Neuropathic pain and discomfort can be incredibly frustrating to treat — all too often, the damaged or compressed nerves become overactive and resist any effort at quieting them. In these cases, neuromodulation may hold the key to finding meaningful relief that can help you get back to your life.
Board-certified neurosurgeon Ali H. Mesiwala MD, FAANS and our team offer several different types of neuromodulation procedures that can help relieve pain most anywhere in your body.
To give you an idea, we take a look at four applications of neuromodulation in this month’s blog post.
Neuromodulation is fast gaining favor as an effective way to treat stubborn nerve pain. Rather than trying to address the symptoms through temporary efforts, such as medications, we implant a device that emits mild electrical currents. These currents are designed to disrupt the pain messaging between your nerves and your brain.
As well, you can control these impulses, activating and adjusting them (within limits) so you can get relief when you need it.
There are several different types of neuromodulation and we describe the four we offer here below.
Each year in the United States, an estimated 50,000 spinal cord stimulators (SCSs) are implanted into patients to help them find relief from lower back pain, neck pain, and radiating pain that extends into the limbs.
When a spinal cord stimulator is implanted along your spine, which is the main conduit for your nervous system, it reduces the pain signaling and your discomfort.
If your neuropathic pain is in a hard-to-reach area, such as your chest, hand, abdomen, or foot, we might recommend targeting your dorsal root ganglion (DRG) with neuromodulation.
Your DRG is a group of cell bodies that are composed of sensory neurons, which are found in each of your intervertebral foramina. Through DRG stimulation, we target the bundle of cells that are responsible for your neuropathic pain and interfere with their ability to send pain messages.
The nerves that are located outside of your spinal cord and brain are collectively referred to as your peripheral nerves. If you’re having trouble with a particular nerve that’s become overactive, we can target that nerve directly with peripheral nerve stimulation.
If you’re suffering from chronic lower back pain secondary to muscular dysfunction, we can turn to neuromodulation to help improve the musculature support of your spine in this area. In strengthening these muscles, you take the pressure off of your lower spine and the nerve roots in the area.
With muscle restorative stimulation, we place a device in your lower back that emits impulses that cause your muscles to contract. To give you an idea about its efficacy, one study found that using muscle restorative stimulation for chronic low back pain led to substantial and clinically meaningful pain relief in 76% of participants at the two-year mark.
While we’ve reviewed how neuromodulation can help greatly with pain relief, another benefit is that we can perform each of these procedures using minimally invasive techniques. Better still, we perform neuromodulation surgery on an outpatient basis, which means you’re free to return home afterward.
If you’d like to explore whether neuromodulation is right for you, please contact one of our offices in Newport Beach, Marina del Rey, Rancho Cucamonga, or San Bernardino, California, to set up a consultation.