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Temporary Peripheral Nerve Stimulation May Be Beneficial for Chronic Pain

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Pain scores decreased after temporary peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) as a treatment for chronic pain, according to a study published in Pain Therapy.

Chronic pain affects over 20.4% of adults in the United States, and around 8% of adults in the United States reported high-impact chronic pain in 2016. Noninvasive treatments are often used to treat chronic pain, but more invasive approaches may be required when patients do not experience relief after conventional therapy. However, more invasive treatment methods come with increased risk and the potential for higher costs. PNS has improved postoperative pain control, but the mechanisms leading to the therapeutic effects remain unclear. Therefore, researchers performed a retrospective study to assess the efficacy of PNS in patients with chronic pain affecting different body parts. The study included 89 patients with chronic pain receiving PNS therapy. Of these, the mean age was 62.21 years and patient’s pre-operative BMI was a mean of 31.03 kg/m2.

Patients had chronic pain affecting different body parts innervated by cervical, lumbar, thoracic, suprascapular, tibial, and peroneal nerves. Before undergoing PNS therapy, the average pain score reported by patients was 6.36 (with a standard deviation of 2.18 and a standard error of 0.23), whereas, after the therapy, the average pain score dropped to 4.19 (with a standard deviation of 2.70 and a standard error of 0.29). On average, patients reported a 49.0% improvement in pain following PNS therapy, with some reporting no improvement (0.00%) and others reporting significant improvement (100.00%). Overall, 23.6% of patients reported no improvement in their VAS pain scores. The mean duration of improvement for patients was 123 days after initiation of therapy.

Temporary PNS may be useful in the treatment of chronic pain refractory to more conventional treatment measures.

Study limitations include a small number of patients with a specific diagnosis before PNS therapy. Additionally, the stimulation parameters used for each patient were not recorded since they changed over time as patients adjusted their device settings.

Researchers concluded, “Temporary PNS may be useful in the treatment of chronic pain refractory to more conventional treatment measures.”

Disclosure: Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.

This article originally appeared on Clinical Pain Advisor


Abd-Elsayed A, Keith MK, Cao NN, Fiala KJ, Martens JM. Temporary peripheral nerve stimulation as treatment for chronic painPain Ther. Published online September 22, 2023. doi:10.1007/s40122-023-00557-3

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