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vagus nerve stimulator for POTS - is this really a thing?


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An Italian friend has recently told me about a doctor in Milan successfully treating POTS patients using an ear device for stimulating the vagus nerve. I think it was initially developed for epilepsy patients.

Does anyone know anything about this?

If this really is something credible I am surprised that I haven't seen it discussed in the POTS communities or that my rather wonderful consultant hasn't mentioned it. Those things alone make me skeptical.

But interested to know if anyone has heard of this.

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I have one I don’t use it every day but when I have a flare of neck/heart/chest/gut issues I use it on a low setting. I found out about it on social media. Some people have an implant of a vagus nerve stimulator. 

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There was a doctor who gave a talk at the DI conference a couple of years ago, who had been successfully treating autoimmune cases with an implantable device and talked about the potential benefits in autonomic problems. There may be a couple of threads about this around here somewhere. 

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Thank you as always to everyone for their time.

I did have a look around the site for any relevant threads but wasn't able to find anything (although that might be me and my brain fog rather than it isn't there).

With both autoimmune conditions and POTS this definitely interests me.

The implant isn't something I would probably ever be able to get or afford but the removable/wearable version is perhaps a possibility. Could you perhaps share a little more @TCP about yours....how effective it is and if you think it is worth it etc

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2 hours ago, RecipeForDisaster said:

I made my own using a tutorial I found online, ear clips I bought, and my old CMS3000 TENS device. It was not difficult.

You are so handy! :)

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I use an Intensity Micro Combo Tens/Microcurrent unit with ear clips on left ear.  Cost under $100 which my chiro who is also a functional neurologist told me to get as I started treatments with him. I find it helpful and use it regularly.  I only use the microcurrent function.

 

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1 hour ago, DysautonmiaMatt said:

I use an Intensity Micro Combo Tens/Microcurrent unit with ear clips on left ear.  Cost under $100 which my chiro who is also a functional neurologist told me to get as I started treatments with him. I find it helpful and use it regularly.  I only use the microcurrent function.

https://www.tenspros.com/intensity-micro-combo-tens-microcurrent-di9698.html

That looks a lot fancier than mine!

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There's a Facebook group called A Vagus Adventure.  It's the only reason I rebooted my FB account from 2010.  I tried using a TENS unit and ear clips, per her recommendations.  I'd had a TENS unit laying around for back pain issues, ordered some ear clips and was diligent for a couple months.  I did not attain any discernable benefit from it.  Others on AVA say othewise - some dramatic.  There appears to be a modest body of work on Auricular TCN, but not a deeper "blessed" body of studies found in implant stimulation.  The TENS clips were cheap enough, and are TENS units themselves.  I thought it was worth a shot.  Note:  If you do try it, watch out for the cheapo ear clips from Amascam or Sleezbay.  The cheapos have blade type electrodes/contact points.  I tried them - no fun.  I then spent a few more bucks on the TENSpro ear clips that have round contact point which has a rubber or silicone cap - much more comfortable and functional.  The blade types have a wide flat surface and my ears have none of those....

Good luck.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Seen this also for tinnitus but to stimulate the vagus nerve it needs to be a special electrode for the tens machine that sits within the left ear canal and not on the ear (otherwise you stimulate the ear not the internal vagus nerve). Discussed this with my ear surgeon and apparently it can work at modulating the symptoms of anything affected by the vagus nerve. But since I no longer have a left ear canal it was a non starter for me.

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You can use the right ear but not recommended as it could interfere with the heart rhythm per my chiro/functional neuro.  The placement of the ear clips is important and have to be placed in correct spots which is why anyone wishing to try this talk to a doc that is knowledgeable on this and can monitor you.  I use a Tens/Micro-current combo unit vs just a Tens unit.  See below for a video on it: (I hope this is allowed to post)

 

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The Cleveland Clinic has reliable info about what it is and how it works in general, not specifically to POTS or dysautonomia. It does list dysautonomias as being one of the conditions helped by the device. It is a good reference article into understanding the science behind it.

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/17598-vagus-nerve-stimulation-vns

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