What is Neuromodulation?
Neuromodulation delivers low-voltage electrical stimulation to the spinal cord or targeted peripheral nerve to block the sensation of pain.
One theory on how this technology works, the Gate Control Theory of pain developed by researchers Ronald Melzack and Patnck Wall, proposes that neuromodulation activates the body’s pain inhibitory system. According to this theory, there is a gate in the spinal cord that controls the flow of noxious pain signals to the brain. The theory suggests that the body can inhibit these pain signals or “close the gate” by activating certain non-noxious nerve fibers in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. The neuromodulation system, implanted in the epidural space
(the space outside the dura, or covering of the spinal cord, through which the spinal nerves extend into the rest of the body), stimulates these pain-inhibiting nerve fibers, masking the sensation of pain with a tingling sensation (paresthesia).1,
In many cases Spinal Cord Stimulation, or neuromodulation, creates richer blood flow to the extremities allowing for your body to heal naturally, and potentially reduce pain. Patients who have undergone Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) have reported improved skin temperature in the extremities as well as improved healing time in ulcers or lesions related to vasculitis (1)
How does spinal cord stimulation work?
Spinal cord stimulation uses low levels of electrical currents that are directed onto the dorsal column of the spinal cord. This electrical current creates a gentle massaging sensation.
The term neuromodulation involves the delivery of energy to a specific area in the body that allows pain signals to be intercepted and blood flow to be delivered. Considering this energy is applied directly to an area that correlates to your pain, each procedure is customized to meet your needs.
What is a temporary evaluation?
Neuromodulation is one of the few procedures that allows you to try the therapy before committing to having the implant permanently. While we run a very high success rate for the correct patient, we still want to insure this therapy is going to work long term for you. During the trial period, we will place small medical wires in the epidural space which are connected into an external pulse generator. You can cycle through different sensations to discover which settings control your pain. The trial period will last anywhere from 5-15 days and can be extended longer if needed. At the end of the trial period you will decide whether or not your quality of life was improved enough to move forward with the permanent implant.
How common is chronic pain in the feet and lower extremities?
Chronic pain of the feet and lower extremities, better known as peripheral neuropathy is very common. An article in ON HEALTH published by consumer reports stated that as many as 1 in 5 adults may suffer from peripheral neuropathy at some point in their life. It is also estimated that as many as 22 million people currently suffer from peripheral neuropathy.