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Percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation Pain management A method for treating low back pain, consisting of insertion of thin needles into the soft tissue and/or muscles of the back to electrically stimulate peripheral sensory nerves. See TENS.


(stim?yu-la'shon) [L stimulare, to goad]
1. An irritating or invigorating action of agents on muscles, nerves, or sensory end organs by which excitation or activity in a part is evoked.
2. A stimulus.

breast stimulation

In pregnancy, nipple rolling or the application of heat to the breasts to elicit release of endogenous oxytocin and to generate uterine contractions. The procedure also has been used to evaluate placental sufficiency in the third trimester and to increase contractions in patients with ruptured membranes and when contractions are absent, rare, irregular, or of poor quality.
See: oxytocin challenge test

cognitive stimulation

A treatment for patients with mild dementia, in which patients are exposed to and tasked with mentally challenging exercises to improve their ability to think and interact effectively with their environment and with other people. It is used as an adjunct to medical therapy, often in a recreational setting, to make the activity fun and socially engaging. Synonym: psychostimulation

deep brain stimulation

The application of pulsed electrical energy via electrodes to the pars interna of the globus pallidus or the subthalamic nucleus. It is used to treat movement disorders, such as Parkinson disease.

dorsal cord stimulation

The relief of pain with electric stimulation of the posterior spinal cord.

double simultaneous stimulation

In a neurological examination, a test of unilateral neglect. A light touch, audible signal, or visual cue is provided to both sides of the patient at the same time, e.g., both arms, both ears, both the left and right visual fields. Failure to detect one of the stimuli suggests a lesion in the opposite side of the cerebral cortex. Double simultaneous stimulation can also be performed on one side of the body, for instance, by tapping the left arm and left side of the face at the same time. If the distal stimulus is undetected even after several trials, the patient may have an organic brain syndrome.

electrical stimulation

Abbreviation: ES
The use of electric current to affect a tissue, e.g., nerve, muscle, or bone. The stimulation of bone, for instance, facilitates and hastens the healing of fractures.
Synonym: electrostimulation; electrotherapy See: bipolar (2); monopolar; transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

fetal acoustic stimulation

Vibroacoustic stimulation (of the fetus).

fetal scalp stimulation

An assessment of fetal well-being in which the examiner reaches into the vagina and rubs the scalp of the fetus. The fetal heart rate is monitored for accelerations. If the fetal heart rate does not accelerate appropriately, further testing, such as scalp blood sampling, may be needed.

fetal (vibratory) acoustic stimulation

Abbreviation: FAST
A noninvasive means of assessing fetal reactivity during labor. It typically is used as an adjunct to nonstress testing. The examiner applies an electronic source of low-frequency sound (such as an electrolarynx) firmly to the mother's abdomen over the fetal head. A reactive test is characterized by fetal heart rate accelerations or other measurable forms of increased fetal activity.

infant stimulation

The use of various techniques to provide neonates and infants identified with or at risk for developmental delay with an environment that has a rich and diverse range of sensations and experiences.

intramuscular stimulation

Abbreviation: IMS
The insertion of solid needles into sensitive or painful body parts in order to alleviate musculoskeletal, myofascial, or nerve pain.
Synonym: dry needling; trigger point dry needling. See: trigger point.

magnetic cortical stimulation

The induction of painless electrical current within the brain to detect abnormalities in cortical motor neuron function.

neural stimulation

The activation or energizing of a nerve, through an external source.

nipple stimulation

Massaging or suckling the nipple of the breast and surrounding aureola to stimulate uterine contractions or induce labor.

ovarian stimulation

A treatment for female infertility that encourages the ovaries to produce and release more eggs than they normally do during each monthly cycle.

percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

Abbreviation: PENS
A treatment for pain in which weak electrical currents are applied to acupuncture needles inserted into trigger points or dermatomes near painful body parts. PENS is sometimes used to treat episodic low back pain and other regional pain syndromes. It may be used as an alternative to transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).

Russian electrical stimulation

The application of surface electrodes on a muscle with the intent of strengthening the muscle. The patient may perform physiologic muscle contractions while simultaneously using the muscle stimulation.

percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation

A treatment for urinary urgency, urge incontinence, and possibly chronic pelvic pain, in which electrical stimulation is applied by a pulse generator to the tibial nerve in the leg.

transcranial magnetic stimulation

Abbreviation: TMS
The application of pulses from a magnetic coil to induce electrical currents in specific parts of the brain. This treatment has been used in experimental neuroscience to study the activity of different areas of the brain, and in psychiatry as a noninvasive alternative to electroconvulsive therapy.
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transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

Abbreviation: TENS
The application of mild electrical stimulation through electrodes placed on the skin over a painful area. It alleviates pain by interfering with transmission of painful stimuli.
See: illustration

vagus nerve stimulation

A treatment for seizures and treatment-resistant depression in which a generator sends electrical impulses along the left vagus nerve. The impulse generator is typically inserted under the clavicle on the left side of the chest during a brief surgical procedure. The device is set to generate electrical impulses of appropriate amplitude, frequency, and pulse width to control a patient's symptoms.

vibroacoustic stimulation (of the fetus)

A test of fetal responsiveness during pregnancy. A transducer is placed on the mother's abdomen, into which the transducer emits an oscillating sound. The fetal response is measured.
Synonym: fetal acoustic stimulation

percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

Abbreviation: PENS
A treatment for pain in which weak electrical currents are applied to acupuncture needles inserted into trigger points or dermatomes near painful body parts. PENS is sometimes used to treat episodic low back pain and other regional pain syndromes. It may be used as an alternative to transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
See also: stimulation
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