Spinal cord stimulation at high frequency is key to better relieving back pains and leg pains. The science is now clear as a study has proven that it is almost twice more effective to use high frequency pulses than low frequency pulses in SCS.
The process of spinal cord stimulation implies a small device, or stimulator, being placed under the skin, usually in affected areas, where it can emit pulsations that trigger the correct functioning of the zone, causing the pain to stop, or at least be less intense. The device and technique are used especially in cases of chronic back pain, but also in other parts of the torso, as well as in the arms or legs. It is also used in cases of motor disorders or disabilities.
The most common place where the spinal cord stimulator is implanted is the lumbar region of the spinal cord as it controls both standing and stepping abilities. The ailments associated with SCS are the failed back surgery and complex regional pain syndromes, as well as for ischemia.
High frequency delivery of the electrode stimulation of the spinal cord implies pulses of up to 10,000 Hz. This may sound scurry, but scientists maintain it is completely safe, otherwise it would not be used. Low frequency SCS, which was the main method used up until now, delivered only between 40 and 60 Hz.
Furthermore, low frequency SCS has numerous side effects which often limit the effectiveness of the treatment and are really uncomfortable. These rare tingling or buzzing effects, also known as paresthesia.
Leonard Kapural, the doctor behind the study, maintains that this is the first of the studies on SCS to be done on such a large period of time. The researchers compared the low frequency and high frequency types of SCS therapies for cases of chronic leg pain or back pain. Kapural says that the only options available for someone suffering from these syndromes, besides SCS, are opioids, which have reduced efficiency and are expected to produce side-effects.
One strong argument for the usage of the HF10 system for SCS therapy is the number of severe cases of pain of the back, leg or other parts of the body. These are extremely common especially in old age.
The study focused on 171 individuals already having a SCS implant. 90 of these received HF10, while the remaining 81 got the low frequency version. Three months later, 85% of patients with HF10 saw a 50% decrease in pain. In the next twelve months, more than half of those using HF10 were satisfied with the new method.