Researchers at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine have recently discovered a promising new method of relieving chronic back pain. Traditional treatments, including spinal cord stimulation (SCS) and medications, just aren’t as effective in giving relief, and in the case of medication, may have serious side effects. This new method is a higher frequency SCS, generated by an implant.
The researchers conducted their study on two groups of people with chronic back and leg pain. The first group was treated with traditional SCS methods, while the second was implanted with a 10-kHz high-frequency SCS device. To check the efficacy of the treatment methods, the researchers assumed that a patient should experience a minimum of 50 percent reduction in back pain to be categorized as a suitable respondent to either treatment. They found that in patients implanted with the SCS device, 84.5 percent were considered responders for back pain, while 83.1 percent were categorized as responders for leg pain. Of those treated with traditional SCS methods, only 43.8 percent were marked as responders to back pain and 55.5 percent for leg pain.
This study, which was published in the Journal of American Society of Anesthesiologists, offers an innovative and effective new approach to treating chronic back pain patients without, thus far, any harmful side effects. And since as many as a quarter of all Americans will have chronic back pain some time in their lives, this method is something to keep an eye on.