Patients that have long experienced chronic back and leg pain have a new hope for relieving the symptoms: high frequency spinal cord stimulation (SCS).
A new study published recently in the Anesthesiology online journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists details the benefits of high frequency SCS in comparison to typical low frequency SCS.
According to the study results, patients that had long been tormented by back and leg chronic pain have found long-term relief with the new therapy.
Lead author of the study, MD Leonardo Kapural of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, as well as the clinical director of Carolinas Pain Institute – Brookstown stated:
“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.”
Spinal cord stimulation is not new to therapeutical applications. A small device implanted under the skin stimulates the spinal cord with electric pulses. The application targets pain felt by patients in their limbs and trunk.
Compared to typical treatments for chronic pain, SCS has a clear advantage. Opioids or invasive surgeries do not have the same rate of success in relieving patients of pain. However, lower frequency SCS, usually applied with frequencies of 40 to 60 Hz was also not as successful as the new therapeutical application, called HF10.
High frequency SCS or HF10 applies 10,000 Hz electric pulses to the spinal cord, while doing away paresthesia. Paresthesia is commonly reported by patients undergoing SCS as a tingling sensation in the muscles, that usually masks the pain. Low frequency SCS is commonly associated with paresthesia.
The study was conducted with the aid of 171 patients diagnosed with chronic pain in their backs or legs. 90 patients received the HF10 high frequency SCS devices, while another 81 received the low-frequency SCS implants.
The evaluation of results began three months after the implants. From the 90 patients group, 85 percent that experienced chronic back pain and 83 percent that experienced chronic leg pain reported that the HF10 therapy reduced pain by 50 percent or above.
Of the second group, only 44 and 56 percent reported a 50 percent reduction. The study continued for 12 months, over which none of the HF10 patients reported paresthesia.
The new spinal cord stimulation at high frequency is indeed an effective tool for chronic pain relief. For the 1.5 billion chronic pain patients worldwide, HF10 is a glimmer of hope.
Photo Credits medscape.com