NEW FEATURE: VOTE & EARN NEATOPOINTS!
Submit your own Neatorama post and vote for others' posts to earn NeatoPoints that you can redeem for T-shirts, hoodies and more over at the NeatoShop!


This Invention Could End Menstrual Cramps

The inventors of Livia call it "the off switch for menstrual pain."

The system consists of a small box that clips onto a belt or fits inside a pocket, as well as gel pads that contain two electrodes. These send electrical pulses into the body that block pain receptors. The Times of Israel explains:

[...] Livia transmits a pulse that keeps the nerves “busy,” so that pain messages that should be accepted by nerve receptors and transmitted to the brain — which concludes that a woman is in pain — aren’t. With those messages lost in transmission, there is no feeling of pain.

Does it work? Last month, Chelsea Frisbie of Mashable tried Livia. She says that it reduced her pain:

I didn't feel that much of a difference when I placed the Livia pads on my lower abdomen, because that's not where I get cramps. Where I do have cramps would turn this device into more of a Brazilian wax machine than a cramp-stopper, due to the gel pads.

I do have some pretty gnarly lower back pain nearly all of the time, but during my period it gets more intense — as in, bring-a-heating-pad-to-work-intense.

While wearing the device, I will say my back felt much better. I found myself wearing it all day, and even after my week was up because of how much better it made my back feel.

-via Debby Witt


Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

While some significant fraction of current tends to shunt through the skin and has trouble getting through fat, the rest spreads out quite a bit and it is not difficult to get quite a spread of current, and at that point the muscles and other tissue would be getting comparable ( I.e. within an order of magnitude due to conductivity, not so much depth) current density. The problem I see is there seems to be little agreement on how much current density is needed to stimulate the nerves for effects, with arguments being made from microamps over a large volume to milliamps over a small volume, and other researchers arguing it doesn't work at all for pain relief. If the higher current densities are needed in general, then you would have muscle contraction problems with just about any transdermal nerve stimulation.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
You're right, devices with the TENS configuration can be purchased for individual use, and many doctors prescribe them for pain relief, but they are a specific form of e-stim (electrical stimulation). The more powerful devices that elicit a muscle contraction are more expensive, and are discouraged for personal use because if used incorrectly, they can cause burns, affect the heart contractility, or negatively interact with electronic implants.
I'm a physical therapist who is trained in the use of these devices, and I overgeneralized a bit so I could get to my main point; it is impossible for the Livia to have any affect on uterine nerves for pain relief. To have enough current to affect visceral tissues, you need to penetrate all the surface tissues. TENS is a waveform/frequency protocol that is designed to work at a higher intensity without eliciting a contraction, but it would still cause painful abdominal muscle contractions if the intensity were high enough to penetrate to uterine sensory nerves.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Electrical muscle stimulation and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation are different devices, with the latter often (but not always) designed specifically to not trigger muscle contractions through a combination of intensity and timing (e.g. pulsing rate). In principle a device could be made that does both, but cheap ones are probably going to not be flexible enough. And there is no problem getting deep penetration of electrical currents with the right placement of the electrodes.

That said, research I've seen finds that while TENS can relieve pain, it doesn't do so significantly more so than placebo in many cases. There is also an alphabet soup of other variations and medical uses of electrical stimulation that makes it difficult to keep up on.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
They are charging $85 for an e-stim device that you can easily purchase for between $25-$35 on amazon. In addition, there is no way that a device that small could generate enough electrical current to affect the deep nerves and visceral muscles of the uterus. And, even if it could, all of your abdominal muscles would be in constant painful spasm because there is no way to target deep muscles with e-stim without affecting all the surface muscles. It's a scam.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.




Email This Post to a Friend
"This Invention Could End Menstrual Cramps"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.

 

Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
 
Learn More