You can buy wearable devices to monitor your heart rate, track your location, count your steps, and much more, but now you can also buy a wearable device that can help manage some types of pain. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a device from NeuroMetrix for sale without a doctor’s prescription. The approval means that the manufacturer will be able to add more features such as Bluetooth connectivity, to provide an enhanced consumer experience.
The Sensus Pain Management System is designed to treat certain kinds of chronic pain, such as neuropathy experienced by many diabetic patients. These pains can result in a burning or “pins and needles” sensation, often in the legs and feet. A single Sensus device strapped below the knee on one leg can provide relief. The device stimulates nerves through the skin with an electrical charge, which in turn causes the brain to release proteins throughout the body that can decrease the sensation of pain. As a result, the one device can relieve chronic pain symptoms not just on the leg on which it is strapped, but in the other leg and other parts of the body as well.
The FDA is going to face an onslaught of monitoring, diagnostic, and therapeutic devices from the wearable Health Tech industry. It will be interesting to watch how long the approval process takes, and which devices are cleared for consumer use without professional medical oversight. As the Sensus device clearly demonstrates, however, we can expect to see a variety of new options available for a wide range of chronic health problems.