Neuromodulation is technology which involves alteration (or modulation) of nerve activity by delivering electrical or pharmaceutical agents directly to a target area. Neuromodulation devices are currently being used to treat many diseases and symptoms — from headaches to sciatica, from tremors to spinal cord damage, and from pelvic pain to urinary incontinence. With its broad therapeutic scope, and significant ongoing improvements in biotechnology, neuromodulation is poised as a major growth industry for the next decade.
Examples of neuromodulation applications in Chronic Pain:
- Spinal Cord Stimulation
- Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulation
- Restorative Neurostimulation for Chronic Mechanical Back Pain
- Peripheral Nerve Stimulation
- Intrathecal Drug Delivery
- Deep Brain Stimulation
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
HOW NEUROMODULATION WORKS
Neuromodulation works by either actively stimulating nerves to produce a natural biological response or by applying targeted pharmaceutical agents in tiny doses directly to site of action.
Neurostimulation devices involve the application of electrodes to the brain, the spinal cord or peripheral nerves. These precisely placed leads connect via an extension cable to a pulse generator and power source, which generates the necessary electrical stimulation. A low-voltage electrical current passes from the generator to the nerve and can either inhibit pain signals or stimulate neural impulses where they were previously absent.
In the case of pharmacological agents delivered through implanted pumps, the drug can be administered in smaller doses because it does not have to be metabolized and pass through the body before reaching the target area. Smaller doses—in the range of 1/300 of an oral dose—can mean fewer side effects, increased patient comfort and improved quality of life.
- Krames, Peckham, and Rezai (eds) Neuromodulation v.1-2, (2009); 2nd edition (2018).
- International Neuromodulation Society Website