Spinal cord stimulators have been around for many years. In fact, the FDA first approved the use of such devices back in 1989. These devices can provide relief to those who live in chronic pain. Many of our clients have benefited from these devices, though not all patients have success with them. The FDA recently approved a new version of spinal cord stimulator, which can provide pain relief without causing an uncomfortable tingling sensation.
This new spinal cord stimulator is called the Senza System, manufactured by Nevro Corp., based in Menlo, California. The pain relief can be accomplished without the tingling (also known as paresthesia) through “high frequency stimulation (at 10 KHz) and low stimulation amplitudes.”
Obviously, any increase in the ability to control chronic pain is of benefit to the injured worker that we encounter every day. A reduction of narcotic medication, which has significant and dangerous side effects, is always an advantage. This chronic pain can be a result of many types of conditions, including failed low back syndrome (after surgery did not relieve the pain), and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS, also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy [RSD]). We also note, in passing, that an aggravation of a preexisting low back condition can still form the basis of a valid workers’ compensation claim in Pennsylvania.
As with any medical treatment, it is important to discuss thoroughly with your doctor whether a spinal cord stimulator may be of benefit to your specific condition. Advancements in pain relief, though, give hope to all injured workers.