Has anyone ever heard of this device, the Dynatronics STS? I'm including a news article about it below, and if you go to http://www.dynatronics.com/chronicpain/research2/ you can download a PDF copy of a research article about it in the American Journal of Pain Management.

The news article below is available at http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,375006980,00.html

David Berg

Device zaps nerve pain for some

Dynatronics product offers unique therapy but is not a panacea
By Lois M. Collins
Deseret News staff writer

Margaret Dowling knows all about pain. Stricken with cluster headaches, she's been off work from her job at UPS customer service for more than two years - most of it spent in bed trying to sleep. But sleep has eluded her.

Margaret Dowling and Dr. Mark Talboom use the Dynatronics system that has helped reduce their pain by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system.

Mark Talboom's pain is different but no less intrusive. More than a decade ago, he slipped and fell, wrenching a disk in his neck and dislocating his shoulder. Added to that is the chronic pain of pancreatitis. He's a chiropractor who can't do his job.

But where both once seemed destined to suffer indefinitely, they see some hope. And on this day they sit side by side in a small clinic, hooked to a machine called a Dynatron STS, and talk about their futures.

The machine, made by Dynatronics, offers "sympathetic therapy," delivering electrical current by way of peripheral nerves accessed through the legs, feet, hands and arms to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system. While some products target pain locally with electric stimulation, the Dynatron STS takes a systemic approach. It's one of 1,000-plus products offered by the 22-year-old Utah company. The patented product requires a carefully considered combination of unique carrier and beat frequencies and very specific electrode placement.

Available less than a year, Dynatronics has already placed 1,000 units, including both the two-patient clinic model (the STS) and the smaller, one-person home version (the STS Rx).

Company president Kelvyn Cullimore Jr. (Kelvyn Sr. founded the company) makes it clear the Dynatron STS doesn't help everyone with intractable chronic pain. About a third see little or no benefit, a third get some relief and a third see a dramatic improvement. It seems to depend on the type of pain. Among those who are happiest are people suffering from peripheral neuropathy, those with numbness. But though the Food and Drug Administration has approved the device for use on pain, the company's careful not to make specific promises or claims.

"We treat chronic pain. We make no other claims, though we have seen neat things happen," said Bob Cardon, marketing.

It's good with nerve pain; not effective with skeletal pain, Cullimore said.

"We don't really know how it works, just that it's different from traditional electrotherapy," he said. "We think it crosses the spine, but we're not sure. And we know that some who suffered a long time take longer to find any relief."

Dowling was like that. She used the device for almost three weeks before anything happened. But the change has been dramatic. She still gets headaches, but they're less severe, and she can actually sleep for several hours at a time. When she started treatment, she had to be driven to the clinic; she now drives herself. Not long ago, she was able to wash her own car.

Dynatronics' Dynatron STS machine offers "sympathetic therapy," delivering electrical current by way of peripheral nerves accessed through the legs, feet, hands and arms.

And it's not a magic bullet, either, said Dynatron's executive vice president, Larry Beardall. In a 20-patient study of peripheral neuropathy, they found 85 percent found some relief and for half the relief was "virtually total." But that's with ongoing treatment. How long, no one knows, but it might possibly "be lifetime."

The patented home device, which weighs about six pounds, sells for $4,000. The slightly larger clinical version costs $5,000.

And it's becoming increasingly popular with Worker's Compensation Clinics.

Dowling and Talboom are receiving therapy in the company's small training and research clinic, but it's not a place where just anyone can come to find relief. People treated here are under a research protocol. Others must find a clinic or a physical therapist who uses it.

The system was designed by a Corpus Christi, Texas, physician named Donald Rhodes who had been working with a patient for years, trying to solve his misery. His research lead him to create the sympathetic therapy approach. Dynatronics agreed to make a prototype for him two years ago, and it was such a success that in August 2000 the company became the exclusive licensee. FDA approval came last spring and the clinical version was released in March, followed by the home unit in May.

Attitudes toward chronic pain are changing, which may be one reason workers comp clinics are so receptive. For a long time, many physicians discounted pain for which they could find no cause. Now even the national organization that accredits hospitals requires some kind of program to address chronic pain.

And insurance companies have not yet joined the ranks of those who are embracing the therapy. Despite some inroads, most insurance companies call the device "experimental" and don't cover it. Workers comp, on the other hand, is "far more motivated because the meter's running with these people," said Beardall. And while people who have chronic intractable pain make up a very small number of the patients in those clinics, they cost an "enormous amount of money" to treat.

One problem Beardall sees is that the treatment hasn't usually been tried until many other approaches have been exhausted. It's completely noninvasive and there's no addiction, which can be a problem when treating pain with medication. "We'd love to intervene sooner and catch patients before they become addicts," he said. "Or before they repeat surgery."

"I'm confident, based on what we've seen, that it's just a matter of time," Cullimore Jr. said. "If we don't promise too much and lose credibility in the process, I think it will prove itself."

For reasons Talboom doesn't understand, he's had more relief of his pancreatitis. That's "almost pain free."