Neuropathic Pain Biodesign Workshop
Chronic pain is an area of global concern with a prevalence of 11–19% in the adult population. Neuropathic pain is commonly seen in chronic pain sufferers and is caused by a lesion or disease of the somatosensory nervous system and can be a result of changes either centrally as in post-stroke pain, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, or in the periphery as in metabolic painful peripheral neuropathies as in diabetes, chemotherapy, alcoholism, infection,post-surgery as in post thoracotomy neuropathic pain and secondary to other causes. It is often described as a burning, shooting, electric shock like sensation, causing excruciating pain with associated sensitivity to mechanical or thermal stimuli and altered thresholds, which substantially impairs quality of life. A single etiology or specific lesion cannot explain these heterogeneous set of conditions. While regular painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol are generally not effective, specific nerve pain-killers such as anti-epileptics, anti-depressants or opioids are sometimes used but have numerous side effects and might only prove beneficial in one out of four patients.
There is a growing interest in non-pharmaceutical alternatives to manage neuropathic pain. Spinal cord stimulation has been in use for over three decades, is relatively safe, reversible and cost-effective long-term solution to manage neuropathic pain. Newer high frequency devices also provide paraesthesia-free stimulation. Brain computer interfaces can provide neurofeedback for the treatment of central neuropathic pain following injuries to the spinal cord. There have also been exciting recent developments on visual feedback therapies using virtual and augmented reality, optogenetics, transcranial magnetic stimulation techniques etc., to help with pain management for patients with spinal cord injury.
This workshop will take a biodesign approach and aims to bring together clinicians, companies, academics, charities and other stakeholders, to accelerate the development of new neurotechnologies to support effective management and treatment of neuropathic pain.
This event will be held in Oxford, Venue TBC