Depression and chronic pain are sometimes seen as invisible illnesses. This means finding the right treatment can be difficult.
But invisible illnesses are just as prominent in the population as visible illnesses. In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2017 there were 17.3 million adults in the US had at least one major depressive episode.
Elsewhere, research shows that 20% of US adults suffer from chronic pain. The suffering that people experience with these illnesses is very real, so they need effective treatment. That’s where neuromodulation techniques might be able to help.
Keep reading to learn more about the neuromodulation technique. And find out whether this treatment can help relieve your pain.
What Is Neuromodulation?
Neuromodulation is a term to describe several medical techniques used to treat pain. It is often used to help enhance patients’ quality of life and as a way to control pain, rather than cure the problem. That said, many people who use neuromodulation techniques report improvement in their symptoms.
The various neuromodulation techniques can help with:
- chronic pain
- movement disorders
- Parkinson’s disease
- phantom limb pain
- spinal injuries
- urinary incontinence
- cardiac problems
- pelvic disorders
- complex regional pain syndrome
- bowel and bladder dysfunction
- ischemic disorders
- psychiatric disorders
- and visual or auditory disorders.
The treatment was first developed in the 1960s. It works by utilizing the power of electrical impulses for therapy purposes.
The electrodes create a tingling sensation and stop pain signals from going to the brain. The electrical impulses help the nervous system to function as it normally would.
A neuromodulation technique practitioner can determine where the electrodes need to be placed. This can ensure your specific pain and problems are relieved. Patients often turn to this treatment, after experiencing ineffective relief from traditional methods.
Neuromodulation techniques offer fewer side effects than other treatments. They can also provide more comfort to sufferers.
How Many Types of Neuromodulation Techniques Are There?
Invasive and non-invasive neuromodulation techniques are the two options. However, both have a variety of techniques.
As the name suggests, invasive neuromodulation techniques require surgery. These invasive treatments include deep brain stimulation and vagus nerve stimulation. Ablative neurosurgery and direct cortical stimulation can also be used.
Non-invasive neuromodulation techniques include:
- electroconvulsive therapy
- magnetic seizure therapy
- transcranial magnetic stimulation
- transcranial low voltage pulsed electromagnetic fields
- focal electrically administered seizure therapy
- transcranial direct current stimulation
- and cranial electrical stimulation.
Different techniques are used for different medical conditions. Techniques used may also vary depending on the severity of pain.
For example, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is used to treat patients with severe depression. ECT was previously used before the use of antidepressants to treat mental illnesses.
Nowadays, the ECT procedure is a little different from how it was previously given. It’s only for those with severe depression, who have tried other treatments but found them ineffective.
In fact, new techniques are coming about, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS therapy is for those with severe depression too. However, TMS comes with the benefits of not having cognitive and memory side effects.
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is frequently used to help with chronic pain management. Those who receive SCS treatment usually report how it helps to relieve chronic pain. Those with chronic pain might also benefit from deep brain stimulation.
How Does the Neuromodulation Technique Work?
Different types of neuromodulation techniques vary in how they work. However, the concept is similar. A device stimulates the patient’s nerves to produce a natural biological response.
Electrodes are applied to the brain, spinal cord, or peripheral nerves. The application can either be on the skin or can be delivered to the nerves.
The device then releases a low-voltage current which is sent to the nerve. The current prevents pain signals from getting to the brain.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Neuromodulation Techniques?
One advantage of neuromodulation techniques is that they are a cost-effective treatment. Over time, medications and therapies can cost a lot of money and take a lot of time trying to find the right help. Sometimes the time and money invested results in very little reward and the treatments aren’t effective.
Many patients find that neuromodulation techniques help to effectively manage pain and symptoms. This is usually the case when medications or therapy hasn’t helped.
The techniques often come with fewer side effects than other traditional treatments. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t any side effects.
Some patients find that the techniques result in blood clots or infections. Everybody’s nervous system is unique, which means that the treatment might not work for you or that you experience side effects.
If you’ve been experiencing pain then you might want to try neuromodulation techniques. Speak to your doctor to find out whether this form of treatment is right for you.
Your doctor will be able to discuss the techniques that are right for your condition. They will also be able to guide you through what you can expect from the treatment. After which, they might refer you to a specialist.
Treat Your Pain or Depression With Neuromodulation Techniques
Long term pain and suffering can cause many problems, both physically and psychologically. If you’ve tried medications and therapies and nothing is working, try neuromodulation.
Neuromodulation techniques are an alternative to traditional treatments. They might be able to help improve your condition and relieve your pain.
Discover some of our other health articles for the latest tips on how to stay healthy. Or have a look at some of our other lifestyle articles.