Nerve Pain, Sciatica and Neuropathies
Nerve pain is often reported to be an incredibly unpleasant sensation, which is commonly described as “burning”, “shooting” or “electric-shock” like in nature. It is often, but not always, accompanied with numbness, pins and needles, or other unusual sensations in the affected area, and it is notoriously difficult to treat.
How is it currently managed?
Medications such as amitriptyline (an anti-depressant), pregabalin or gabapentin (anti-epileptics) are commonly prescribed for nerve pain, and although they are effective for some, they often come with very unpleasant and serious side-effects. Finding a way to manage nerve related pain without becoming dependent on these medications, therefore, would be ideal – however so far this has proven difficult to achieve.
A new approach
Several studies have looked at the effect of Magnetic Shockwave Therapy (MST) on nerve pain at various sites in the body, and the results look very promising. A 2014 study found an average pain reduction of 84% in patients with nerve entrapments after only 3 or 4 sessions of treatment. Similar results were found in a 2012 paper that compared MST with a sham stimulation, alongside physiotherapy and exercise, which showed a significant improvement in both pain and strength of the affected arm – findings that were not found in the group that received a fake stimulation treatment.
More recently, a group of researchers in 2021 tested the effectiveness of MST on Lumbar radiculopathy – commonly referred to as Sciatica. In this study, one group had MST on its own, while the other had MST combined with exercise therapy. The results showed that both groups had significant improvements in pain and functional ability, although the effect was stronger in the group that also had the exercises. At RTMS London we can work with you to build a bespoke exercise plan which will complement the effect of the MST treatment, if that is something that you would be interested in.
How does it work?
Unlike electrical stimulation therapies such as TENS, MST does not work through electrodes on the skin. The magnetic field generated by MST is therefore able to penetrate deeper into the body, stimulating the nerves directly. This causes a twitch in the muscle, as well as sending a huge signal up to the brain. This is believed to reduce pain by desensitising the area, improving the connection between the brain and the nerve, as well as improving function by strengthening the muscles in the area.
Is it safe?
MST has an excellent safety record, with no side-effects for the vast majority of people. Occasionally people report the twitching sensation to be slightly uncomfortable, although for most it is completely pain free. Due to the gentle nature of the treatment, it can even be used in very sensitive areas such as the neck and shoulders, making it possible to target any of the most common sites of nerve entrapment.
The only people for whom MST is not suitable are those with epilepsy, or electrical/metal implants, as the magnetic properties of the treatment can interfere with these devices. One of our expert team will fully screen you before treatment to ensure that the therapy I appropriate for you.
For more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch
Get in touch