You’ll encounter many options when visiting a pain management clinic for relief. Most mild to moderate pain patients can benefit from NSAIDs, painkillers, injections, nerve blockers, and other therapies.
However, chronic pain patients might not find consistent relief with such options. Peripheral nerve stimulation or PNS is an effective pain relief therapy you can consider. It’s safe and covered by various insurance companies.
How Does PNS Work In a Pain Management Clinic?
Peripheral nerve stimulation, or PNS, is just as its name suggests; a stimulation of the nerves extending beyond your brain and spinal cord. Together with your brain and spinal cord, the peripheral nerves make up the human nervous system.
The nerves extend from your brain and spinal cord and spread to the organs and extremities, such as fingertips. They are responsible for transmitting pain signals to your brain.
PNS involves stimulating the nerves that transmit pain signals using tiny outpatient implants. The patient will undergo minimally invasive surgery to plant a small device next to the affected nerve.
PNS devices share technical similarities with other devices but shouldn’t be confused with electrical stimulation systems like SNS and TENS. Here’s how peripheral nerve stimulation works in clinics.
1. Initial PNS Trials
If you are eligible for nerve stimulation, your doctor will perform various diagnostics to identify the pain-transmitting nerves. They will also run trials by connecting the stimulation device to an external device.
A PND implant is a small electrical device or wire-like electrode. Its thickness is nothing more than the size of human hair. However, the implant features a little generator capable of delivering rapid electrical pulses that stimulate the affected nerve.
2. Device Implant Surgery
If the initial tests are successful, the doctor can proceed with implantation through minimally invasive surgery. Since the implants are so tiny, PNS surgeries last under an hour and are almost painless.
Your clinician will use a local anesthetic around the incision area to mildly sedate your skin before the surgery. The doctor will then make a minor incision using a small needle and the help of ultrasound imaging to implant the device next to the affected nerve.
3. Remote Nerve Stimulation
PNS surgeries are handled by anesthesiologists and neurologists with special training in the procedure. Neurosurgeons and psychiatrists can also perform the implantation. After surgery, patients will be able to stimulate the nerve remotely, effectively relieving pain.
There are various devices, each with unique protocols. However, all have three essential parts; tiny wire electrodes, a power source battery, and a control device that allows patients to adjust the pulse setting.
Is PNS Safe and Effective for Chronic Pain?
Peripheral nerve stimulation is a safe and effective procedure that has proven results. It alters the pain signals and provides instant relief. Patients can also increase or reduce impulse intensity as needed.
Developed in the mid-1960s, PNS is more than five decades old. However, its popularity has grown tremendously over the few years, credit to nanotechnology. The tech allows for the engineering of tiny generators and devices.
Medicare and other private medical insurance companies cover the procedure because it is safe, tested, and effective. If you live in St. Louis, Missouri, make sure you choose the most trusted pain management center, such as St. Louis Pain Consultants.