Peripheral Nerve Stimulation for Fibromyalgia – Source: Progress in Neurological Surgery, Mar 21, 2011

[Note: This is one article in a collection of reports on peripheral nerve stimulation & the results of PNS studies for alleviation of different types of pain. PNS involves implanting a tiny electrode under the skin, placed so as to send electrical impulses along a nerve to block pain messages.]

Fibromyalgia is a condition marked by widespread chronic pain, accompanied by a variety of other symptoms, including sleep and fatigue disorders, headaches, disorders of the autonomic nervous system, as well as cognitive and psychiatric symptoms. It occurs predominantly in women and is often associated with other systemic or autoimmune diseases.

Despite its serious socio-economic burden, the treatment options remain poor.

In this chapter, the authors discuss the possibilities of using greater occipital nerve stimulation as a treatment for fibromyalgia, based on available clinical studies. [This nerve is located on the back of the head just above the neck area.]

Greater occipital nerve stimulation has already been used successfully to treat occipital neuralgia [pain in the upper neck, back of head & behind ears; sometimes the scalp, forehead, behind eyes] and various primary headache syndromes.

Testable hypothetical working mechanisms are proposed to explain the surprising effect of this treatment on widespread bodily pain.

Source: Progress in Neurological Surgery, Mar 21, 2011;24, pp 133-146. Plazier M, Vanneste S, Dekelver I, Thimineur M, De Ridder D. Brain, TRI and Departments of Neurosurgery and Physical therapy & Revalidation, University Hospital Antwerp, Belgium; Interventional Pain Medicine, Derby, Connecticut, USA.

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