Reno Pain

Peripherial Nerve Stimulation

Best Peripherial Nerve Stimulation Doctors in Reno, Sparks and Carson City, Nevada.

Peripherial Nerve Stimulation

Chronic pain, especially chronic back pain, is a large problem in the U.S. when you take into account the leading reasons for disability. In addition to a patient suffering from consistent pain, there is also the issue of a provider being able to accurately diagnose and treat the cause of the pain. What makes it difficult is that some pain symptoms are directly related to their location in the body, while other symptoms are just one part of the pain puzzle. Not only can this lead to delayed effective treatment, but patients often become dependent on pain medications to help decrease their pain in the short term. This is what makes peripheral nerve stimulation a popular option. If you suffer from chronic pain, the Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists in the Reno, Sparks and Carson City areas can remedy your pain symptoms with peripheral nerve stimulation and help you enjoy a pain-free life. 


What is Peripheral Nerve Stimulation?

Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) is a chronic pain treatment method that involves implanting a mini electrical device next to one of the peripheral nerves. The treatment works by stimulating the nerves, which replaces pain sensations from being received by the brain. What makes this treatment method so effective is that the peripheral nerves are responsible for sensations throughout the body. These nerves extend outside of the central nervous system (consisting of the brain and spinal cord) to the organs and extremities. So by pinpointing the specific nerve that is causing chronic pain, a patient is able to finally find relief. 


The peripheral nervous system includes 43 pairs of nerves that control sensation, movement and motor coordination. If these nerves become inflamed, damaged or injured in any way, this can lead a person to experience extreme pain, especially if the nerve damage is experienced in the face, head or neck. 


What Conditions Does a Peripheral Nerve Stimulation Treat? 

Peripheral nerve stimulation is helpful for treating conditions that are felt in all areas of the body because they communicate sensations from the organs, skin and limbs to the brain. When these nerves fail to properly send signals to the brain, a person can experience feelings of pain, numbness or even tingling. This can lead to peripheral neuropathy, which can be caused by several lifestyle or health conditions, including: 


  • Diabetes
  • Trauma 
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Heavy, continued drinking
  • Specific medications


The major issue when attempting to treat peripheral neuropathy is that this particular type of condition does not respond well to conservative methods, which most often leads patients to depend upon opioid-based medications. While this might help alleviate pain symptoms in the short term, it is not a suitable long-term treatment option, nor does it help to treat the cause of chronic pain in the first place. Thankfully, peripheral nerve stimulation has proven helpful for treating a wide variety of health conditions throughout the entire body, including:


  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) – chronic arm or leg pain
  • Occipital neuralgia – headaches
  • Cluneal nerve pain – low back pain
  • Pudendal neuralgia – pelvic pain
  • Brachial/lumbar plexus neuropathy – shoulder, arm or hand pain
  • Median/ulnar/radial neuropathy – upper limb pain
  • Meralgia paresthetica (MP) – pain in the outer thigh
  • Lumbar/cervical radiculitis – low back pain from a pinched nerve
  • Post-amputation pain
  • Post-surgical pain
  • Traumatic nerve injuries
  • Herpetic neuralgia
  • Compression of nerves after a stroke


Peripheral nerve stimulation is also a popular treatment option for patients who are experiencing painful conditions that are not alleviated with conventional therapies, as well as for patients who would like to reduce their need for taking pain medications. 


How Does Peripheral Nerve Stimulation Work?

Peripheral nerve stimulation is an effective treatment option for alleviating chronic pain by essentially replacing the feelings of pain with a buzzing or tingling sensation. The stimulation not only interferes with the pain signals that are being sent to the brain, but also changes the way that the brain perceives the pain from that particular area. 


The procedure itself is done as an outpatient procedure, meaning that the patient is able to return home the same day. Patients can receive sedation if they prefer, but it is not necessary. Using a local anesthetic to numb the skin above the treatment area, the doctor will use X-ray guidance to carefully place a thin stimulator lead (about the width of a human hair) along the peripheral nerves that are believed to be causing chronic pain. The lead is connected to a small battery that is placed under the skin. Once the device is turned on, it emits an electrical stimulation to the targeted nerves, which feels like a mind buzzing sensation. Patients most often go through a week-long trial period to determine if the stimulation is helpful before receiving a permanent electrode and battery. 


The entire procedure takes around an hour to complete. Most patients experience pain relief within a day or two after the procedure. 


What are the Benefits and Risks of Peripheral Nerve Stimulation? 

The main benefit of peripheral nerve stimulation is that it is an effective treatment method for patients who are experiencing chronic pain and who haven’t been able to find relief. It is especially helpful for patients who would like to reduce or forfeit their need for taking opioid-based medications to alleviate their pain symptoms. 


While peripheral nerve stimulation is considered a relatively safe and minimally-invasive procedure, there still are risks involved. The most common risks or complications include bleeding or infection at the injection site, nerve damage, buildup of scar tissue, electrode failure, and lack of pain relief. 


The best way to reduce your chance of risks is to partner with a trained pain management specialist who can accurately and efficiently place the electrode so that the procedure is as successful as possible. 


If you are suffering with chronic pain and have yet to find relief, please schedule an appointment with the Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists in the Reno, Sparks and Carson City areas today. We are dedicated to helping our family of patients find the relief they absolutely need. Peripheral nerve stimulation has proven to provide extended pain relief from several chronic pain conditions and we are happy to determine if you can benefit from this treatment now and for the future.

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