London: Researchers have developed a new `pen` which they claim can shock nerves into blocking pain signals and can be used to treat millions crippled by arthritis and those suffering from headaches and facial pain.
The gadget has a tip- like a ballpoint pen and cooled to -20C using liquid nitrogen. The small, hand-held device is inserted a few millimetres under the patient`s skin against a nerve, causing it to "hibernate" and block pain signals, the Daily Express reported.
Early tests show that the pen, which has been approved for use in Britain, gives instant relief with each treatment session taking just 30 to 45 minutes.
The device which works using cryotherapy has been developed by American company called MyoScience.
They claim it could be used to treat a host of pain-related conditions from arthritis to headaches and even facial pain.
Cryotherapy is used to treat many diseases and disorders from freezing off warts to helping athletes` muscles recover after competition and training.
Exposure to extreme cold is thought to boost the immune system, relieve muscle pain and even depression.
It is believed it can work on pain by slowing and even stopping the signals travelling along our nerves.
The MyoScience `pen` works by putting cold liquid inside the device under high pressure when turned on, transforming it into an extremely cold gas which cools its metal tip.
The tip, which is the same thickness as a needle, is then inserted into the skin by a doctor who takes just seconds to cool the tissue.
Sensors within the device monitor the temperature of the skin throughout the treatment.
This ensures the tip stays cold enough to `hibernate` the nerves, but not so cold that it causes damage.
At present, there is no cure for arthritis, but there are a number of treatments that can help slow down the progress of the condition.