Literature Review: Mechanism, Indications, and Clinical Efficacy of Peripheral Nerve Stimulators in Lower Extremity Pain

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2024 Mar 21. doi: 10.1007/s11916-024-01240-8. Online ahead of print.


Purpose of review: Lower extremity pain is deemed by Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be a significant source of chronic pain in adults. If not appropriately managed, patients are subjected to risks of prolonged musculoskeletal dysfunction, disruption to quality of life, and elevated healthcare expenditures. Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) has shown great potential in recent years demonstrating efficacy in multiple diagnoses ranging from acute post-surgical pain to complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). This study seeks to delineate efficacy of peripheral neuromodulation in the context of chronic lower extremity pain.

Recent findings: Prevailing clinical studies demonstrate evidence levels ranging from II to V (Oxford Centre of Level of Evidence) in lower limb PNS, attaining positive outcomes in pain scores, opioid use, and quality of life measures. Nerves most frequently targeted are the sciatic and femoral nerves with post-amputation pain and CRPS most commonly investigated for efficacy. PNS is a promising therapeutic modality demonstrated to be effective for a variety of nociceptive and neuropathic pain conditions in the lower extremity. PNS offers chronic pain physicians a powerful tool in the multi-modal management of lower limb chronic pain.

Keywords: Leg pain; Lower extremity pain; Neuropathic pain; Peripheral nerve stimulation.

Publication types

  • Review