For chronic pain sufferers, relief isn’t always achieved via standard methods. When medication and other therapies aren’t enough, your doctor may prescribe alternative treatments such as peripheral nerve stimulation. At its core, this type of therapy works by sending electrical currents to the nerves found in the periphery of the body, such as in the legs or arms. It is these electrical currents that help to reduce chronic pain.
While peripheral nerve stimulation is not a cure for chronic pain, it does help relieve symptoms. Some patients have reported receiving significant or long-lasting relief from their chronic pain after undergoing peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS)
How does PNS Help Chronic Pain?
Peripheral nerve stimulation has been used to effectively treat pain since the 1960s. It gets its name because it stimulates peripheral nerves that are outside of the spinal cord, such as your arms and legs. Chronic pain in the limbs can make it hard to function or perform even the smallest of tasks, such as walking or sitting.
Using neuro-modulation, a pain management doctor in Phoenix will surgically implant electrodes in your body. These electrodes directly target the area of pain and reconfigure the central nervous system to help reduce pain and make daily functionality easier.
The low level of electrical pulse delivered by the electrodes block the pain pulses that travel between the brain and the nerve. This changes the way pain is perceived by the body and provides much needed relief from the symptoms of chronic pain.
The surgery to implant the electrodes is minimally invasive and usually performed under local anesthesia. The reason that local anesthetic is used is because the patient needs to be kept awake so the Phoenix pain manageemnt doctor can test the electrodes and make sure they are being placed in the correct pain locations.
It is important to note that temporary electrodes are used at first. These stay in place for about a week, so that the patient can test them out and ensure pain relief. Once it is determined that the electrodes are working, the temporary electrodes are replaced with permanent implants.
Who should have PNS?
The best way to determine if you are a candidate for peripheral nerve stimulation is by talking to your doctor. Most candidates who undergo this procedure are dealing with chronic pain that has not been helped by medication or other therapies. They usually suffer from the following conditions:
- Chronic headaches or occipital neuralgia
- Nerve injuries or entrapments
- Peripheral neuropathy associated with diabetes
- Trigeminal neuropathy
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Post amputation pain syndrome
- Back and neck pain
- Refractory angina
What are the Benefits and Risks of the PNS?
For patients who receive relief from their chronic pain through peripheral nerve stimulation, the benefits are great. Being able to return to a more normal life is very rewarding. Instead of feeling pain, they feel a more pleasant sensation.
This sensation is delivered by the low level electrical current found in the electrodes of PNS. Another benefit of PNS is that the intensity of the current, as well as the current itself, can be turned on and off as needed to provide the greatest amount of pain relief.
As with all procedures or therapies, there are some risks. Not everyone will reap the rewards of this treatment, especially if they have pain in the face, neck, and head.
Anyone who is pregnant, uses a pacemaker, or has an infection may not be eligible for PNS. Other risks include the possibility of bleeding, infection, nerve damage, and electrode failure. Before you consider having this procedure you should always consult an Arizona pain management doctor.
The top Arizona pain management doctors offering peripheral nerve stimulation is Arizona Pain Specialists. The treatment is outpatient, effective and covered by insurance in most cases.
Call (602) 507-6550 for the top pain clinics in Phoenix with 7 locations!