Spinal cord stimulation: Neurophysiological and neurochemical mechanisms of action

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Chronic neuropathic pain can significantly reduce quality of life and place an economic burden on individuals and society. Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is an alternative approach to the treatment of neuropathic pain when standard pharmacological agents have failed. However, an improved understanding of the mechanisms by which SCS inhibits pain is needed to enhance its clinical utility. This review summarizes important findings from recent studies of SCS in animal models of neuropathic pain, highlights current understanding of the spinal neurophysiological and neurochemical mechanisms by which SCS produces an analgesic effect, and discusses the potential clinical applicability of these findings and future directions for research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-225
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent pain and headache reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Dorsal horn
  • Gamma-aminobutyric acid
  • Gate-control
  • Nerve injury
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Neurophysiology
  • Pain modulation
  • Rat
  • Serotonin
  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • Wide-dynamic-range neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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