Spinal Stimulation Proves a Viable Option for Intractable Pain


An alternative to opioids is shown to be effective in patients with diabetic neuropathy, complex regional pain syndrome, and failed spine surgery.

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Spinal stimulation may provide a greater likelihood of pain relief than medical therapy in patients with intractable spine or limb pain.

In a study presented at the 34th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine in Vancouver, BC, researchers found that:

• Compared with medical therapy, spinal stimulation significantly increased the odds of reducing pain by 50%

• Spinal stimulation significantly reduced pain as measured by visual analogue scale

• Using the common comparator of medical therapy, newer stimulation technology (eg, Hf10, Burst, dorsal root ganglion stimulation) led to increased odds of pain relief compared with conventional spinal stimulation.

The study is intended to increase awareness about spinal stimulation as an option to treat chronic pain. Tim Lamer, MD, who led the research, specializes in spine and pain medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

“Given the national opioid crisis, patients, physicians, policy makers, and payers are asking about viable alternatives to treat intractable pain. Spinal stimulation has demonstrated efficacy in a variety of difficult to manage chronic pain conditions,” says Dr. Lamer.

“Our study is a comprehensive systematic review of the spinal stimulation literature spanning the past 30 years. Specifically, we included only the highest quality studies consisting of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). The results of our systematic review are that RCTs have demonstrated effectiveness and significantly greater odds of pain improvement with spinal stimulation compared to medical therapy in patients with painful diabetic neuropathy, complex regional pain syndrome, and pain in the setting of failed spine surgery. Recently published studies have shown that newer spinal stimulation technology such as dorsal root ganglion stimulation and Hf10 spinal stimulation compared to conventional spinal stimulation may have even greater success in achieving pain relief in properly selected patients.”


Lamer T, Hooten W, Markus B, et al. Spinal stimulation for the treatment of intractable spine and limb pain: a systematic review of RCTs and meta-analysis. Presented at: American Academy of Pain Medicine 34th Annual Meeting; April 25-29, 2018; Vancouver, BC, Canada. Abstract LB002.

New spinal stimulation technology more effective in reducing pain in patients with intractable spine or limb pain compared to medical treatment [press release]. Chicago, IL: American Academy of Pain Medicine; April 26, 2018.

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