The term “neuromodulation” encompasses a range of treatment methods that work by targeting the brain or nervous system at specific points in the body, administering a mild electrical stimulation or medication to block pain signals from reaching the brain. Neuromodulation treatments can be both electrical and chemical. Both methods are typically carried out through the use of implanted devices.
Neuromodulation treatments are typically used for patients who suffer from chronic pain that has not responded well to previous treatments. For these individuals, neuromodulation is often a life-changing procedure that significantly improves quality of life.
As its name implies, neuromodulation works by modulating specific neuropathic functions that are causing the painful symptoms. By altering certain pathways of the nervous system, neuromulation intercepts the patient’s usual perception of pain by inhibiting the transmission of painful impulses to the brain. This treatment is unique in that the implantable device can be controlled externally by the individual. Patients can adjust the stimulation produced by the neuromodulation system or turn it off when therapy is not needed.
Some basic neuromodulation treatment methods include:
- Therapeutic Electrical Stimulation
- Intrathecal Drug Delivery
Electrical stimulators work by delivering a low voltage electrical stimulation to the targeted nerves. These electrical impulses prompt the body to produce a positive biological reaction that obstructs pain signals from reaching the brain. This neurostimulation effect is felt as a tingling sensation, replacing unpleasant painful symptoms. Peripheral nerve and spinal cord stimulators are two common examples of neuromodulation using electrical stimulation.
The intrathecal pain pump, on the other hand, blocks pain using concentrated doses of pharmaceutical medication rather than electrical currents. These systems enable immediate and direct delivery of medicine to the targeted area, as opposed to having the patient ingest and metabolize medication orally. For this reason, a lower dose of the active ingredient (for instance morphine) is required when delivered via intravenous infusion. In addition to being more effective in terms of delivery, this also means that the patient experiences less overall side effects throughout the body from the medication.
Learn More about Neuromodulation Treatments in Austin
If you are interested in learning more about neuromodulation in Austin, or have questions about other treatments, please contact the Diagnostic Pain Center today at (512) 981-7246.