Traumatic brain injury and full body reflex sympathetic dystrophy patient treated with cranial electrotherapy stimulation

Alpher, J. & Kirsch, D.L. Traumatic brain injury and full body reflex sympathetic dystrophy patient treated with cranial electrotherapy stimulation. American Journal of Pain Management. 1998; 8(4): 124-128.

Funding Source, Location of Study or Author’s Affiliation
National Rehabilitation Hospital in Bethesda, MD.

Device
Alpha-Stim® 100

Key Variables
Pain

Objective
This study was case report on a single patient with reflex sympathetic dystrophy treated with Alpha-Stim cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES).

Design
This is a case report of a single patient.

Primary Outcome Measure
Numbness in left arm.

Secondary Outcome Measure
Additional quality of life measures including:

  • Memory loss.
  • Neck pain.
  • Limited speech and increased stuttering.
  • Impaired thinking, perceiving, dizziness, and progressive decreases in concentration and attention.

Key Inclusion Criteria
Patient’s prior diagnosis by board certified neurologist:

  • Intracranial closed TB with post-concussion syndrome
  • A 95% loss of vision in his left eye due to damage to the greater ocular nerve.
  • Approximately 45% whole-body permanently impaired.

Key Exclusion Criteria
None reported.

Protocol Summary
The patient was referred from the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Bethesda, MD to the Metropolitan Area Craniofacial Pain Center in Washington, DC for dentistry and treatment of TMD. He used Alpha-Stim CES to overcome his anxiety for dental procedures. CES helped with his anxiety but also significantly enhanced his pain threshold. Subsequently, he was prescribed daily 20-minute treatments.

Device Application Protocol
The device was used according to manufacturers’ instructions, and he was treated 20 minutes daily with Alpha-Stim CES.

Statistical Analysis Plan
Single case study, no statistical analysis performed.

Results

Subjects
A 60-vear-old male with an intracranial traumatic brain injury (TB) and full body reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD).

Data Analysis
After initiation of the treatment the patient returned to work and improved his family and social life. The patient estimated his treatment provided him a moderate improvement of 50-74% relief from his pain, anxiety, depression, headaches, and muscle tension and marked improvement (75-99%) from insomnia. He was also able to eliminate the need for morphine and fentanyl patches. His other medications were reduced.

Conclusion
CES proved to be an effective treatment for symptoms associated with intracranial TBI and full body reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) in this 60-year-old male patient. The treatment provided satisfactory pain relief allowing him to improve his quality of life greatly. He was also able to reduce his medications. CES is worthy of therapeutic consideration in such cases.

Limitations
Small sample size, and self-selecting study subject.

Study Quality: FAIR