Florida Spine & Pain Management Institute

Understanding Peripheral Nerve Stimulation: A Simple Explanation

Understanding Peripheral Nerve Stimulation: A Simple Explanation

Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) is a medical treatment that helps people manage pain and improve their quality of life. Here’s a clear look at what it involves and the conditions it can help with. 

What is Peripheral Nerve Stimulation (PNS)?

Imagine tiny electrical pulses traveling to specific nerves in your body. That’s exactly what happens with peripheral nerve stimulation. It’s like a gentle message sent to your nerves, helping to change how pain signals are sent to your brain. 

How Does Peripheral Nerve Stimulation Work? 

Our Interventional Pain Management physician, Dr. Javier Placer, places small devices, often called stimulators, near the nerves causing pain. These devices send mild electrical signals to those nerves. This helps reduce pain by interfering with the pain signals before they reach your brain. It’s a bit like turning down the volume on pain messages. 

What Conditions Does It Treat? 

Peripheral nerve stimulation can be very helpful for certain types of pain that haven’t responded well to other treatments. Some common conditions treated with PNS include: 

  1. Chronic Back Pain: Especially pain that radiates down the legs (sciatica). 
  2. Neuropathy: Nerve damage that causes numbness, tingling, or pain, often in the hands or feet. 
  3. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS): A condition where pain is intense and affects a limb, often after an injury. 
  4. Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD): Pain in the legs due to poor circulation. 
  5. Post-Amputation Pain: Pain that continues after a limb has been removed. 

During this minimally invasive procedure:

  1. You lie on your stomach.
  2. Your skin is sterilized at the injection site.
  3. You will be administered a local anesthetic to numb the injection site.
  4. Dr. Placer inserts wires (leads) through a needle, under your skin and into the area near the targeted peripheral nerve.
  5. These leads are then connected externally to a smartphone-sized electrical pulse generator you carry during the initial test period.

Why Choose Peripheral Nerve Stimulation? This treatment is chosen when other methods like medications or physical therapy haven’t given enough relief. It’s also considered when surgery might be too risky or not the best option. 

Is It Safe?  Yes,  PNS is a way to manage pain by using gentle electrical pulses near specific nerves. It’s effective for various conditions like chronic back pain, neuropathy, and complex regional pain syndrome. If you’re experiencing persistent pain that hasn’t improved with other treatments, talking to Dr. Placer about PNS might be a step towards feeling better

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