Over the last few decades, we have seen an ongoing shift towards more sedentary lifestyles. Given our service-based economy, most jobs in Britain are now done on computers. As a result, a large percentage of people in our country sit in the same place for hours on end every day.
However, until now, many people at least used to be somewhat active when travelling to and from work. With the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in the mainstreaming of working from home, even the daily commute has become a thing of the past. Moreover, those unfortunate enough to develop what is known as ‘long COVID’ – long-term COVID-19 infections – can be forced into a situation where they barely move at all for months on end.
One of the consequences of this has been a rise in deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT is when clots form in deep veins, often located in the legs or pelvis. These clots can be caused by the reductions in blood flow that take place when people stay seated in one position for prolonged periods of time.
The result of this is often post-thrombotic syndrome, a condition that takes place following the formation of these clots. The core symptom of this is chronic leg pain, with a leg throbbing and cramping to the point it becomes sore to the touch. This causes excruciating discomfort, and patients have described how it prevents them from moving around and sleeping. To manage the pain, patients are often recommended to take blood thinners, wear compression stockings and keep their legs elevated until the clots dissolve, which can take weeks or even months of suffering.
It is certainly true that we can reduce the prevalence of DVT by encouraging people to take breaks and stay active during the day. However, given the nature of the modern office environment, this is not always possible, and many people may simply be too busy to heed these warnings. In the case of ‘long COVID’, they may even be physically unable to move.
As a result, we need to focus on delivering pain relief solutions that will benefit those who have developed post-thrombotic syndrome. One potential option is using neurostimulation devices, which can block pain using electrical signal. To truly resolve the problems of the modern age, we need to adopt new technology that is fit for it. I am confident that signal-based therapy can drastically improve the lives of those affected by post-thrombotic syndrome.