Neuromodulation

The use of electrical stimulation to alter nerve activity

Used to treat and enhance quality of life in individuals who suffer severe chronic illness due to persistent pain

About Neuromodulation

Neuromodulation is used to treat and enhance quality of life in individuals who suffer severe chronic illness due to persistent pain including:

  • spinal injury
  • movement disorders
  • epilepsy
  • ischaemia
  • spasticity
  • cardiac, bowel and bladder dysfunction
  • visual, auditory and specific psychiatric disorders.

The treatment usually involves implanting a small device that delivers low-voltage electrical impulses to specific areas of the body. The impulses then alter pain signals in transit to the brain. By introducing stimulus to the nervous system, neuromodulation can increase or decrease nerve activity, helping to alleviate pain symptoms by normalising levels of activity in the brain.

Need to know

  • What happens during neuromodulation treatment? icon plus

    Neuromodulation treatment is normally carried out with a local anaesthetic. Your consultant will likely follow these steps:

    • Implant a device called a neurostimulator. This is placed just under the skin of your buttock. The device is around the size of a £2 coin, and has a battery which lasts up to five years.
    • A thin lead connected to the neurostimulator is also implanted in your lower back, at the base of your spine. This allows the device to control your muscles, which receive messages sent from your brain down the nerve routes of your spinal cord.
  • Prior to treatment icon plus

    To ensure neuromodulation is suitable, your consultant will take you through an evaluation phase. This may include the following:

    • A temporary wire is inserted. This wire is connected to an external device worn around your waist. This device sends stimulation messages to your nerves.
    • You'll then need to record your activity for up to two weeks. After two weeks your consultant will discuss your results with you. They will ask how you felt with the device implanted, and if you experienced any side effects. This will determine the next approach of fitting your neurostimulator.
  • After treatment icon plus

    Recovery time varies for different neuromodulation treatments. Your consultant will advise you on when you can get back to your usual routine, including work or exercise. It is likely you will need to stay in hospital as an inpatient for a short time. When you are allowed to go home, your consultant will arrange for you to have a follow-up appointment. Implants are often fitted for the long term as their purpose is to help treat permanent conditions. As a result, their success as a treatment can be monitored on an ongoing basis.

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading pain medicine and neurosurgery experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our locations

From complex nerve surgery to diagnostic tests and procedures, we provide exceptional pain management care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment

Our team can help with any enquiries or you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

Call us today

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
back to top