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Anti-inflammatory Effects of Electronic Signal Treatment

By Odell, Robert H., MD, PhD, and Sorgnard, Richard E. PhD (2008). Pain Physician, 11:891-907 Las Vegas.

Summary: We postulate that pharmaceuticals have a tendency to overwhelm biosystems, a very unnatural progression as evidenced by the side effect profiles. EST works through biosystems and their controls. We have presented multiple mechanisms, most documented and one postulated, which demonstrate initial facilitation and then quick resolution of the inflammatory process to prevent it from leading to chronic inflammation and chronic pain. While complex, all concepts above fit together when taken into the context of signaling cAMP; however, the basic signaling mechanism could easily be the oscillo/torsional ionic action on cyclic AMP. Through this and the other mechanisms discussed, cellular derangements are returned to normal in optimum physiological time. 

A paradigm shift in our approach should begin soon. Many patients in chronic pain are simply being under treated for various reasons. Narcotic medications are being diverted in increasing numbers. Most importantly, a recent study on adverse drug events based on the FDA voluntary reporting system has found the death rate has increased out of proportion to the increase in the number of prescriptions written, and the greatest culprits are pain medications and immune modulating drugs. The authors emphasized that these findings “show that the existing system is not adequately protecting patients and underscores the importance of recent reports urging far-reaching legislative, policy and institutional changes.” One purpose of this paper is to get the pain management physician to start to think about modifying the therapeutic approach, which might begin by emphasizing the physics approach as well as the pharmacological approach. 

The following from Potter and Funk, written in 1917, still apply: “Success in electrotherapeutics depends on an adequate knowledge of physiology and pathology as related to the human body; on a mastery of the laws that govern electricity [physics]; on the possession of efficient apparatus, the achievement of good technique by practice and the good judgment to apply all these requirements … Electrotherapeutics is not a system to be used to the exclusion of other therapeutic measures, but is a worthy addition to any physician’s armamentarium …”  

Conclusion: While we believe additional studies involving the treatment of inflammatory processes with EST are important, there appears to be enough evidence to encourage the primary or adjuvant use of EST for inflammatory conditions and for the potential replacement of chemical steroids. EST and the evidence presented have placed us on a threshold of discovery; it is time to apply this knowledge in the clinical setting. The alternative role of EST will depend on the outcomes of well-conducted clinical trials which utilize this reasonable and safe approach.