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Are home pain relief gadgets safe for use?
Some make big promises, but may pose big health risks. Here’s what to watch for.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. That’s how many people feel when they have chronic pain; they’ll try anything to get rid of it. For some, the desperate measure is buying a gadget promising to ease aches and pains with the push of a button. If that’s your strategy, beware: the move may come with more risks than relief.
What’s out there?
You can find a wide range of pain relief gadgets to use at home. There are devices claiming to interrupt pain signals to the brain with "bio-antennas" embedded in skin patches; squeeze pain away with compression cuffs; or eliminate pain with ultrasound technology, electrical stimulation, heat, lasers, vibration, pressure, light, radiofrequency, infrared rays, or pulsed electromagnetic fields.
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