Electrical Stimulation Moved Up a Notch
Pain is a tricky thing to treat. For some, just describing where and how it hurts is an issue unto itself, and then treating the problem opens up a whole other gamut of problems. It can be a bag of hurt, to borrow a phrase.
One particular problem that comes up with some people is pain related to the damage or irritation of a peripheral nerve. What is that? Well in some cases it comes back to a surgical procedure that causes pain in the patient that can’t be resolved. It’s called post traumatic/post surgical neuralgia, and it can also occur after a traumatic incident, such as a car accident or pinched nerve. It’s a tricky situation, that requires a specific type of treatment.
One option is the Bioness® StimRouter™. What does it do and how does it work? Actually, it’s pretty simple.
Traditionally, one method of treating pain has been through electrical stimulation. This is where a low-voltage current is applied to the area of pain. This causes the mind to think that the pain is gone, as the current is now tweaking the way the body senses what’s going on in that area. In essence, you’re swapping the pain for a pleasant sensation.
The Bioness® StimRouter™ works in a very similar way. First, a small lead is implanted in the body right over the nerve that’s causing pain for the patient. This lead is connected to a small adhesive patch that is put around the area where the lead is located. In addition, there’s another device given to each patient that allows them to adjust the stimulator to their satisfaction, or just turn it on or off.
So what is the advantage that the Bioness® StimRouter™ brings to the table above other types of electrical stimulation? In other models, the electrical lead is placed on top of the skin. This means that it has to go through the skin, typically there has to be a stronger pulse emitted from the stimulator to allow it to pass through the flesh. Because the Bioness® StimRouter™ is implanted directly on top of the nerve, there is no extra skin or muscle to go through, meaning that less current needs to be delivered in total. This makes it more effective overall with less energy used.
Now sure, there are a few caveats to this course of treatment, and not everyone is eligible to have it done. For one, this is only for people with intractable pain in the arms, legs or trunk. In addition, it has to be neuropathic pain, meaning that there is no damage to other tissues in the area, including bone or muscle. It also has to be a peripheral nerve, not a central nerve like the ones located inside of the spine. Otherwise, if the patient fits the correct parameters, then the Bioness® StimRouter™ is an excellent way to go.