CraigPENS is a pain treatment technique invented by William F Craig, M.D in the 1970's. It involves the insertion of tiny stainless steel probes through the skin and into the surrounding muscles and nerves. CraigPENS requires a series of treatments to be effective. Most people respond in 10 -15 treatments, others require 20 or more. At each treatment the patient's response to the previous probe placement (where we put the needles), circuit (how we run the wires to each probe), the frequency (low, medium, high or mixed) and the number of treatments is assessed. These same variables are then adjusted and recorded for each treatment.
In CraigPENS the placement of the needles is based on the location of the nerves involved in the patient's pain. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the needle placement is based on Meridians or energy channels. The state of a patient's YIN or YANG energies are assessed and guide the treatments. CraigPENS relates to this system only in that the meridians frequently correspond to points where the nerves are near the surface of the body. Most of the clinical research on CraigPENS has been supervised by Paul White, Ph.D. M.D. at UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.
Frequently Asked Questions
What conditions can be treated with CraigPENS?
Almost any kind of pain can be treated with CraigPENS. The conditions treated most successfully are neck and low back pain, shingles, trigeminal neuralgia and diabetic neuropathy. Some kinds of joint pains respond well depending on the age and degree of the injury or arthritis involved.
Is it painful?
There is a pinprick sensation with insertion of the fine stainless steel probes used and a mild sensation with the electrical stimulation used. After a few minutes most patient's report feeling very relaxed. Early in a series of treatments there is frequently rebound pain, which may last as long as 24 or 36 hours. In fact it is quite normal for patient's to report a short period of relief followed by a longer period of rebound pain in the first several treatments. Over a series of treatments this pattern gradually reverses; the periods of relief become longer and the periods of rebound pain shorter until the relief becomes sustained...lasting months or years in successful cases.
How many treatments does it take?
Most patient's respond in 10 to 15 treatments. Some pain syndromes such as chronic low back or neck pain following surgery may require more than 20 treatments.
Will my insurance pay for it?
Medicare does not pay for CraigPENS. The number of group plans that cover it is growing but many still do not reimburse for it. Our office can find out if your particular plan does pay for it and, if not, assist you in making financial decisions.
Is there any risk of damage from CraigPENS?
No. CraigPENS does not work by burning the nerves or harming the body in any way In fact it appears to work by enhancing the bodies ability to modulate pain. One of it's benefits is that it is a completely non-pharmacological treatment.
If I get better from the treatments how long will it last?
That depends on how much tissue injury is present. In some cases pain relief lasts for years. We have a few patients who require regular 'touch-up' treatments to maintain their pain relief. Of course there is always the risk that CraigPENS may not work for your individual pain problem. We cannot guaranty results, however, our experience is that patients are getting sustained results with spinal pain problems.
Can CraigPENS fix my back?
Most back pain is the result of the normal aging process in the spine which is referred to as degenerative disc disease of the spine. This process cannot be reversed. However, it does not always result in pain . When it does, CraigPENS is frequently helpful in reducing the pain. Surgery is indicated in selected cases in order to preserve nerve and muscle function, but sometimes does not stop the pain of disc problems.