When someone signs up with certain complaints, it is necessary to first determine if the cause can be found to treat it (causal treatment).
If the reason for the complaint (s) cannot be demonstrated, the treatment will focus on the symptoms (symptomatic treatment). Complaints, such as tinnitus, fatigue, pain, cannot always be objectively determined. It is important that all complaints, no matter how strange, are taken seriously. Patients often get to hear that their problem is 'between the ears' ... Indeed, some complaints are literally 'between the ears' because they can be related to a malfunction of the brain.
Medication can influence the brain effect, just think of psychopharmaceuticals, anti-epileptics ... so that the 'error' can be corrected or circumvented. The disadvantage of medication is that it can cause unpleasant side effects.
A distinction is made between non-invasive and invasive neuromodulation
Non-invasive neuromodulation means that the functioning of nerve cells (in the brain or in the periphery) can be influenced by applying electrodes to the (epidermis) skin. This treatment is ambulatory and affects brain activity without risks and side effects. The patient does not have to be operated and can be treated ambulatory.
There are different forms of non-invasive neuromodulation treatments. For example, usage can consist of electrical or magnetic stimuli and even of brain training (neurofeedback) to influence the brain activityso that 'wrong' functional connections can be broken.
Invasive neuromodulation means that an electrode is inserted either under the skin (peripheral) or on or in the brain and, unlike non-invasive stimulation, surgery is needed. In a first phase, a test electrode is placed to check if the stimulation can suppress the symptoms. After a trial period with a positive result, a complete system can be permanently implanted.
Unfortunately, neuromodulation is not a panacea and not every patient will benefit from the treatment. To determine which neuromodulation method has the most chance of success, a qEEG is taken to map the brain activity. Thanks to the comparison with a norm group, adapted to the age and gender of the patient, deviations are displayed in 3D.
Up to today, neuromodulation is not recognized or reimbursed in Belgium. In the Netherlands it depends on the insurer, but here toopatients usually pay for the full cost.
The treatments are quite time-consuming because the stimuli have to be repeated several times in a specialized neuromodulation center for several weeks.