The aim of this review was to determine the impact of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) on physical function and sleep quality in individuals with failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS). This review comprised three phases: an electronic database search (PubMed, Cinahl Plus, EMBASE, PsychInfo, Pedro, Cochrane Library) identified potential papers; these were screened for inclusion criteria, with extraction of data from accepted papers and rating of internal validity by two independent reviewers using the Effective Public Health Practice Project quality assessment tool, a tool designed to assess non-RCTs (randomized controlled trials) as well as RCTs. Strength of the evidence was rated using the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research guidelines. The search generated 13 quantitative papers that fulfilled the inclusion criteria; all 13 studies investigated the impact of SCS on physical function, and nine studies investigated the impact of SCS on sleep quality. Consistent evidence (level C) found that SCS positively affected physical function, with improvements in participation in activities of daily living, leisure, social and work-related activities. Similarly, consistent evidence (level C) found improvements in sleep quality following SCS. Improvements in sleep quantity, a reduction in awakenings and a decrease in sleep medication use were also noted (level D). The impact of SCS on cognitive function, i.e., memory and concentration, was also assessed using the same search strategy, no papers fulfilled the inclusion criteria for this study. Spinal cord stimulation effectively addressed many physical function and sleep problems associated with FBSS; however, there is a need for further high-quality objective investigations to support this.
© 2011 European Federation of International Association for the Study of Pain Chapters.