Occipital Nerve Stimulation Helps Reduce Fibromyalgia-related Pain, Study Shows

Occipital Nerve Stimulation Helps Reduce Fibromyalgia-related Pain, Study Shows
A technique called occipital nerve stimulation (ONS) lessens pain in fibromyalgia patients by activating intrinsic nervous system pain inhibitory pathways, a study shows. The occipital nerves are two pairs of nerves that stem from near the second and third vertebrae of the neck and provide sensation to the back of the head up to the top, and behind the ears. ONS is a technique that uses small electrodes implanted under the skin and sends electrical impulses that travel through the occipital nerves inhibiting pain sensation. The approach has been proposed as a potential strategy to decrease fibromyalgia-related pain, but the neural mechanisms underlying the therapy's regulation of pain remain poorly understood. In the study, “The effect of occipital nerve field stimulation on the descending pain pathway in patients with fibromyalgia: a water PET and EEG imaging study,” published in the journal BMC Neurology, researchers investigated how ONS may inhibit pain in fibromyalgia. They analyzed seven fibromyalgia patients, all females at a mean age of 42, who had electrodes implanted under the skin. Participants were recruited from a large, double blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2 clinical trial (NCT00917176) assessing the effectiveness of ONS in fibromyalgia. Patients were stimulated at a sub-sensory threshold for two weeks, in which they underwent imaging by
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