Neuromodulation for pain involves medical devices that apply controlled energy to targets parts of the nervous systems. Forms of neuromodulation for pain include Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS), Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS).
The regulatory status of each of these technologies for pain varies depending on where in the world you are. This summary is therefore not medical advice but a summary of available options. Talk to your doctor about what is right for you.
Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) for Pain
Spinal cord stimulation is a therapy that masks pain signals before they reach the brain. A medical device, like a pacemaker, is implanted in the body to deliver electrical pulses to the spinal cord. So this is an invasive technology which as it associated risks and costs.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for Pain
TMS is a neuromodulatory technique that applies magnetic pulses to the brain via a ‘wand (coil). An electric current is delivered to the coil, which then generates an electrical current in the brain. TMS for pain is non-invasive but requires treatment at a doctor’s office.
transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) for Pain
Transcranial Direct-Current Stimulation (tDCS) for pain is a portable, wearable brain stimulation technique that delivers a low electric current to the scalp. tDCS is special in that it both affects the brain directly, is portable, and suitable for home use.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) for Pain
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) for Pain is a well-established technique where a wearable device applies pules of electrical to targeted parts of the body. The pulses produced by the TENS devices activate both deep nerves and muscles, reducing pain symptoms.