UC Irvine Pain Medicine Center

Interventional Neuromodulation Techniques

Spinal Cord Stimulation

A spinal cord stimulator, also known as a dorsal column stimulator, is an implantable device used to treat chronic nerve or cardiac-based pain. This technique of neuromodulation involves the placement of small electrodes within the spinal canal. The tiny electrodes are capable of masking the patient’s usual perception of pain with a soothing and tingling sensation. The stimulation device is implanted via a small surgical incision with local anesthetic and a light sedative.

Prior to implantation, all patients are offered a trial stimulation device, which is left in place for two or three days, and removed safely in our clinic. This allows the patient to determine if an implant is the best method to relieve their type of pain. Spinal cord stimulation is offered to select patients after a thorough evaluation with our pain specialists. Contact us today to schedule an evaluation.

Radiofrequency Neuromodulation

Radiofrequency neuromodulation is an interventional pain procedure that is performed as a treatment for nerves that act as pain generators. These abnormal nerves are gently treated using a special radiofrequency device that will block pain signals from reaching the brain. This procedure is capable of providing long-term relief and is safely performed in our clinic by our pain management specialists.

There are many indications for this treatment modality including: occipital neuralgia (headache), facetogenic cervical pain (neck pain), post herpetic neuralgia (mid-back pain after shingles), and facetogenic lumbar pain (low back pain). Our patients can expect a pleasant and calming atmosphere during this procedure.

During the procedure, a numbing medication is applied to the skin prior to insertion of a small needle adjacent to the pain-generating nerve tissue – this is identified by stimulating the area of usual pain with gentle “buzzing” sensation. Next, a special needle tip is inserted to treat each painful area. This safe procedure can be performed with a light sedative and local anesthetic. Contact our pain experts today and schedule an evaluation.