Spinal Magnetic Stimulation as an Emerging Treatment for Neuropathic Pain


What is neuropathic pain?

Neuropathic pain occurs when the central nervous system or the peripheral nerves are damaged. Peripheral neuropathy usually begins in the longest nerves of the body, such as the feet and hands. As the condition progresses, it moves up the arms and legs.

Because the spine and nerves are intertwined and work together, issues in the spine can cause nerve pain. Lumbar herniated disc is a common form of nerve pain that occurs when a disc between the vertebrae becomes herniated and places pressure on a spinal nerve root. Once the nerves become damaged and neuropathy becomes an issue, false signals are sent from the peripheral nervous system and central nervous system to the spinal cord, and then to the brain.

What is spinal magnetic stimulation?

Spinal magnetic stimulation (SMS) is a treatment option for neuropathic pain that is being researched. The individual receiving the treatment lies face-down with a pillow under their lower abdomen. A coil connected to a magnetic stimulator is placed on the lower back, while groups of five pulses of 10 Hz each are delivered through the coil. Five seconds are between each grouping of five.

Clinical trials are underway regarding SMS as a treatment for various conditions, including nerve pain. One clinical trial is specifically investigating SMS as a treatment of intractable neuropathic pain of the lower limbs. This randomized placebo-controlled trial found that pain relief was immediate following treatment and lasted up to four days.

Spinal magnetic stimulation could be promising and has no evidence of adverse reactions. Additional studies are needed for the efficacy and safety of SMS.

Additional source: Sage Journals