The magazine reports that a new custom implant can relieve back pain in minutes Medical device expert review.
This quick, painless treatment prevents pain signals from reaching the brain by stimulating the spinal cord with a gentle electric current.
Studies have shown that it can treat up to 32 areas of the back at the same time, reducing pain by more than five times in just over 11 minutes on average.
Some patients receive benefits within as little as 9 minutes after starting treatment, which is called fast-acting subsensory therapy (FAST).
Now, doctors at the Barts Health NHS Trust in London and other hospitals are testing the device on more patients.
According to the charity Versus Arthritis, chronic back pain is defined as persistent pain that lasts more than 12 weeks, affecting one in six adults.
Treatment ranges from mild exercise, pain medication and physical therapy, to steroid injections and surgery.
The FAST method involves implanting a micro generator under the skin on the lower back, about the size of a small pocket watch.
Wires and electrodes are connected through tunnels to painful areas in different parts of the spine. Electric pulses are transmitted to the painful area through them through the handheld controller.
Up to 32 electrodes, each about 1 mm in diameter, can be connected to the generator, allowing doctors to customize the treatment according to the needs of the patient.
Electrical impulses can interfere with pain signals that travel along nerves to the brain, blocking them or reducing their intensity.
This new study conducted in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Spain shows that the FAST method can not only reduce pain at the target point, but also reduce pain in the surrounding area.
Unlike other stimulators, this therapy works very quickly and without feeling.
There is no tingling sensation associated with other forms of electrical stimulation, such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), which is usually used for mild to moderate pain and during labor.
This study involving 41 patients with chronic back pain showed that the device can produce results almost immediately.
Before implanting the device, according to the medical scoring test, the average pain level score was 8.4, but it dropped to 1.3 in an average of 11.2 minutes after using the device. The report stated that these lower pain levels lasted for several months.
Even one year after the device was implanted, the average pain score was only 1.6.
“This multicenter study reports for the first time that a new type of FAST can induce rapid and sustained analgesia [relief from pain] In patients receiving chronic pain treatment,” the researchers said.
Commenting on the study, Ian Harding, an orthopedic consultant at the NHS Trust in North Bristol, said: “There are many causes of back pain, and if possible, treatment should be targeted at the cause.
“This is an interesting concept that may help some patients with back pain, but we need larger studies and more studies to further define its role.”
© Daily Mail