Hummingbird Device Shows Benefits for Fibromyalgia Patients, Developer Reports

Hummingbird Device Shows Benefits for Fibromyalgia Patients, Developer Reports

A noninvasive device called Hummingbird, which is placed under the front part of the feet and emits a gentle vibration, increases daily activity of people with fibromyalgia, while reducing muscle pain, according to its developer.

Hummingbird, created by the North Carolina-based company Vital Motion, provided pain relief and led to a 72.7% increase in daily activity levels among its users, as shown by the number of steps recorded on a pedometer, the company recently reported.

The soleus muscles (one in each calf), when contracted, ensure a proper blood flow from the lower body up through the heart and into the brain.

Failure to contract means that blood accumulates in the legs, leading to the painful symptoms that characterize fibromyalgia and other diseases linked to poor circulation.

Contrary to other devices, which use electrical impulses, Hummingbird uses a micro-mechanical vibration to stimulate the nerve endings in the plantar (or front part) of the feet. The vibration causes the soleus muscles to contract, helping blood flow to the rest of the body and avoiding the pain and irritation commonly experienced with electrical stimulation devices.

A small, lightweight device, the Hummingbird is designed to be used at a patient’s convenience, at home or at work, requiring just 15 to 30 minutes once or twice per day.

“Many medical device therapies available in the market are designed to address various chronic pain indications, most are alternatives to suppressing the intake of opioids or other pain medicines,” Bradley Saveth, co-founder of Vital Motion, said in a press release. “In contrast, the Hummingbird is a specialized therapy that has been scientifically evaluated and clinically demonstrated to address the critical physiological disabilities strongly correlated with fibromyalgia.”

The Hummingbird App, available for any smartphone or tablet, allows patients to control the stimulation time and vibration levels.

The device was awarded the 2018 Innovative Product of the Year for fibromyalgia by the business consulting firm, Frost & Sullivan.

“Vital Motion has taken the lead in the fibromyalgia therapies market by developing its Hummingbird device that can deliver vibrational plantar stimulation therapy to address a broad range of conditions like fibromyalgia,” said Arjunvasan A, a healthcare analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

“The Hummingbird is an industry innovation because it stimulates the foot’s plantar nerve endings by delivering varying intensities of vibrational energy, thereby increasing the function of the calf muscle pump. This unique type of therapy is gradually being accepted by the community of pain physicians as an emerging standard of care for treating fibromyalgia symptoms,” he added.

2 comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    This seems alot like the Quell, which uses the same type of nerve stimulation technology in one part of the body to help relieve pain in other areas. It too uses a mobile phone to control the device like Hummingbird. I used to use Quell until I developed an allergic reaction to the adhesive gel used to connect the electrodes to the upper calf and the bands for the mechanical part never fit right, no matter what size I used, so it would slip down and even off during activities.The device was also way too visible under pants and skirts due to where it needed to be placed. It also cannot get wet, so rainy days, snow and sweat were also a problems for the product as well since you cannot get it at all wet. So, with all the issues, I discontinued use. I’d be interested in seeing a picture of the Hummingbird to see just how noticable the device is as well as how it adheres to the foot before thinking about purchasing as well as testimonials from those who have tried it over time. I can’t waste any more money on products that don’t work and $400 is very steep for a device such as this. Quell was less than half the price of Hummingbird, but required ordering constant refills of the gel packs as they only last 1 week with me and the bands, which only lasted a month before losing the velcro adhesive and fell off. Oh, and as these types of electronic devices stimulate your own natural endorphins/opioid receptors, they do create a cross tolerance to opioid medications, so the meds end up not working for pain. Something I had no idea of until I tried the Quell for a few months. It really ends up being an either/or situation between pain meds and the device. If you need round the clock relief as I do, and in all different types of situations, then this is something to consider. The Quell was not designed for 24/7 usage,so I am wondering if the Hummingbird is? As the Quell devices tend to not be discreet enough in public (they look like a tether with a blinking light for all to see!) they draw way too much attention and negative judgements from others unless they can be completely concealed in all types of situations. But,the hummingbird placed at front of the foot sounds alot more discreet than on the calf of the leg like the Quell… unless you wear sandals or other open-toes shoes in the summer time! Is this device tiny enough to be discreet? Hopefully Hummingbird is a better product than Quell! Is there any more information that can be provided on test study results and patient testimonials for Hummingbird? I’d like to compare to the Quell to see if it is a superior product prior to trying it without all the pitfalls I found with Quell. Thanks!

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