Researchers: Amol Soin, MD, of the Kettering Innovation Center and the Ohio Pain Clinic explains the research. In the first human test of the technology, patients with chronic amputation pain, which affects nearly one million patients in the United States, four of five patients reported their pain was reduced to zero. Total elimination of chronic pain is very difficult to achieve, says Soin. The results were announced at the International Neuromodulation Society’s World Congress in London in May.
Purpose: To block the pain signal at or near the point of origination, in the peripheral nerves, without the use
How it works: Nerve block utilizes high-frequency stimulation to block the action potential of the nerve, stopping the pain signal from traveling from the peripheral nerves to the spinal column to the brain. The system consists of an implantable stimulator, which is connected to a cuff electrode. The cuff electrode is attached to the peripheral nerve.
Potential improvement: High-frequency electrical nerve-block technology has the potential to eliminate chronic pain, including amputation pain, chronic postsurgical pain, chronic migraine, and trigeminal neuralgia, without the use of drugs. Other pain management therapies use narcotic-driven medication, have strong side effects, and can lead to addiction and drug interactions. The new technology completely blocks the pain signal, as opposed to masking it or adding a tingling effect, which is common with many other neuromodulation therapies for chronic pain, such as spinal cord stimulation.
What’s Next: The device is in trials and is pending FDA approval.