Spinal Cord Stimulation Could Be Alternative to Opioids for Chronic Pain

Multiple types of spinal cord stimulation could be used to treat chronic back and limb pain.

Findings from a recent study suggest that spinal cord stimulation (SCS) could potentially be a safe and effective treatment option for patients with chronic pain.

This treatment could be used instead of opioids, which have recently come under much scrutiny. SCS delivers low-voltage electrical stimulation to the spine in order to block pain through a small implanted device, according to a study published in the Journal of Pain Research.

The researchers evaluated the safety, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of SCS in patients with back and limb chronic pain. They examined studies that involved dorsal root ganglion SCS, burst wave form SCS, and high frequency 10 (HF10) SCS.

Previous studies suggest that all 3 types of SCS could be an effective alternative to opioid pain killers. They also discovered that dorsal root ganglion SCS and HF10 SCS are both safe and effective for chronic back and leg pain.

Researchers also noted that SCS has few side effects compared with other treatments and can reduce the risk of complications.

“Spinal cord stimulation should now be considered earlier in the treatment continuum and not simply as an end-stage salvage therapy,” concluded lead author Paul Verrills, MBBS, FAFMM GDMM, MPainMed, FIPP.