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January 2022

J Neurosurg. 1984 Jul; 61(1): 149-55.

Pain relief from peripheral conditioning stimulation in patients with chronic facial pain.

Eriksson MB, Sjölund BH, Sundbrg G.

In a prospective study, 50 consecutive patients, referred to a pain treatment unit for surgery to alleviate various forms of facial pain, were all given transcutaneous nerve stimulation (TNS) therapy and followed for 2 years. Of the 44 patients remaining at the 2-year follow-up review, 20 (45%) reported satisfactory analgesia from conventional or acupuncture-like TNS. The latter technique markedly improved the overall results. No serious side effects were seen. Atypical facial pain of known etiology responded best to treatment, but satisfactory relief was often produced with tic douloureux. Duration of the pain condition as well as sex of the patient were predictors of treatment results. It is concluded that TNS therapy represents a valid alternative to surgery when pharmacological therapy fails, especially in the elderly and in patients with atypical facial pain.

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