High-frequency spinal cord stimulation therapy has nearly twice the effectiveness in delivering pain relief for chronic back and leg pain than traditional low frequency stimulation, a new study finds.
According to Medical News Today, more than 1.5 billion people globally suffer from chronic pain. The most common chronic pain is the lower back, which accounts for 23-26 percent of sufferers.
Research for methods to alleviate chronic pain includes everything from prescription pain medications to surgery.
One therapy used is spinal cord stimulation therapy (SCS). SCS delivers electric pulses to the spinal cord through a small device implanted under the skin, giving the patient a form of paresthesia — a buzzing or tingling sensation.
High frequency SCS delivers pulses of 10,000 Hz through the implanted device, rather than the 40 to 60 Hz of low frequency SCS treatment, reports UPI. Additionally, high- frequency SCS does not induce paresthesia.
“Given the prevalence of chronic pain, high frequency SCS is an exciting advance for our patients,” said Dr. Leonardo Kapural, professor of anesthesiology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
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. 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.
Researchers worked with 171 participants for the study, all of who already had SCS implants for chronic back or leg pain. Ninety of the patients received high frequency SCS, while 81 patients continued with traditional SCS therapy.
After 3 months, of those being treated with high-frequency SCS, 83 percent of leg pain patients and 85 percent of back pain patients saw a 50 percent or greater reduction in pain levels. None of them experienced paresthesia.
Of those patients being treated with low frequency SCS, 56 percent of leg pain patients and 44 percent of back pain patients saw improvements in pain levels of 50 percent or more.
In an unrelated study reported here at Immortal News, researchers have linked prescription pain killers to an increased risk of homicide.