How Neurostimulation Combats Chronic Pain

Suffering from chronic pain places great limitations on all aspects of your life. You may have asked for workplace disability or for early retirement even though you didn’t want to because your pain makes it difficult to perform your job. Perhaps you can no longer take part in activities that gave you joy: dancing with your partner to your favorite music or playing your favorite sport. 

The caring staff at Apollo Pain Management understands your dilemma. Opioids aren’t safe, taking other pain medications long term has deleterious side effects, and physical therapy has only gone so far to provide relief. Our team uses neurostimulation techniques to combat your chronic pain. They’re effective in greatly reducing your pain for long periods of time. You no longer have to give up your former life or live hour by hour spacing out pain medication.  

What is neurostimulation? 

Neurostimulation is a therapeutic, purposeful change in activity of your nervous system aided by the force of electricity. Neurostimulation works by altering pain signals as they travel to the brain. 

What types of devices are used in neurostimulation? 

If you have severe back pain, we may recommend that you try a spinal cord stimulator.  If you have peripheral nerve pain (PNS), you can test a similar device that works the same way. Both disrupt pain signals traveling between your spinal cord or your peripheral nerves and your brain. 

Your peripheral nerves are those aside from the nerves in your brain and spinal cord. If you have diabetes, you’re more prone to peripheral neuropathy, but it can also result from an injury or other cause. You may feel stabbing or burning pain in your hands or feet that can move into your arms or legs, or you may experience numbness. If you’ve had a knee replacement but still have peripheral nerve pain, neurostimulation in the knee area may help resolve your discomfort.

If you try neurostimulation and it works for you, our surgical team implants a neurostimulator under your skin about the size of a silver dollar. If it’s a spinal cord stimulator, the device is placed near the problem nerve on your back or buttock. If it’s a peripheral nerve stimulator, it’s placed near the peripheral nerve that’s causing the problem; for example, it may be placed in your shoulder if the problem nerve is in your arm. 

The neurostimulator sends electrical impulses that stop the pain signals. You’ll have a handheld device that either automatically adjusts the settings to keep you comfortable or that you can adjust when needed. For example, your pain might be worse when standing and walking or when you go to bed. 

How do I know if neurostimulation is going to work for me? 

You can try out a spinal cord stimulator or peripheral nerve stimulator to determine if it’s going to help you before the stimulator is surgically implanted. During this trial period, you’ll have a neurostimulator that sits outside your body near the offending nerve. The device is connected to lead electrodes on wires along the nerve. You have a handheld device that can regulate the intensity of the electrical pulses that interrupt the pain signals. This way, you can see whether or not the approach lessens your pain. 

Even if you do decide to have a spinal cord stimulator or a peripheral nerve stimulator implanted, it is not a permanent, forever-type circumstance. These devices can be removed if you decide at a later time that effectiveness has waned; they lie just under the skin and are easy to remove. 

PNS treatment has an extremely high success rate, and growing evidence supports use in post-amputation pain, back pain, sacroiliac joint pain, headache, facial pain, arm and limb pain, and more. Spinal cord stimulators are effective as well; the vast majority of patients report a 50 to 70 percent pain reduction

For drug-free pain relief, ask your primary care physician for a referral to Apollo Pain Management. You can regain your quality of life. 

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