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Published 26 March 2017

DIMS, SIMS and the Medicine Cabinet in the Brain (Month +9.6)

(or, Searching for SIMs)

I just watched a fabulous presentation, Treating Pain Using the Brain by David Butler, to whom you may remember me referring in a previous post about pain. Both he and his professional partner, Lorimer Moseley, are brilliant lecturers and mavens about how the body "creates" pain. I spoke previously about their book, Explain Pain. This lecture contains some new, useful information for me.

DIM and SIM stand for Danger In Me and Safety In Me, respectively. Watch the video to see how they work along with the magic medicine cabinet in the brain. Fascinating.

If you speak American English, you might find this presentation slightly difficult to follow as Butler is Australian, and he speaks in a strong vernacular. Furthermore, the presentation is aimed at medical professionals, so there is some lingo and medical references. (At this point in my life, I feel like I have an honorary degree in medicine after all I've been through.) Anyway, I feel like I learned a great deal, so I want to share it with you:

tdcsToday, I broke down and ordered a "home use" tDCS device. tDCS has been the topic of a couple previous posts. If you're interested in what all the hype is about, just Google "tDCS pain" or better yet, "tDCS MS pain." Don't forget to check out all the corresponding videos. 

The home use models seem to cost between $50-$700. Here's the one I purchased on Amazon, TheBrainDriver v2.

Everything is included. However, I purchased it separately with professional electrode gel. Basically, you hook up the electrodes to your cranium and dial in a small current (0.5 mA - 2.0 mA) for 20 - 30 minutes. People seem to be getting great results for depression and neuropathic pain unmanageable with medication (yes, the second one's me). To quote a study posted on the NIH, "Based on our results, anodal tDCS over the left DLPFC appears to act in a selective manner and would ameliorate specific symptoms, particularly neuropathic pain."

And another study posted in the Journal of Pain: "This article presents a new, noninvasive therapeutic approach to chronic, central neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis, poorly responsive to current conventional medications. tDCS is known to cause long-lasting changes of neuronal excitability at the site of stimulation and in the connected areas in healthy subjects. This led us to hypothesize that pain decrease may be the result of functional plastic changes in brain structures involved in the pathogenesis of chronic neuropathic pain."

My unit should arrive in a couple of days, just enough time to research treatment procedures and methodologies. The idea is to lower my pain, so I can reduce my medication levels, increasing quality of life. Yes, it would be nice just to walk into my doctor's office and get it done there, but even though tDCS is apparently an FDA approved treatment, it's so new that few professionals are offering it. And since there seems to be near zero negative side effects (besides a little discomfort during the treatment), an affordable, home treatment seems in order here.

In the meantime, I have also begun pre-testing for a course of tMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) at a local clinic, TheraMind. I'll keep you all posted.

UPDATE: I'm going to hold off on the tDCS device I ordered and might just return it to Amazon. I'm a little worried about my ability to precisely position the electrodes using only the simple headband provided. My research has found that precise position is very important in proper use of tDCS.


Important Timeframes

  • My Stem Cell Transplant Date: June 5th, 2016
  • Treatment duration: 4 weeks
  • Typical onset of disability reversal: +9 months
  • Typical complete recovery from procedure: +1 to +2 years
  • Typical maximum reversal of disability: +2 years


I am not a doctor. I am a scientist (engineer) who has had MS since March 2013.

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