Dr. Chris Steele, MBE, age 66, is well known as the resident doctor on ITV1's This Morning daytime show. Until recently Dr Steele has been suffering with a debilitating back condition, which left him unable to carry out the simplest of tasks without suffering agonising pains. But his recent discovery of a new form of electronic pain relief, pioneered in America, has enabled him to live his life virtually pain free…
Dr Steele recounts his story, "I had been suffering with lower back pain for a few months. It was caused by a combination of factors including osteoarthritis of the spine, and just general wear and tear from regular bending and lifting. I carried out a self-diagnosis of lower lumbar pain – lumbar vertebrae and sacro-iliac. The pain was very extreme. And its severity made it a terrible nuisance. It was there almost all of the time and stopped me from doing even the simplest everyday things. It was difficult to bend down, pick things up and bending in any direction was very painful and very difficult. I also found it a challenge just getting up from the sofa."
Dr Steele is aware how common back pain is and how it can affect our lives. "Lower back pain is one of the commonest causes for absence from work. The Labour Force Survey from The Office of National Statistics published on 16th May this year looked at the number of days lost by the work force across the UK – and neck, back and upper limb pain accounted for 25% of all days lost per year. A total of 34.4 million working days are lost each year."
"And it's very common as you get older, as a result of wear and tear. It's my age. People just accept that it's part of getting old and take pain killers, but they're not without side-effects. Pain killers that contain codeine can cause constipation and addiction. Anti-inflammatories can cause gastro-intestinal problems, so you have to be careful when you're prescribing for older patients."
"I had been taking pain killers and anti-inflammatory tablets, which helped a little bit, but then I tried the Alpha-Stim. The effects from this were quite something else. It got me through a very painful episode and I have been more or less pain free ever since."
"The one thing that really impressed me was the speed at which it helped act on my pain and how effective it was. It meant that I could reduce my painkillers quite dramatically."
"Convenience is another reason why I like using the Alpha-Stim. I just clipped it to my belt and put the electrode on my back. I adjusted the time to an hour, 20mins or 10 mins, so there's lots of flexibility to adjust the length of treatment session. You can go about your normal activities and no-one knows that you're having treatment. It's quite harmless. You can use it safely every day for months and that's what's attractive about the Alpha-Stim – there's no drugs, so there's no side-effects, and no interaction with other medication that you might be taking. That's the beauty of it. It's safe to use and, more importantly, very effective."
"It would be a great idea if the NHS could have Alpha-Stims to use in the short-term, to lend out to people. It would be an ideal scenario if they were available at pharmacies and GP surgeries. They could be lent out in the short term and people could then buy them to use at home to continue their treatment. The potential saving for the NHS could be huge."
"The Alpha-Stim can be used for all sorts of conditions like stress, addiction and insomnia. If it can control back pain, my goodness, what can it do for so many more conditions like these?"
"My neighbour had been suffering with extreme back pain, so I gave her the Alpha-Stim to take away with her when she went on holiday in France. When she returned she said that she had got a lot of relief from it. She was very impressed and I haven't seen it since!"