Could new tech help us learn more about chronic pain?

Many things can limit the ways in which medical conditions can be studied by researchers. One is lack of the technological capabilities necessary to perform certain types of studies. Thus, new technological developments can sometimes open up new ways to study a condition. 

Such an opening up is something that researchers at Stanford University hope will be triggered by a new device they are working to develop. 

The in-development device is aimed at being a wireless device that can help perform a light-related technique called optogenetics. The researchers hope the device, once developed, could allow for the performing of new sorts of studies aimed at looking at pain sensation transmission in mice. The hope is that these new types of studies could perhaps lead to a better understanding of pain and insights into better ways to treat chronic pain.

Finding improved ways to treat chronic pain is something that could have benefits for quite a few people.

Sadly, there are many people here in the U.S. who have chronic pain. While there are several treatment options that are available for chronic pain sufferers at present, there are certain reasons why the current treatment options are not ideal.

One is that they sometimes are not terribly effective at actually being able to help chronic pain sufferers manage their pain in a substantial way. Many chronic pain sufferers, even with treatment, have a great amount of difficulty keeping their pain under control.

The other is that some of the treatments have the potential to expose individuals to negative effects. For example, many pain medications carry a risk of addiction with them.

Thus, many chronic pain sufferers are not able to get the sort of normalcy they would want in their life through current treatments.

Among the implications chronic pain can have on a person is that it sometimes makes it so they can’t work. Thus, chronic pain conditions are among the conditions individuals sometimes apply for Social Security disability benefits over. The process of applying for SSD benefits in relation to chronic pain conditions often has many complexities, so chronic pain sufferers may want to seek out the help of an attorney if they are considering applying.

Source: Stanford University, “Miniature wireless device being developed by Stanford Bio-X team creates better way of studying chronic pain,” Amy Adams, Oct. 7, 2014