Many of my patients have expressed interest in procedures for Neuromodulation of Pain – spinal cord stimulators, peripheral nerve stimulators and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) – for treatment of pain.
What is Neuromodulation?
Neuromodulation is a field of science that encompasses implantable and non-implantable technologies, magnetic and electrical techniques that improves life for humanity. Neuromodulation is a technology that impacts upon the neural interface to change pain perception by the brain.
How does it apply to treatment of chronic pain?
The electrical neuromodulation technique employed to effectively treat pain includes implantable peripheral nerve stimulators and spinal cord stimulators.
The spinal cord stimulators are increasingly being used to treat low back and neck pain (especially pain that persists after surgery), pelvic/sacral pain, incontinence and gastric pain (irritable bowel syndrome).
Peripheral nerve stimulators are being used to treat peripheral nerve pain like occipital neuralgia and sacroilitis.
The nerve stimulators work on the “Gate Theory.” This theory implies that if you stimulate the nerves carrying the vibration sensation to the brain then it will block or decrease the activity of the nerves carrying the pain sensation to the brain.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is the latest revolutionary non-invasive and non-systemic (no medications involved) technology using the same principles as an MRI to stimulate brain cells back into a healthy state. It is FDA approved for treating depression in United States. It has many off label uses including treating many chronic pain conditions including migraine headaches and fibromyalgia.