This is topic CORRECTION Neurostimulation for neuropathic pain relief in forum Medical Questions at LymeNet Flash.

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Posted by hshbmom (Member # 9478) on :
I was mistaken. This does NOT involve brain surgery!

Alpha neurostimulation is applied by a hand held, battery operated device. The leads clip to your ear lobes. It's purpose is to interrupt the nerve perception in patients with neuropathic pain.

Has anyone here tried this method of pain relief?

There aren't many options when opiates don't scratch the surface of neuropathic pain.

Does this work for any of you?

Does insurance pay for this device?

[ 01-30-2009, 11:22 PM: Message edited by: hshbmom ]
Posted by sparkle7 (Member # 10397) on :
There's no way I would get a brain implant...
Posted by hshbmom (Member # 9478) on :
There is a slim list of other options, such as methadone or methadone or methadone.

[ 01-30-2009, 11:11 PM: Message edited by: hshbmom ]
Posted by sparkle7 (Member # 10397) on :
I'm sorry you're in pain. I know it's bad...

I've heard that methadone can be an option. I met someone who was using it & she said it was really helpful. I think it does have some side effects like constipation. I think it would be preferable to a brain implant.

When I'm in pain, oxycontin works pretty well for me. It just doesn't seem like they have alot of experience with brain implants, yet.

I wouldn't want to be the first to try it. It's probably going to take them some time to perfect it.

Maybe it would be an option in 5 or 10 years from now...?
Posted by hopeandhealth (Member # 17605) on :
Oxycontin didn't touch my pain. I kept taking it every day in hopes that it would. I just had a week and a half of HELL getting off of it.

The only thing that helps are benzos....and they help with the tight muscles that make my life hell. But there's just not enough of them to go around - tolerance.
Posted by hshbmom (Member # 9478) on :
Hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, oxymorphone, fentanyl patches...all worthless for this pain.

I wonder if the pain relief with methadone is great, or just a minute bit?

Any relief would be great. It would beat disability and a life of agony due to unrelenting pain.

I can only hope that the nerves will heal with continued treatment.
Posted by sparkle7 (Member # 10397) on :
hopeandhealth - Statistically, it's pretty rare to become addicted to oxycontin if you take it for pain. You must have been taking alot to have had a bad withdrawal.

People can build up tolerances... I'm sorry you had to go through a bad withdrawal. I don't think it's typical for people who use it for pain, though. Maybe you stopped them too quickly instead of gradually decreasing the dosage?

Pain meds can be a lifesaver. I just don't want anyone reading this to be afraid to take opiods if they are in pain. There are alot of misconceptions about them.


Is OxyContin Addictive?

Like all opioids, OxyContin is potentially highly addictive. Even pain patients who use the drug as prescribed are advised not to suddenly stop taking OxyContin, but gradually reduce the dosage to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

However, very few people who take OxyContin as prescribed ever become addicted to the drug.

Abusers of the drug, who take higher than prescribed dosage, can develop a tolerance for OxyContin which can cause them to take ever-increasing larger amounts to achieve the same effect. They can become addicted or dependent on the drug quickly.
Posted by hopeandhealth (Member # 17605) on :
I took it for 3 months only twice a day at 30mg...on a bad day, I'd take it 3 times. I was allowed 4 times a day. I saw a show on t.v. about how addictive it was and these people were having the hardest time getting off of it.

That was enough for me. I did do a stupid thing though, I underestimated the withdrawal. I stopped cold turkey and toughed it out. It was hell on earth. Almost as bad as my Lyme...or worse!

I took a very low dose, as I understand that they have or *had* a 160mg pill....and I was taking 30mg...and only twice a day the major majority of the times.

And to anyone out there who needs pain meds....take them! In NO WAY was I trying to scare people away from pain meds. There was a huge disagreement between me and my ex llmd, he didn't think that his Lyme patients needed anything for pain (and just needed to pray). That sealed the deal for me, and now I'm llmdless.

I am the type of person that if there's a drug to help me, I'll take it. I would suggest that if you are in pain and have Lyme, and we all know how drawn out this disease can be....there's really no point in "toughing it out".

Posted by sparkle7 (Member # 10397) on :
To me, 30mg is pretty high. I have 5mg pills & I only take a half of one when I need it. My doctor originally gave me 10mg but I told him I was only taking 1/4 of a pill.

They say on the label that you shouldn't cut the pill but I didn't pay attention to it. I think they put that there for people who abuse them. People addicted to them, crush them up & snort them to override the time release.

I think I would be high as a kite if I took 30mg... I'm pretty sensitive to drugs. I can see why you would have had withdrawal symptoms, H&H.

I always take the smallest amount & work it up if I need more.

There are also other ways to deal with pain. I have tried biofeedback, meditation CDs, alternating hot & cold baths or therapy, massage, light exercise, etc. Some of these things can help. It may not be a cure but they do help to take a bit of the edge off.

There is evidence that exercise can help. It is hard to exercise when you are in pain but raising the endorphins can be helpful.
Posted by Nicoles Mom (Member # 14408) on :
My daughter takes 240 - 320 mg of oxycontin a day plus demerol and still sometimes writhes in pain.

That is not a typo.
Posted by Doomer (Member # 11013) on :
The stimulator is not implanted in the brain it is implanted in the epidural space. Here is a description of how they work.

Neurostimulation delivers low voltage electrical stimulation to the spinal cord or targeted peripheral nerve to block the sensation of pain. Neurostimulation activates the body's pain inhibitory system. According to the gate control theory, there is a gate in the spinal cord that controls the flow of noxious pain signals to the brain. The theory suggests that the body can inhibit these pain signals or "close the gate" by activating certain non-noxious nerve fibers in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. The neurostimulation system, implanted in the epidural space, stimulates these pain-inhibiting nerve fibers, masking the sensation of pain with a tingling sensation (paresthesia).1,2

There are also pain pumps that are surgically implanted. The pump is placed abdominally in a subcutaneous pocket, while the catheter is inserted into the intrathecal space of the spine, tunneled under the skin and connected to the pump. Medication can be delivered at constant or variable flow rates.
Intrathecal drug delivery places medication directly into the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the spinal cord. Morphine or other opiates are delivered directly to the intrathecal space is particularly effective because it does not have to circulate systemically to reach the CSF and the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. As a result, much smaller doses are needed.
Posted by hshbmom (Member # 9478) on :
I should have been more specific. I'm talking about alpha stimulation for the relief of severe chronic neuropathic pain.

The leads are NOT implanted in the brain; they attach to your ear lobes by a clip. The device is a hand held, battery operated unit.

See the news clips at

Carol, thank you for the vitamin information!

[ 01-30-2009, 11:17 PM: Message edited by: hshbmom ]
Posted by hshbmom (Member # 9478) on :
Anther pain control method:

Take pharmaceutical grade amino acids orally, to support the production of neurotransmitters such as seratonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.

Dietary supplementation of these amino acids allow the body to produce essential neurochemicals. I know I'm not explaining this well.


The initial cost is about $ 150.00-175.00 per month.

Benefit: This is not a medication, therefore there are no likely drug interactions or side effects.
Posted by Doomer (Member # 11013) on :

I think you will find that very few anesthesiology/pain management doctors use this alpha stimulation. In addition this dr is using it mainly for headaches and FM not necessarly neuropathic pain.

Interventional anesthesiology pain management physicians will use the technology that has been widely studied and published ie, neurostimulation and pain pumps. Typcially, neurostimulation is applied for chronic neuropatic pain.
Posted by KS (Member # 12549) on :
I know of someone who tried this (connected to spine, not brain) and it didn't provide him any relief. Unreal what he had to go through to even be allowed to try it....

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