, which helps control movement, as well as anticonvulsants, muscle relaxants and sleeping tablets such as benzodiazepines. But they do not work for all and some carry a risk of dependence or addiction, so new options are needed. Now, a serendipitous discovery in the U.S. has led to a stimulator that is normally used to combat chronic pain being tested on restless legs.
Spinal - Cord - Stimulation - NHS - Pain
Spinal cord stimulation is used by the NHS to treat neuropathic pain, including some back pain, caused by injury to the nerves, rather than by damage to the other tissues, such as the joints and muscles. It involves implanting leads or electrodes next to the spinal cord in a one-hour operation under local anaesthetic. These are attached to a watch-size battery and generator implanted under the skin of the lower back during the procedure.
The leads are switched on and off by a remote control, creating a small electrical field designed to stimulate the nerves in the painful area.
Pain - Signals - Brain
This interferes with the pain signals, stopping them reaching the brain.
DoctorS at Iowa University implanted a stimulator in a 75-year-old man to treat his long-standing back pain. He’d also suffered...
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