Nerve Stimulation Implant to Treat Fibromyalgia
We know that there are several different conditions that are related to, or caused by, fibromyalgia. However, the main complaint that leads to a diagnosis of fibro is neurological pain. There are countless treatments for the many symptoms of fibro, but relatively few for the main cause of neuropathic pain. A long utilized treatment, called Nerve Stimulation Implant (NSI) (or Spinal Cord Stimulation), is showing great promise as a means to help reduce the nerve pain associated with fibromyalgia. Here is closer look at NST, and what the outlook is for it’s use in treating fibromyalgia.
Nerve Stimulation Implant therapy is a widely accepted treatment for individuals who experience chronic pain and are unresponsive to other treatments. The most common use so far is for neuropathic pain related to failed back surgery. NSI is performed by inserting a lead along the spinal nerve through an injection. The lead has electrodes on it that send electric signals to the nerve, similar to an internal TENS unit. The lead is attached to an external battery for about a week or two. If the patient has good results with NSI, then a permanent battery pack is inserted under the skin. The electrodes can be inserted in the low back or the neck, depending on where the patient’s pain is located. The electrodes send electrical current to the nerves that blocks the sending pain signals to the brain. Not everyone will have relief from pain symptoms, and some cannot tolerate the tingling sensation of the electrodes. Many claim that if the electric current is too high, the patient becomes jittery and anxious. The results of NSI for treatment of fibro show that about 50-60% of the fibro patients given this treatment see lessened pain and increased quality of life after treatment.
The FDA has approved the treatment for trunk and limb pain, especially when associated with failed back surgery. However, more studies are needed for NSI to be approved for the treatment of Fibromyalgia. This means that the treatment is not covered by most insurance at this time. With a price tag around $90,000, it may be difficult for most fibro patients to afford. Hopefully, with the publishing of more studies about this treatment, NSI will eventually be approved as a treatment for fibromyalgia. The treatment is reserved as a last resort for those that are resistant to other more conservative treatments. However, recent findings suggest that the sooner that the therapy is utilized after the onset of chronic pain, the better the results may be, and that perhaps it should not be left as a last resort in the future.
Nerve Stimulation Implant Therapy is showing real promise as a treatment for Fibromyalgia. As more research and studies are done, This treatment will hopefully become more mainstream, and hopefully, will eventually be picked up by insurance companies as an approved procedure. Have you had Nerve Stimulation Implant Therapy? If so, please let us know your results in the comments.