The use of cranial electrotherapy stimulation in the management of chronic pain: a review

Kirsch, Daniel L. and Smith, Ray B. The use of cranial electrotherapy stimulation in the management of chronic pain: a review. NeuroRehabilitation, 14(2):85-94, 2000. Download Article.

This is the thirtieth published review of cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES), however it is the first to review this modality for the treatment of pain. CES has a growing history of applications in rehabilitation medicine in the United States dating back to early 1970. As a recognized non-drug treatment of anxiety, depression and insomnia, CES gained its first major application in the field of addiction treatment and rehabilitation. By the mid 1980s research was showing additional important uses of CES in the treatment of closed head injured patients, and in paraplegic and quadriplegic patients. The most recent research is showing CES to be highly effective in the management of chronic pain patients. It may be elevating the pain threshold due to its stress reducing effects when anxiety and depression are reduced below clinical levels. Modern theorists of a pain neuromatrix in the cerebral cortex may provide an additional basis for understanding CES mechanisms in the control of pain related disorders.

This comprehensive review article covers the following areas in which CES is now in use (with 44 references):

Research in Rehabilitation Medicine

Rehabilitation of addicted persons

The use of CES in paraplegic and quadriplegic patients

The use of CES in Closed Head Injured Patients

The use of CES in physical therapy

Research in chronic pain patients

Research in spinal pain

Research in fibromyalgia

Research in headaches

Research on dental pain

Studies of anesthetic equivalency