What are Your Pain Points?

What are Your Pain Points?

By: Amanda Ellis

If there’s one industry where the landscape is ever changing – it’s health care, from billing and insurance updates to new medications, treatments and wellness fads.

Likewise, Chattanooga entrepreneurs are always up to something new. They continually launch novel products and solutions that make life better. One local company puts that entrepreneurial ‘make things better’ mindset to work for chronic pain sufferers.

Whether it’s lingering discomfort from an injury, nerve pain, backaches or something more severe, most adults deal with pain at some point, and it can majorly impact quality of life and work productivity.

The American Chiropractic Association says back pain is the most common reason for workers’ compensation claims, affecting professionals ranging from office workers to warehouse employees to firefighters.

One approach to back pain relief? Hollywog’s WiTouch Pro wearable Bluetooth device. Gel pads adhere it to the skin on the back, where it’s hidden by clothing. The wearer turns the device on and off and adjusts the settings, including 15 intensities, via a smartphone app.

I don’t experience back pain, but Hollywog founder Chuck Thomas still had me try the WiTouch Pro unit. At level one I only felt a subtle, distracting massage-like sensation. To mimic how the device eases pain, Thomas had me increase the intensity a couple notches to a level I found very strong.

“You feel this distracting sensation at level one. Bear with me and take it to level three for maybe 20 seconds. That's a lot for you, and your body's reacting to it. Now go back to level two and you might still feel it, but go to level one and you feel almost nothing. Your body is already starting to block out what it was sensing.”

Thomas’ description of what I would feel is completely accurate.

“This device blocks pain signals from reaching the brain,” he says. “It doesn’t cure the root of the problem, but for 75% of back issues, pain can go away in six to eight weeks on its own. You don’t need surgery and you might not even need a doctor's visit.  But during those six to eight weeks, how are you managing the Pain? The WiTouch Pro is perfect for those acute pain problem times.

“If you’re a chronic sufferer, you’re always looking for options. People find us and like that we’re drug-free, over the counter, affordable … for managing pain.”

Despite a money back guarantee, Thomas reports a .02% return rate for the WiTouch Pro.

The device uses TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) to relieve back pain. TENS is non-invasive, drug-free and controls pain by transmitting electrical stimulation to the body’s nerve and muscle fibers through the skin. WiTouch Pro‘s patented waveform incorporates two clinical theories behind TENS: gate control theory, that non-painful sensations prevent painful sensations from reaching the central nervous system, and opiate release theory, that increasing the body’s release of endorphins reduces sensitivity to pain.

“Chiropractors and physical therapists use TENS technology through an electrotherapy device with wires and electrodes for short treatments. The power in our device is the same, but you're able to use it whenever you want and while you go about your day,” Thomas says.

Prior to founding Hollywog, Thomas led sales and marketing for a global medical device company, where he learned the landscape of the industry and decided existing TENS devices needed innovation.

“I wanted to do something different with this. I wanted to take the wires away, but I still wanted the best unit,” he says. “The basic TENS principle is the same, but our devices are more powerful and user-friendly.”

Thomas created the first wearable device made for the back, also the only TENS unit made in the U.S. One feature that sets the WiTouch Pro apart is that the coverage area on the skin is larger than the electrodes typical of TENS devices, which push power through such a small area they can cause burns.

Thomas introduced the first version of his product in 2012 and then under a major brand name in big box stores in 2017. That was “tremendous,” he says, “but we released the second generation under the WiTouch Pro brand, and now sell exclusively through online.” He says that process was “pressing restart on the business,” and the catalyst for Hollywog’s transition to the INCubator in the Hamilton County Business Development Center.

Hollywog assembles all devices in Chattanooga and very proudly promotes made in Chattanooga and Made in USA. Hollywog’s WiTouch Pro is already FDA-cleared as a Class II medical device for managing back pain and pain associated with arthritis.