Peripheral nerve stimulation for neuropathic pain

Neurotherapeutics. 2008 Jan;5(1):100-6. doi: 10.1016/j.nurt.2007.11.005.


Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) has been used for treatment of neuropathic pain for more than 40 years. Recent resurgence of interest to this elegant surgical modality came from the introduction of less invasive implantation techniques and the wider acceptance of neuromodulation as a treatment of medically refractory cases. This article reviews the literature on the use of PNS for neuropathic pain and describes current indications and hardware choices in frequent use. Published experience indicates that neuropathic pain responds to PNS in many patients. PNS works well in both established indications, such as post-traumatic and postsurgical neuropathy, occipital neuralgia, and complex regional pain syndromes, and in relatively new indications for neuromodulation, such as migraines and daily headaches, cluster headaches, and fibromyalgia. Future research and growing clinical experience will help in identifying the best candidates for PNS, choosing the best procedure and best hardware for each individual patient, and defining adequate expectations for patients and pain specialists.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / trends
  • Humans
  • Neuralgia / etiology
  • Neuralgia / pathology
  • Neuralgia / therapy*
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiology*
  • Peripheral Nerves / radiation effects*