HealthDay News — People with Parkinson’s disease who undergo deep brain stimulation may experience long-term pain relief, a small, new study from Korea suggests.
However, three-quarters of the patients developed new pain in muscles and joints eight years after the procedure was performed, the researchers found.
A team led by Beom Jeon, MD, PhD, from the Seoul National University Hospital, studied the long-term effects of deep brain stimulation on pain in 24 Parkinson patients. The researchers measured patients’ pain before surgery and eight years later.
Sixteen of the patients experienced pain before surgery when not taking medication. Their average pain score was 6.2 on a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 represents the most pain, the researchers reported.
Jeon’s team found that the pain suffered before surgery had improved or disappeared eight years later, they reported in JAMA Neurology. But 18 patients developed new pain during the follow-up period.
New pain affected 47 body parts, with an average pain score of 4.4. For more than half of these patients, the new pain was described as aching and cramping in joints or muscles, the researchers said.
This new muscle pain needs to be researched separately, the researchers said, noting it didn’t seem to respond to deep brain stimulation.
“We found that pain in [Parkinson’s disease] is improved by deep brain stimulation, and the beneficial effect persists after a long-term follow-up of eight years,” the researchers concluded.
Jeon BS, et al. An 8-Year Follow-up on the Effect of Subthalamic Nucleus Deep Brain Stimulation on Pain in Parkinson Disease. JAMA Neurol. 2015; doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.8