Vibrating Therapeutic Apparel Set To Revolutionize Phantom Limb Pain Management

Vibrating Therapeutic Apparel Set To Revolutionize Phantom Limb Pain Management
10 million people around the world live with limb loss, a number expected to double the next decades. It is estimated that 80% of amputees suffer from a condition known as phantom limb pain, referred to as the sensation of pain in the missing part of the amputated limb. The condition present in different ways, such as burning sensation, a grip or a pain that may vary in intensity, and seriously harm quality of life. It can increase anxiety and depression, as well as impair daily activities and sleep. A number of different therapies, including pharmacological approaches, massage and physical therapy, have been proposed to manage phantom limb pain, however, these are not always effective and are not specifically designed for amputees.

The Delaware-based startup Vibrating Therapeutic Apparel is determined to help limb loss patients, and are creating products specifically for phantom limb pain management. They are developing a vibrating device, a sleeve designed to be worn at the end of the residual limb. The sleeve has integrated vibrating nodes, which disrupts the pain signals the brain sends to the amputated limb. The device also include buttons that allow users to increase or decrease intensity and alter the vibration pattern, to optimize treatment efficacy. The technology can even be adapted to all forms of apparels, meaning it can be used by anyone, anywhere.

There is currently no products specifically designed for people with amputated limbs to manage pain. Most amputees use prescription pain medication to treat phantom limb pain, but they can cause severe side effects. Other alternatives are either inconvenient or expensive. In fact, management of phantom limb pain cost on average over $8,000 per person each year. Vibrating Therapeutic Apparel could revolutionize phantom limb pain management with their innovative vibrating sleeve. It does not require any prescription to be purchased, and cost a fraction of the current alternatives on the market. The technology can be adapted to all forms of apparels, enabling amputees to receive treatment 24 hours a day without experiencing any side effects. Most importantly, the technology could significantly improve quality of life for amputees worldwide who suffer from phantom limb pain, giving them their life back.

The startup was founded by Amira Idris after she was interning at a prosthetic clinic during her undergraduate studies at the University of Delaware. Here she came in contact with amputees that left a lasting impact on her, and discovered the significant decrease in quality of life many of these prosthetic clients had due to phantom limb pain. Currently, the Vibrating Therapeutic Apparel team is working with amputees to test and further develop the vibrating sleeve, gaining vital client feedback on the device’s effectiveness, quality and overall feel to ensure they meet the needs of their customers. They aim to launch the product during the summer of 2017.

Vibrating Therapeutic Apparel has previously participated in the First Step Grand Challenge, won the top prize in the Emerging Enterprise Center’s (EEC) “Swim with the Sharks” contest, winning access to the incubator’s coaching program and a free six-month membership to the EEC. The startup has also won the College Pitch Philly competition at the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship’s annual conference, the 2017 Hen Hatch competition and in April 2017 announced they had been chosen for the NextFab hardware accelerator.