The Effect of Various Spinal Neurostimulation Paradigms on the Supraspinal Somatosensory Evoked Response: A Systematic Review

Laurien J. Reinders*, Janne A.M. Luijten, Sander P.G. Frankema, Frank J.P.M. Huygen, Cecile C. de Vos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlePopular

Abstract

Introduction: 

Spinal neurostimulation is a therapy for otherwise intractable chronic pain. Spinal neurostimulation includes stimulation of the spinal cord (SCS), dorsal root ganglion (DRGS), and dorsal root entry zone (DREZS). New paresthesia-free neurostimulation paradigms may rely on different mechanisms of action from those of conventional tonic neurostimulation. The aim of this systematic review is to assess the existing knowledge on the effect of spinal neurostimulation on somatosensory processing in patients with chronic pain. We therefore reviewed the existing literature on the effect of various spinal neurostimulation paradigms on the supraspinal somatosensory evoked response (SER). 

Materials and Methods: 

Multiple scientific data bases were searched for studies that assessed the effect of spinal neurostimulation on the supraspinal SER, evoked by painful or nonpainful peripheral stimuli in patients with chronic pain. We found 205 studies, of which 24 were included. Demographic data, study design, and study outcome were extracted. 

Results: 

Of the 24 included studies, 23 used electroencephalography to assess the SER; one study used magnetoencephalography. Fifteen studies evaluated tonic SCS; six studies (also) evaluated paresthesia-free paradigms; three studies evaluated the effect of tonic DRGS or DREZS. Sixteen studies used nonpainful stimuli to elicit the SER, 14 observed a decreased SER amplitude. Ten studies used painful stimuli to elicit the SER, yielding mixed results. Discussion: The included studies suggest that both paresthesia-based and paresthesia-free spinal neurostimulation paradigms can decrease (part of) the SER elicited by a nonpainful peripheral stimulus. The observed SER amplitude reduction likely is the effect of various spinal and supraspinal mechanisms of spinal neurostimulation that also contribute to pain relief. 

Conclusions: 

Spinal neurostimulation modulates the processing of a peripherally applied nonpainful stimulus. For painful stimuli, the results are not conclusive. It is not yet clear whether paresthesia-free neurostimulation affects the SER differently from paresthesia-based neurostimulation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuromodulation
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 May 2024

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