Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, Calif.

Dr. Joseph Shurman on Pain Research at Scripps Memorial Hospital

— -- Here at Scripps, we're about to start a study on the use of the TENS unit. The TENS unit means Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator. It's the size of a large pager, and works by electrical stimulation that theoretically stimulates the release of your own endorphins, and stimulates large nerve fibers that compete with the pain-carrying fibers. In a way, it's the exact opposite of opiates, or interventional procedures. It carries a minimal risk, other than skin irritation. TENS has been around for about fifty years, but this will be the first multi-center, double-blind, crossover study done throughout the United States.

We're also doing some off-label techniques, one of which is the use of botox, which we've had great success with, in particular for muscle spasm in the neck, upper back, and lower back for patients who have this type of problem, plus patients that are post-cervical, lung, or spine surgeries. We've had great success with that.