Chronic Pain is estimated to affect “more than 100 million Americans,” according to a 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM). I’m quite positive the number is higher 7 years later. The same report stated that chronic pain costs “around $600 billion a year in medical treatments and lost productivity.” Additionally, the number of Americans suffering from chronic pain on a daily basis has recently also been the main focus surrounding the media’s coverage of the “opioid epidemic.” While there’s still much to debate and understand about the actual cause(s) and contributors to our country’s epidemics of chronic pain and opioid abuse, it’s fairly clear that patients need alternative, non-drug options, and appropriate long-term help, both of which should be core components in any patient care and treatment program; however they are often not. Products such as AVACEN 100, provide both an FDA-approved medical device, that is also a drug-free alternative therapy. See AVACEN description below.
“A heat therapy system indicated for the temporary relief of minor muscle and joint pain and stiffness; the temporary relief of joint pain associated with arthritis; muscle spasms; minor strains and sprains; muscular relaxation; and the temporary increase of local circulation where applied.” Read more.
Growing up, chronic pain, in my view, was all about arthritis and intense growing pains – nothing more. I was clearly naive. I am now more than aware that chronic pain is arthritis, intense growing pains and so much more. There are also various types of chronic pain and many pain patients live with several types of chronic pain on a daily basis. Chronic pain is often defined “as any pain that lasts for 3 to 6 months or more.” (source) The causes of chronic pain are countless and varied from genetic conditions, acquired diseases, injuries, surgeries, nerve damage, migraines & other chronic headaches, arthritis, infections and more. Living with chronic pain is disruptive and debilitating. It can also have a tremendous impact on your mental health, which often propels the feedback cycle – often contributing or causing an increase in the severity of pain, types of pain experienced or duration of a pain flare. A few of the symptoms and “types” of chronic pain are listed below.
“Chronic pain can range from mild to severe. It can continue day after day or come and go. The pain can feel like:
- A dull ache
Read more here.
One aspect of chronic pain that researchers are beginning to understand more and more, is that nerve impulses and signals that your body sends to the brain when injured do not stop despite being “healed” – meaning the “I’m injured” signal never gets turned off. Unfortunately, because there are many causes of chronic pain and various types, inappropriate pain signaling is most likely one aspect of the chronic pain many of us have dealt with for years. Hypermobility-related disorders, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, are described as having both the issues with central sensitization and continuous re-injury due to the fragility and instability of the connective tissues all over the body. Advances in medical device technology offer alternative options to failed medications and surgeries. Specifically, the AVACEN 100 is a “noninvasive temporary arthritis pain relief and muscular relaxation using a single point of contact.”
About the AVACEN 100:
The AVACEN 100 is an FDA-cleared heat therapy device designed to provide noninvasive drug-free pain relief. AVACEN stands for Advanced Vascular Circulation Enhancement. The AVACEN website states that the “AVACEN Treatment Method (ATM) continues infusing heat into the circulatory system at normothermia. The result is: the body works to dissipate this unwanted infusion of heat by pumping warmed blood through deep tissue, to the heat exchange capillary network throughout the body. This increase in microvascular circulation results in significant benefits for arthritis and muscular relaxation.” Read more.
Research is showing that the AVACEN 100 may help in temporarily ease pain from:
- Minor muscle and joint pain and stiffness
- Muscle spasms and aid in muscle relaxation
- Sprains and strains
My Personal review of the AVACEN:
When I first received the AVACEN 100, I was a bit surprised by its size and was not sure exactly how it worked. Thankfully, the company sent plenty of instructions and there’s a ton of helpful information and videos on the AVACEN website. My hope was that by using the AVACEN 100 2x daily for 30 days, I would find relief from the inflammation and arthritis pain in my hands – helping with other systemic and inflammatory pain would be an added bonus.
To my surprise, using the AVACEN 100 was quite easy to use and it fit on the table next to my computer easily. I often sat it on the chair in my office (see pictures), because I often sit in on the floor to work. All supplies needed for each treatment were packaged with the device. After turning on the machine, I used one of the sanitary mittens and inserted my left hand into the device, placing it on the metal plate inside. I preferred to use my left hand at first, in order to have my right hand available for work or answering phone calls, if needed. Plus, I have 3 children and work from home – ease of use and productivity is critical when needing to sit still for any length of time.
After turning the device on, the vacuum sealed around my hand and part of my arm – somewhat like a blood pressure cuff but less constricting. It’s recommended that each treatment be approximately 15 minutes long, which was a bit challenging to do twice a day for 30 days; however, I was committed. Each treatment did provide a nice forced break to meditate, listen to my audiobook or answer a quick email in the middle of moving and end-of-school-year craziness. There were a few times I missed either a morning or evening treatment, but overall I was diligent and consistent with treatments.
After treatments, my hand(s) (I did also treat my right hand) were slightly puffy and red, which is not abnormal for me in general. I felt normal and did not have additional hand discomfort. Other users have shared various experiences, but overall I had little issues or residual symptoms from use. After my 30 day trial period, I felt less muscle, joint pain, and overall hand discomfort. Additionally, I feel that heat therapy devices such as AVACEN are some of the best and most effective alternative, self-care and pain management options currently available for anyone with chronic pain. In fact, while on vacation, I was bummed that I did not have the AVACEN to share with my father for the severe arthritis pain he’s been experiencing in a few of his fingers.
Product Information & Related Research:
- AVACEN Website
- Product Brochure
- User Guide (U.S.)
- ‘Effects of a 4-week AVACEN Treatment on Pain Perception in Fibromyalgia: An Open Label Study’ (2017)