Vagus Nerve Stimulation for Inflammatory Arthritis

My wife mentioned to me that during a training course she's just been on for the work she does in a child autism respite centre a clinician spoke about vagus nerve stimulation. The clinician stated that this technique was also being used for some people suffering inflammatory arthritis. I did a quick google search for this and came across this article on the creaky joints website.

I just wondered if anyone has tried this and if they got any benefit from it. I see that external stimulation devices are available without prescription.

I wouldn't try this without consulting a clinician - particularly in my case because many moons ago I used to be a 'fainter'. A consultant then diagnosed me with vasovagal syncope and that it was because a sinus was intermittently swelling and putting pressure on my vagus nerve and artery. He demonstrated this to me by using his fingers to depress an area of my neck causing my heart rate to halve in seconds - a bit like Spock's Vulcan death grip! I subsequently had a sinus operation and I've never fainted since. But I wouldn't mess around with it without medical advice.


  • Trish9556
    Trish9556 Member Posts: 393

    Hi @jamieA

    That is really interesting. I don't think I'd try it though as my vertebral artery is in the wrong place so I'm very nervous about anything in the left hand side of my neck. Saying that I don't have RA.

    I think I'll stick with my meds and tens machine that had various options on it but I can see that a lot of people may want to if it is shown to decrease or eradicate pain for RA


  • Hi @jamieA

    Not for arthritis but for stress.

    Something as simple as splashing cold water on the back of my neck during the start of stressing (when at work) together with breathing and some visualisation/mantras helped pause my stress response. Prevent it gaining momentum and turning into panic attack.

    Splashing cold water on back of neck and running cold tap putting wrists under the flow. So I have road tested that method for stress and can vouch for its effectiveness.

    Haven't tried the vulcan death grip or running currents through body parts 😬

    Be fabulous if it worked though 😃 could just zap the affected area as opposed to choking down opiates. Be a great alternative method.

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,608

    That seems interesting but still very experimental, doesn't it? It was a very small number for research and, with your backgŕound, Jamie, I'm glad you're waiting snd watching.

    I wonder where @Arthuritis is. His input would be useful here.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • I haven't got the research/studies to post up but Singing, gargling and humming (not all at once 🙂) are methods to stimulate the vagus nerve. Also free and simple.

    additionally singing can trigger a release of oxytocin into our systems and it has been suggested in articles I've read so far, goes someway toward enhancing lung capacity and helping to clear mucus/sputum.

    So the next time we're pottering around the house, belting out our favourite song may well be beneficial to health and wellbeing. Don't have to be Pavarotti or Whitney Houston just enthusiastic.

  • Arthuritis
    Arthuritis Member Posts: 413

    @stickywicket Sorry been out of touch for a bit. Yes vagus stimulation has now got to the sophisticated stage where a surgical implant that can be remotely triggered to calm & modulate the immune system if your specific condition is receptive to it. I only know of one where the implant was in the neck and stimulates the splenic end of the vagus nerve. However as the vagus nerve has many critical functions and goes all over the abdomen not everyone is eligible.

    I will post news videos reporting this shortly

  • Arthuritis
    Arthuritis Member Posts: 413

    And here are the news clips of vagus nerve stimulation with a surgical implant.

    I think there were European trials in the Netherlands

    Dr Kevin Tracey is the pioneer in this, but others are also following in his footsteps