Spinal Cord and Peripheral Nerve Stimulation Relieve Patient “Drug Fog”
Afflicting countless people worldwide, chronic pain is a largely misunderstood and under-treated disease that forever alters the lives of more than 50 million Americans each year.
Many patients endure inadequate treatments and are forced to rely on prescription pain-killers that do little if anything to alleviate their symptoms and often lead to addiction.
According to the North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS) and American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP), among the most effective viable alternatives to this course of action is spinal cord stimulation (SCS) and peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS).
SCS and PNS have been overwhelmingly proven to be among two of the most effective tools in treating chronic pain; and patients can avoid side effects associated with traditional pain medications such as excessive sedation or clouding of thoughts.
“Patients do not feel like they are living in a ‘drug fog,'” stated Dr. Joshua Prager, a California-based pain specialist and member of NANS and ASIPP. “One can look at these devices as pacemakers for the nervous system, which help to control nerve-related pain. Patients should weigh all their options, especially when pain persists, to maximize their chances of achieving pain relief.”
September has been designated National Pain Awareness Month to help educate the public about the options and benefits of choosing a pain management program. The following are a few facts about SCS and PNS:
•Neuromodulation therapy enables many patients to increase their activity levels and improve overall quality of life.
•Similar in function and appearance to cardiac pacemakers, spinal cord and peripheral nerve stimulation deploys the use of neurostimulation devices that send micro-electrical signals directly to the spinal cord or peripheral nerves to block pain.
Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS)
•SCS delivers low-intensity electrical pulses that diminish or block the severity of the pain message to the brain with a tingling sensation.
•Patients are often able to reduce or eliminate their use of pain medications, which can potentially have multiple negative side effects including dependency.
•Implanting the device usually requires only a minor surgical procedure, and once activated, the system can be programmed to best control individual levels of pain.
Peripheral Nerve Stimulation (PNS)
•Peripheral Nerve Stimulation is a similar neuromodulation technique in which electrical stimulation is applied instead to the peripheral nerves. It can also help alleviate chronic pain that has not responded to less invasive procedures.
•PNS is extremely useful for treating pain in areas that are not as accessible to spinal cord or spinal-nerve root stimulation.
•PNS has been used to treat a variety of conditions including chronic headaches, peripheral nerve injuries, facial pain, post-hernia surgery pain, low back pain and a variety of other conditions.
•Sacral Nerve Stimulation has been used for the treatment of bladder dysfunction (neurogenic bladder), pelvic pain, interstitial cystitis, and other conditions.
All pain evaluations should be undertaken by a board certified physician and pain management specialist.
SOURCE : The American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians; North American Neuromodulation Society