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Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2008 Jan;12(1):28-31.

Peripheral nerve stimulation for chronic pain.

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  • 1Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Drive, Edwards Building/R-227, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Electrical stimulation has been used since ancient times to treat painful conditions. Electrotherapy for pain was largely consigned to the realm of quackery until the introduction of the Gate Control Theory by Melzack and Wall in 1965 provided a rationale for direct stimulation of peripheral nerves. Since that time, peripheral nerve stimulation has been applied to the treatment of painful conditions throughout the body, beginning with the major nerves of the extremities and culminating today in precise subcutaneous field stimulation targeted to specific areas of neuropathic pain. This article reviews the history, development, and current areas of interest in peripheral nerve stimulation for the treatment of neuropathic pain.

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