Central neuropathic pain can result from any type of injury to the central nervous system. Treatment of central neuropathic pain is very challenging. Recently, a novel stimulation paradigm, called burst stimulation, has been presented as an excellent alternative in a group of patients with intractable central neuropathic pain. We report 2 cases where burst spinal cord stimulation (SCS) was applied in patients with neuropathic pain due to spinal cord injury (SCI) or traumatic brain injury.
A 52-year-old man who underwent posterolateral fusion surgery for a T12 bursting fracture after a fall 11 years prior developed disabling pain in the anterolateral part of his right thigh. His neuropathic pain following SCI was refractory to various treatment modalities. A 65-year-old man had complained of intractable, cold, throbbing, and shooting pain mainly in his left lower limb during rehabilitation since undergoing a craniotomy 9 years prior for multiple brain injuries caused by a motorcycle accident.
Both of these 2 cases were diagnosed with central neuropathic pain syndrome caused by SCI or traumatic brain injury.
Burst SCS were proposed to alleviate the significant refractory pains that were resistant to various medications and stimulation was delivered to the patient in an alternating pattern between traditional tonic and burst waveforms.
The efficacy of burst SCS in central neuropathic pain is desirable considering the severity of pain in such patients, the refractory nature of their pain, and the paucity of alternative therapeutic options.