New Implants Provide Drug-Free Pain Control in Some Patients, A.G. RhodesToday, physicians in the United States seek effective ways to help manage pain in patients. In the past, medical experts often relied extensively upon prescription medications as a first choice treatment. This approach holds some drawbacks, since the misuse of opioid drugs contributes to substance abuse problems in some individuals.

A New Treatment Option For Some

Now, the development of innovative spinal cord stimulating implants offers hope for people seeking relief from certain types of chronic leg and lower back pain. This treatment may become an option for some patients undergoing senior therapy and rehabilitation, particularly those suffering from Parkinson’s Disease or those who have already undergone spinal fusion procedures. Several pain-control implant devices have already obtained required regulatory approvals in the United States.

Spinal Cord Stimulation Implants

The implant devices provide pain relief by sending an electrical signal which interferes with the perception of pain. A physician embeds a battery pack in the lower back or the buttocks. The device sends pulses through leads positioned in epidural spaces along the spinal cord. This activity impacts the way certain patients perceive pain. It allows some individuals to obtain relief from chronic discomfort resulting when scar tissue impinges on nerves, for example.

A Developing Market

The implants have reportedly significantly alleviated pain in some patients. Currently, four manufacturers dominate this marketplace:

  • Boston Scientific Corporation;
  • Abbott Laboratories:
  • Medtronic PLC:
  • Nevro Corporation.

Pain patients considering requesting these implants should speak with their physicians to determine their suitability as candidates for this type of surgical procedure. Most implants use low frequency signals. More recently, Nevro’s HF10 system has employed high frequency pulses.

Leg Pain And Back Pain

The implants won’t benefit every patient. However, they do offer assistance to some individuals suffering from persistent post-operative back or leg pain after spinal fusion procedures. Sometimes scar tissue forms near nerves after these types of operations. The results may cause chronic, debilitating pain.

Parkinson’s Disease And Peripheral Neuropathy

Dr. Stuart Goodman, a neurosurgeon who has performed implant procedures, believes the technology also shows promise in assisting some Parkinson’s Disease sufferers and some patients with peripheral neuropathies. Parkinson’s Disease, a brain disease, usually causes muscle tremors. Peripheral neuropathy patients may experience pain in their extremities.