'Hummingbird' device helps fibromyalgia patients

Published: Nov. 22, 2017 at 7:15 PM EST
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Fibromyalgia is often called a mystery illness that causes debilitating pain and fatigue. Most patients take pills to help relieve symptoms.

Now, new technology is offering help without the side effects of medication.

Pamula Floyd has been dealing with the pain of fibromyalgia for the past 15 years.

"The first time it happened, I woke up and I could not move," she says.

Doctor Erik Hiester, CMO of Vital Motion, says the condition affects up to 6 percent of the population, mostly women, and causes a myriad of symptoms, such as fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and cognitive problems difficulties with mental clarity.

Medications to treat symptoms have been the main option for patients, until now.

"Hummingbird is a new option for the treatment of fibromyalgia without the side effects of medications," Hiester says.

The bathroom scale-like device made by Vital Motion is controlled through an app on your smart phone.

"That produces a very gentle vibration that helps to stimulate and activate the muscles in the calf," Hiester says.

Hiester says that stimulation is called the "calf muscle pump."

"That activation results in the return of the venous fluids and lymphatics back to the heart and back to the rest of the body," he says.

He says that increased circulation helps patients without pills.

"We’ve found significant improvement in sleep, in fatigue and in cognitive dysfunction," he says.

Pamula says she didn’t wake up with leg cramps the first night after using the Hummingbird.

"By the third night, the hip pain was gone, the thigh pain was gone, and my legs were not swelling like they usually do," she says.

Allowing her to enjoy the little things, like taking a walk without pain.

Pamula adds the device has also helped her with what she calls "fibro fog."

The Hummingbird is not covered by insurance and costs around $300.




REPORT: MB #4340

BACKGROUND: Fibromyalgia is a disorder that can be characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain that can be accompanied by sleep, fatigue, mood and memory issues. It can amplify painful sensations by affecting the way a patient’s brain processes pain signals. Symptoms may gradually increase over time with no single triggering event, or sometimes occur after a physical trauma, infection, surgery, or significant psychological stress. Women are more likely to develop it than men, and many people who suffer from it also experience tension headaches, TMJ disorders, anxiety, depression, and irritable bowel syndrome.



TREATMENT: While there is no cure, a variety of medications can help control fibromyalgia symptoms. Exercise, stress-reduction measures, and relaxation may also help. Self-care including lifestyle changes can lessen the pain and fatigue, but there are some tips to help ease discomfort and take patients mind off of the pain. You can try putting some music on, having a good laugh, taking a relaxing bath, or mindful movement and meditation.



NEW TECHNOLOGY: The Hummingbird stimulates the nerve endings in located in the front portion of the feet, which signal the calf muscles to contract. These calf muscles are critical in ensuring proper blood circulation from the feet back to the heart, upper body and even the brain. Working to restore the soleus muscles to an active state, can relieve many symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. The Hummingbird can be used while performing other activities such as eating, reading, working at a desk, or watching TV. It is placed in front and underneath your feet, and easy to use. The device is small and light enough for easy transportation, and works via an app on the patient’s smart phone.