APS Therapy for Pain in People with MS: Report on a Two Year Pilot Study
People with MS commonly suffer from both nociceptive and neuropathic pain, and the latter is often resistant to treatment, or hard to resolve due to the unwanted side effects of most of the appropriate drugs.
APS therapy sends simulated waves of action potentials through the cells of the body, replicating one of the main means of cellular communication, and stimulating the production and release of various hormones and neurotransmitters.
To explore the effects of APS therapy on pain experienced by people with MS.
A two year pilot study was carried out, using the micro-current electrotherapy device - Action Potential Simulation (APS) Therapy to treat pain in people with MS, at a multi-disciplinary MS therapy centre, Bedford, UK.
An 8 week course of therapy, 3 times a week was offered initially, and 60 people used APS therapy to treat 94 different pains.
Clinic staff used the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) to assess pain prior to starting treatment, weekly after starting treatment and at week 8.
During the second year, the BPI and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index were also adopted to record the impact of pain relief on quality of life and improvements of sleep.
Within 8 week periods, 47 people (78%) had significant reduction in pain. Of the 94 pains, 75 (80%) had a reduction of at least one point on the VAS for usual level of pain. 31 'usual pain' scores were reduced to pain free. The average reduction in points on the VAS was 3.04 for 'usual pain' and 4.87 for 'worst pain'.
33 people (57%) reduced or discontinued medications as a direct result of the effects of APS therapy and 33 people (57%) went onto long term maintenance therapy.
Many participants reported unexpected benefits of treatment, which impacted positively on their quality of life, including improvements in mobility and stiffness, sleep quality, energy levels and wellbeing.
Our paper examines the effectiveness of pain relief using APS therapy for different types and origins of pain, for example neuropathic pain in feet and legs, back pain, headaches.
We are aware of the limitations of the study, but hope that by presenting our pilot study of an APS therapy service in the context of available research on the subject, we can stimulate further clinical use and research.