Neuromodulation is a means of pain management in which a small device is inserted into the body to block transmission of pain impulses to the brain. This treatment has existed for over twenty years, with FDA approval. Neuromodulation is comprised of two separate types of therapy: neurostimulation, and spinal infusion.
Neurostimulation gives pain relief by sending small pulses of electrical current to the nerve tissue, causing the brain to disregard pain signals. A fine electrode wire is implanted beneath the skin. The wire is attached to the microstimulator unit and is placed just under the skin in the chest. The unit produces periodic electrical pulsations directed to particular areas of the spinal cord and brain. These pulsations block pain signals that the spinal nerves are transmitting to the brain. Some patients using this mode of therapy report the electrical pulses feel like pins and needles. One of the neurostimulation’s main benefits is a reduction of pain without the need of medication.
Spinal infusion involves inserting a tiny catheter next to the spine to offer small doses of powerful medication for pain relief. The catheter is attached to a spinal infusion pump, which is implanted under the skin of the abdomen. The pump is calibrated to administer medication at regular intervals. A primary advantage of spinal infusion is the elimination of changes in mental function that can occur when taking higher drug dosages.
Both types of neuromodulation have had scientific studies performed demonstrating significant pain reduction and improved physical function. Neurostimulation and Spinal Infusion implantation procedures are minimally invasive and can be carried out in three to six hours by a qualified neurosurgeon. Patients can take part in a short trial to see if the therapy is beneficial for them. The implants are not permanent and can be removed if ineffective. Each treatment is covered by most insurance plans.
If interested to find out if you’re a candidate for either procedure, please contact us today at either our New Braunfels or Seguin locations.