InterX, what is it? (It’s not TENS!)
InterX is a non-invasive medical device that uses electrical stimulation for relief of acute, chronic and neuropathic pain. When pain is present the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated, which can go into overdrive as a result of pain (fight or flight response). The opposing system, the para-sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the body’s rest and digestion response. InterX aims to bring the two systems back into balance, by using electrical pulses to stimulates the parasympathetic system.
The InterX also interacts with the Vagus nerve, also called X cranial nerve or 10th cranial nerve, longest and most complex of the cranial nerves. There are multiple nervous system functions provided by the vagus nerve and its related parts. The vagus nerve functions contribute to the autonomic nervous system, which consists of the parasympathetic and sympathetic parts.
Essentially, it is part of a circuit that links the neck, heart, lungs, and the abdomen to the brain.
- Communication between the brain and the gut: The vagus nerve delivers information from the gut to the brain.
- Relaxation with deep breathing: The vagus nerve communicates with the diaphragm. With deep breaths, a person feels more relaxed.
- Decreasing inflammation: The vagus nerve sends an anti-inflammatory signal to other parts of the body.
- Lowering the heart rate and blood pressure: If the vagus nerve is overactive, it can lead to the heart being unable to pump enough blood around the body. In some cases, excessive vagus nerve activity can cause loss of consciousness and organ damage.
- Fear management: The vagus nerve sends information from the gut to the brain, which is linked to dealing with stress, anxiety, and fear – hence the saying, “gut feeling.” These signals help a person to recover from stressful and scary situations.
Who uses it?
Currently InterX therapy is provided by Louise Roantree, Accredited Hand Therapist in the Hand Clinic. Louise uses InterX therapy as part of her overall management plan for clients with pain. Exercises, education, activity modification, and splints are still very important to achieve the best clinical outcomes.