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January 1959

Effect of Electroconvulsive Therapy on Intractable Pain

Author Affiliations

New York

From the Neurology Service of the Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, and the Neuropsychiatry Division, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, D. C.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1959;81(1):37-42. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1959.02340130057005

Relief of long-standing pain by electroshock therapy has been reported by several investigators.1-3 The present study evaluates the procedure as a therapeutic method. It further considers the painful state as a symbolic organization and offers a formulation of the means whereby agents, such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and prefrontal lobotomy, which do not alter pain threshold significantly, may produce relief of pain.

Material and Method of Study  Ten patients with long-standing pain were treated with electric shock on the neurological ward of a general hospital. The location of the pain and the associated pathology are indicated as follows:Causalgic pain in the left hand in a diabetic patient coming on after an operation for stenosing tenosynovitisPain and weakness in the lower extremities associated with a bony spur of the cervical cord and arachnoiditis following surgeryOrbital pain following enucleation of an eye (two cases)Pain in the back,

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