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Pain and Therapy


Chronic pain is a common source of morbidity in many patient populations worldwide. There are growing concerns about the potential side effects of currently prescribed medications and a continued need for effective treatment. Related to these concerns, peripheral nerve stimulation has been regaining popularity as a potential treatment modality. Peripheral nerve stimulation components include helically coiled electrical leads, which direct an applied current to afferent neurons providing sensory innervation to the painful area. In theory, the applied current to the peripheral nerve will alter the large-diameter myelinated afferent nerve fibers, which interfere with the central processing of pain signals through small-diameter afferent fibers at the level of the spinal cord. Multiple studies have shown success in the use of peripheral nerve stimulation for acute post-surgical pain for orthopedic surgery, including post total knee arthroplasty and anterior cruciate ligament surgery, and chronic knee pain. Many studies have investigated the utility of peripheral nerve stimulation for the management of chronic shoulder pain. Peripheral nerve stimulation also serves as one of the potential non-pharmacologic therapies to treat back pain along with physical therapy, application of transcutaneous electrical neurostimulation unit, radiofrequency ablation, epidural steroid injections, permanently implanted neurostimulators, and surgery. Studies regarding back pain treatment have shown that peripheral nerve stimulation led to significant improvement in all pain and quality-of-life measures and a reduction in the use of opioids. Further studies are needed as the long-term risks and benefits of peripheral nerve stimulation have not been well studied as most information available on the effectiveness of peripheral nerve stimulation is based on shorter-term improvements in chronic pain.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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