California Pain Medicine Center offers cutting-edge neuromodulation techniques to help you manage chronic pain, tremors, incontinence, and more. Dr. Prager is a recognized expert in the field. Among many other accomplishments, he is the Past President of the North American Neuromodulation Society, from which he received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. Neuromodulation is one of the core services of Dr. Prager’s practice, helping patients take control of their symptoms and live happier, healthier lives.
What is neuromodulation?
The human nervous system works by the transmission of electrical impulses. These signals convey all varieties of pain and sensation, allowing organs to communicate with each other and the body to function. Neuromodulation is the altering, or modulating, of nerve activity using electrical or chemical means. By targeting specific nerves that transmit important information, neuromodulation devices inhibit or stimulate nerve activity to achieve the desired effect.
Neuromodulation is most commonly used for chronic pain relief, particularly by stimulating the spinal cord. However, there are many applications for the technique, including deep brain stimulation (DBS) to mitigate the effects of Parkinson’s disease and sacral nerve stimulation to control incontinence of the bowels. One of the most miraculous uses of neuromodulation is to restore hearing to deaf or hearing-impaired patients by using cochlear implants. While neuromodulation does not cure underlying conditions, it does provide essential relief from chronic symptoms and drastically improves patients’ well-being.
What are the types of neuromodulation?
There are two main classes of treatments, electric and pharmaceutical:
- Electric treatments involve the placement of electrodes to stimulate the brain, spinal cord, or peripheral nerves. The contacts, about the size of a grain of rice, are implanted beside the targeted nerves and powered by electrical pulses sent from a battery-operated generator, about the size of a stopwatch. Your doctor programs the pattern of electrical stimulation, which is customizable and determined by your feedback. Eventually, you will use a hand-held controller to turn your programs on, off, or switch between them.
- Pharmaceutical treatments deliver medication through pumps implanted close to the targeted nerve. Since the medication does not have to pass through your intestines and liver, the dosage can be around 1/300 the amount of an oral dose. Less medication means fewer side effects and greater comfort. You will need to return for regular checkups so your doctor can refill the drug reservoir.
Neuromodulation has made a huge difference in the lives of countless patients. Take advantage of Dr. Prager’s expertise and the high quality of care offered at California Pain Medicine Center. Call today to schedule an appointment and discuss how neuromodulation can help you manage symptoms and improve your quality of life.