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Clinical Applications of Neurostimulation: Forty Years Later

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With the recent technological advances, neurostimulation has provided new hope for millions of patients with debilitating chronic pain conditions that respond poorly to other therapies. Outcome research demonstrated that patients with failed back surgery syndrome and complex regional pain syndromes benefit significantly from neurostimulation in pain reduction, functional capacity, and quality of life. Increasing clinical evidence supports the use of neurostimulation in post-herpetic neuralgia, peripheral neuropathy, occipital neuralgia, and other neuropathic pain conditions. Strong clinical evidences indicate that neurostimulation offers less invasive and more effective therapies for many patients with ischemic pain caused by cardiovascular and peripheral vascular diseases. A growing body of literature supports neurostimulation for visceral pain in general and interstitial cystitis in particular. As a basic principle, patient selection for the appropriate neurostimulation modalities is essential for safe, efficacious, and cost-effective applications of this therapy. Research with more vigorous designs is needed to establish evidence-based applications of neuromodulation therapy in emerging indications of pain management.

Keywords: back pain; central nervous system stimulation; complex regional pain syndrome; failed back surgery syndrome; ischemic pain; review; spinal cord stimulation; visceral pain

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Pain Management, Anesthesiology Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio; 2: The Center for Pain Relief, Charleston, West Virginia, U.S.A.

Publication date: March 1, 2010


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