Spinal Cord Stimulation for Low Back Pain

Review written by Robin Kerr info

Key Points

  1. Moderate certainty evidence indicates that Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) probably does not improve low back and leg pain, function and quality of life when compared to placebo.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Low back pain is the leading cause of years lived with disability worldwide (1). Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) is a surgical intervention involving implantation of electrodes into the spinal cord of low back pain patients, which generates electrical signals to try modulate pain. The mechanism of action of SCS in low back pain is unclear with some suggesting the gate-control mechanism, inhibition of sympathetic nervous system and supraspinal inhibition. Currently, the long-term benefits and harms of SCS for individuals with LBP are uncertain.

This Cochrane Review aimed to assess the long- term effects of SCS, to clarify present uncertainty regarding the benefits and harms of this procedure and therefore, the effectiveness of this intervention for those with low back pain.

Spinal Cord Stimulation involves implantation of electrodes into the spinal cord of low back pain patients, which generates electrical signals to try modulate pain.
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A complication in relation to medical devices is regulatory bodies often do not require high quality evidence to provide approvals in the presence of a predicate device.

METHODS

  • A 2022 search across four databases plus three clinical trial registers was performed.
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