Neuromodulation is a category of treatment that is designed to alter the way the nervous system (nerves, spinal cord, and/or brain) transmits messages. These messages (or the chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters) that are involved may be altered in certain disease states. In depression, for instance, there is an imbalance in the relative activity of different areas in the brain that regulate mood. In chronic pain, ongoing pain messages occur when pain nerve cells are stimulated or damaged.
Neuromodulation is technology that acts directly upon nerves. It is the alteration—or modulation—of nerve activity by delivering electrical or pharmaceutical agents directly to a target area. Certain types of neuromodulation therapies include spinal cord stimulation for refractory pain , deep brain stimulation for parkinson's disease, and transcranial magnetic stimulation for depression. Percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is used for back pain. Transcranial direct current stimulation (T-DCS) is being tested for mood disorders and chronic pain such as fibromyalgia.