Study Examines Difference Between High- and Low-frequency Spinal Cord Stimulation

Published: July 30, 2015  |  Source: piercepioneer.com
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SpineSpinal cord stimulation is nothing new, but a new study suggests that maybe we have been approaching it the wrong way; or rather, that maybe we have more to learn about it.

But, in case you don’t know, spinal cord stimulation is a type of pain management which involves placing an implant under the skin which delivers electric pulses to the torso or the limbs to relieve chronic pain. Typically, spinal cord stimulation involves delivering low-frequency waves (40 to 60 Hz) but a new study says that, perhaps, high-frequency (up to 10,000 Hz) might be better in some cases.

“This is the first long-term study to compare the safety and effectiveness of high frequency and traditional SCS therapy for back and leg pain,” explains Dr. Leonardo Kapural. Kapural is a professor of anesthesiology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and he goes on to say, in a press release: “Chronic back and leg pain have long been considered difficult to treat and current pain relief options such as opioids have limited effectiveness and commonly known side effects. Given the prevalence of chronic pain, high frequency SCS is an exciting advance for our patients.”

Statistics show that more than 1.5 billion people around the world suffer from chronic pain and of that population about one-quarter suffer from lower back pain.

The study shows, then, that after one year, more than half of the patients who had been treated with the high-frequency stimulation were satisfied with the process while only about 32 percent who were treated with low-frequency stimulation were happy.

And so, the study has now led to doctors looking into more investigations in regards to the efficacy of the treatments to determine which forms are more suitable for different treatments.