Neurostimulation is the use of electrical impulses to block or restore nervous system function and sensation. It is used for pain control but is also used in non-painful medical conditions like anxiety, IBS, depression, or other syndromes involving an imbalance of autonomic tone.
Neurostimulation could be considered the game-changer in pain medicine because it has the ability to significantly reduce and sometimes completely eliminate chronic pain in many people. It does this by ‘closing the gate’ to pain signals that travel up the spinal cord. When used for pain control, neurostimulation blocks the pain signals as they travel up the spinal cord.
The treatment for neurostimulation reduces abnormal nerve activity through the delivery of electrical dialogue to the master control switch, which is the anterior hypothalamus.
The nervous system is divided into two parts: the voluntary and the involuntary. The Involuntary nervous system is also called the autonomic nervous system. It controls all the processes which are unconscious such as digestion, heart rate, blushing, fainting and the like.
The autonomic system (ANS) is divided into two systems: the sympathetic (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic ( rest and relaxation or faint). The anterior hypothalamus is a structure in our brains responsible for controlling the ANS. It resides close to the limbic region or region of the brain which has a lot to do with emotion. For many people, repetitive stress can lead to an imbalance of the ANS. Stress can be in the form of emotional, physical or chemical triggers.
While the sympathetic system is necessary for fleeing, blood clotting, inflammation and increased adrenaline, if that system is constantly over-riding the parasympathetic, healing can not happen.
Autonomic biofeedback involves measuring electrical impedance with a handheld device and sending electrical signals back up to the part of the brain responsible for the control – the anterior hypothalamus. These devices were created out of the cosmonaut program, and the signals which were used have been incorporated into more modern and smarter devices. Some of the devices used are Scenar, Physioke, and the First TX.
Once the system has been balanced, healing can begin. Many patients report a sense of calmness and relief, in which both pain and anxiety relief can be immediate. Also, many patients only require one or two treatments total.
For more information, please read some of my blog entries which are listed under Autonomic Biofeedback