In addition to the general misunderstanding that often surrounds peripheral nerve stimulation as a form of pain management, there is also a lack of understanding about the types of conditions that this therapy can be used to treat. Chronic back pain is not the only condition that can benefit from peripheral nerve stimulation; there are a host of other health conditions that can offer patients relief from chronic pain and discomfort.
What is Peripheral Nerve Stimulation?
Peripheral nerve stimulation or field stimulation is characterized by the implantation of electrodes in the subcutaneous tissue surrounding the patient’s painful area. The electrodes are situated along the peripheral nerves, with the intent of controlling the pain emanating from this area. The device implanted in the body is safe and has proven to work for people for whom more traditional methods of pain management haven’t worked thus far. This is part of why peripheral nerve stimulation has become such a well-known and highly recommended form of pain management, as it is often an option of last resort that actually works for people that haven’t had success with any other form of pain management. This is also a boon for patients that don’t want to continue to take prescription medications and need to function daily without much medical intervention in the long term.
Health conditions that may benefit from this form of treatment include: complex regional pain syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, low back and neck pain, pain following surgery from hernia (or just about any surgery that results in long-term, chronic pain, nerve injuries, peripheral neuropathies, vascular disease, intercostal neuralgia, post-amputation pain, trigeminal neuralgia and more.
However, it is important to work with a doctor that specializes in this particular form of therapy. The process will start with a trial period in which you will work closely with your physician to determine if the placement of the electrodes has helped decrease your pain. You will also work with the stimulator representative to determine what stimulation settings work best for you. During this trial period, you will be able to decide if this therapy is something that will help improve your overall daily living activities and whether or not to go forward with a permanent device. After the permanent device is implanted, you will continue to work closely with your stimulator specialist to ensure that the device is managing your pain and that you feel overall improvement.
For many, it is a chance to have their lives back. They are no longer home-bound or stuck taking strong medications that can affect their abilities to go on with activities of daily living. This is a positive benefit of peripheral nerve stimulation and can make a huge difference in the lives of those living with chronic pain.