High frequency spinal cord stimulation alleviates pain in patients suffering from chronic pain in the back or limbs twice as effectively as conventional low frequency treatment, a recent study has revealed. Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is delivered via a small device placed under the skin of the appendages and torso. At high frequencies, as administered by a proprietary system called HF10, a 10,000 Hz pulse is genereated by the device. SCS instruments typically deliver only 40 to 60 Hz pulses.

Lead study author Leonardo Kapural, M.D., professor of anesthesiology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and clinical director at Carolinas Pain Institute at Brookstown in Winston-Salem, N.C., said:

“This is the first long-term study to compare the safety and effectiveness of high frequency and traditional SCS therapy for back and leg pain. 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."

The HF10 therapy also produces pain relief without paresthesia.

Paresthesia is a stimulation-induced sensation often perceived as tingling or buzzing, which masks a patient’s perception of pain, and is typical of traditional SCS. The sensations are commonly distracting or uncomfortable to patients, limiting the usefulness of SCS devices.

Many doctors rely on opiod drugs for treating leg and back pain, which can have adverse side effects.

The study involved 171 patients suffering from chronic leg or back pain that already had an SCS device implanted in their skin. Of these, 90 received HF10 and 81 traditional SCS treatment.

Over 80 percent of both leg and back pain patients reported a substantial reduction in symptoms following three months of high-frequency treatment.

Original Study:

Leonardo Kapural, M.D., Ph.D.; Cong Yu, M.D.; Matthew W. Doust, M.D.; Bradford E. Gliner, M.S.; Ricardo Vallejo, M.D., Ph.D.; B. Todd Sitzman, M.D., M.P.H.; Kasra Amirdelfan, M.D.; Donna M. Morgan, M.D.; Lora L. Brown, M.D.; Thomas L. Yearwood, M.D., Ph.D.; Richard Bundschu, M.D.; Allen W. Burton, M.D.; Thomas Yang, M.D.; Ramsin Benyamin, M.D.; Abram H. Burgher, M.D Novel 10-kHz High-frequency Therapy (HF10 Therapy) Is Superior to Traditional Low-frequency Spinal Cord Stimulation for the Treatment of Chronic Back and Leg Pain: The SENZA-RCT Randomized Controlled Trial Anesthesiology 07 2015. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000000774

Image: Spooky Pooka, Wellcome Images

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