Friend of blog, Vitaly Napadow, has an interesting study looking at ear stimulation for pelvic pain. His group used transcutaneous-vagus nerve stimulation (t-VNS) synchronized with the exhalation phase of respiration to study the response to chronic pelvic pain. They compared this synchronized auricular stim to non-vagal auricular stim. This is a patient population characterized by its chronicity and hence sensitization to pain. The intervention decreased pain measures and anxiety measure. Promising? And certainly food for thought and future protocols.
Pain Med. 2012 May 8. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2012.01385.x. [Epub ahead of print]
Evoked Pain Analgesia in Chronic Pelvic Pain Patients Using Respiratory-Gated Auricular Vagal Afferent Nerve Stimulation.
Napadow V, Edwards RR, Cahalan CM, Mensing G, Greenbaum S, Valovska A, Li A, Kim J, Maeda Y, Park K, Wasan AD.
Conclusion. Chronic pain disorders such as CPP are in great need of effective, nonpharmacological options for treatment. RAVANS produced promising antinociceptive effects for quantitative sensory testing (QST) outcomes reflective of the noted hyperalgesia and central sensitization in this patient population. Future studies should evaluate longer-term application of RAVANS to examine its effects on both QST outcomes and clinical pain.