Researchers Find Spinal Cord Stimulators Ineffective for Chronic Back Pain

Spine Injury

In a recent study, researchers have raised concerns over the use of spinal cord stimulators for chronic back pain treatment. Despite being utilized as a therapeutic measure for decades, the latest findings suggest that these devices may not be as effective as hoped and could potentially cause harm to patients.

Spinal cord stimulators are surgically implanted devices that deliver electric impulses directly to the spinal cord, with the intent of alleviating pain for individuals who have not found relief through other treatments. While these devices have evolved markedly over the years, transitioning from models needing an external generator to modern devices that are fully implantable and rechargeable, the scientific backing of their efficacy for long-term pain relief remains scant.

Meticulous research in this area has predominantly occurred within the present century. One such study contrasted the outcomes of patients who had a spinal cord stimulator implanted against those who underwent a secondary spinal surgery following an unsuccessful initial procedure. Although some reports suggested minor improvements in pain relief from active spinal cord stimulation, the lack of robust evidence casts doubt on these conclusions.

The limited scope of most comparative studies, often focusing on short-term results that span only a few weeks, further compounds the uncertainties about the long-term benefits of spinal cord stimulators. For instance, one study that compared the effects of spinal cord stimulation and a placebo over a duration of up to six months found no discernible advantages in patient outcomes.

Source: Head Topics

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