Introduction: In a prospective observational study conducted in an urban pain management center, we evaluated whether spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is effective in relieving discogenic pain of IDD origin.
Methods: Thirteen patients with intractable discogenic low back pain were enrolled. Four patients never underwent permanent implantation due to insurance denial, medical reasons or failed trial and served as a control group. Nine patients underwent SCS implantation (treatment group). All patients were followed for 12 months and assessed at each interval for pain (NRS), disability (ODI), and opioid use.
Results: Nine patients completed the SCS trial with > 50% pain relief. The pretrial NRS score was 7.8 ± 0.5 mm in treated patients vs. 6.5 ± 1.7 mm in control patients. At 3, 6 and 12 months, the NRS was reduced to 2.9 ± 0.7 mm, 1.7 ± 0.5 mm, and 2.9 ± 0.5 mm, respectively in treated patients. NRS was unchanged in the control patients (6.5 ± 1.9 mm). The ODI score prior to the SCS trial in treated patients was 53.1 ± 3.4% vs. 54.0 ± 20.5 in control patients. At 3, 6 and 12 months the ODI scores were 39.0 ± 8.0%, 38.7 ± 4.6%, and 41.1 ± 3.9%, respectively in the treated patients, and 48.5 ± 29.5 at 12 months in control patients. In 6 patients receiving opioids prior to the SCS trial, average consumption was reduced by 69% (P = 0.036) over 12 months of therapy as compared with a 54% increase in the control patients. SCS usage was stable over the 12-month study.
Conclusions: The current study indicates that SCS may provide effective pain relief, improve disability, and reduce opioid usage in patients with discogenic pain.
© 2011 The Authors. Pain Practice © 2011 World Institute of Pain.