History of Neurostimulation

  • Timothy R. Deer


The use of electrical current has been an area of human interest since ancient times, most notably in Greece, where the development of ideas concerning electricity was abundant. It was the ancient Greeks who coined the word elektron to describe amber, a fossilized resin used to create sparks, and later this term would become the modern root of the word electricity. The use of electrical current to treat pain was first described by Greek physicians. The first documented use involved the release of electrically charged torpedo fish in clinical footbaths to treat prolonged headache. The use of electricity continued to develop in both Greece and Rome, and was more common in some communities, than herbs and other medicinal treatments. After the classical age of electrical medicine, published accounts of successful use of electricity to improve symptoms of pain were limited for many centuries, and the dark age of electrical treatment persisted for several centuries.


Deep Brain Stimulation Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Great Occipital Nerve Occipital Nerve Stimulation Motor Cortex Stimulation 
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Selected Reading

  1. Cameron T. Safety and efficacy of spinal cord stimulation for the treatment of chronic pain: a 20 year literature review. J Neurosurg. 2004;100(3):254–267.Google Scholar
  2. Henderson J. Peripheral nerve stimulation for chronic pain. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2008;12(1):28–31.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. North RB, Kidd DH, et al. Spinal cord stimulation versus repeated lumbosacral spine surgery for chronic pain: a randomized, controlled trial. Neurosurgery. 2005;56(1):98–107.Google Scholar
  4. Levy RM, Deer TR, Henderson J. Intracranial neurostimulation for pain control: a review. 2010;13(2):157–165.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Pain ReliefCharlestonUSA

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