A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge, UK, has announced a spinal cord stimulator suitable for the treatment of severe chronic low back pain that cannot be expected to be effective. This device is said to have the potential to achieve low-invasive, high-efficiency, which was not possible with conventional grounding spring devices.
Spinal cord stimulation is a type of surgical treatment that relieves intractable pain by flowing microscopic electricity from a device implanted in the spine. While it works for severe low back pain that doesn’t work, there is a risk that electrodes need to be pierced into a person’s spine and placed throughout the spinal cord. Existing spinal cord stimulation treatment devices are of two types: a paddle type that covers the spinal cord and a needle type that sticks to the spine. The paddle type has a risk that a part of the spine must be removed, and the needle type does not require partial removal, but there is a problem that the effect is low because the contact range between the device and the spinal cord is small.
The spinal cord stimulation device made by the research team combines the advantages of the existing paddle type and needle type, so it is a 2mm needle type when stored, but a paddle type with a thickness of 60 microns when distributed. In a needle-like state, it is placed in the epidural space of the spinal column and reacts with water or air to develop and deform like an air mattress that covers the spinal cord.
In the UK, back pain is one of the leading causes of disability and is known to cost £12 billion annually for treatment. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 12 people in the United States suffer from intractable low back pain for which drug treatment such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opioids is not available.
The spinal cord stimulation device developed this time has been tested for electrode function in the laboratory and verified in boredom. The team’s goal is to create a device that combines the advantages of being clinically valid and not requiring complex and high-risk surgery, the researchers said. In addition, he added that the spinal cord stimulation device developed this time can be a treatment for movement disorders such as paralysis or Parkinson’s disease caused by spinal cord injury or stroke. Related information can be found here.