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ASweetLife 01/12/2015

Quell, A New Treatment for Neuropathy Without Drugs

For security supervisor Jesse Alberio, the pain from his diabetic neuropathy grew so bad he thought he might not be able to work any longer.

“It affected both of my feet,” says Alberio, 52, a type 2 diabetic for almost a decade. “I tried aspirin, and ibuprofen, and other pain killers, but nothing was working. The pain was intense. It was like my toes were constantly being crushed. I thought I’d have to retire from my job.”

Alberio is one of almost half of all type 1 and type 2 diabetics, who number almost 177 million worldwide and 30 million in the United States, suffering from some degree of painful diabetic neuropathy, which is damage to the peripheral nerves in the body as a result of prolonged hyperglycemia.

A visit to his podiatrist’s office, however, provided Alberio with an option other than being zonked out on pain medication and retiring early.

“My foot doctor wanted me to try this device,” Alberio says. “It was this thing that looked like it had electric shocks. I was skeptical.”

Quell Wearable Pain Relief

What Alberio was dubious about was a wearable device called Quell from a company called NeuroMetrix, Inc, designed to alleviate chronic pain,

According to NeuroMetrix, Quell is a wearable intensive nerve stimulation device that stimulates sensory nerves in the upper calf sending neural pulses to the brain. This triggers the release of endogenous opioids into the spine where pain signals are blocked in the body, which thereby delivers widespread pain relief.

While it works along the same pathways as other pain-relieving, drug-based opioids, the dangerous side effects of such pain relief, such as addiction and artificial euphoria, are avoided because endogenous opioids (which are naturally occurring in the body) are targeted to only relieve pain.

The electronics of the device are housed in a sleeve much like a sport band, or blood pressure cuff, and worn on the upper calf.

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