Pain relief and improvement in quality of life with 10 kHz SCS therapy: Summary of clinical evidence

CNS Neurosci Ther. 2020 Apr;26(4):403-415. doi: 10.1111/cns.13285. Epub 2020 Feb 22.


Objective: Chronic pain is a prevalent condition which has a significant effect on the lives of those it impacts. High-frequency 10 kHz spinal cord stimulation (10 kHz SCS) has been shown to provide paresthesia-free pain relief for a wide variety of pain indications. This article summarizes the current and emerging data as they relate to the clinical use of the therapy in various pain syndromes.

Methods: A literature search was conducted using the PubMed electronic database using keywords related to 10 kHz SCS. The database was queried from 2013 to May 2019. Articles reporting clinical studies that included human subjects permanently treated with 10 kHz SCS (Senza® system) were included in the review. Recent and relevant conference proceedings known to the authors were also included.

Results: The selected literature demonstrated significant evidence for the efficacy of 10 kHz SCS in treating chronic back and leg pain (CBLP), including a randomized, controlled trial as well as prospective and retrospective studies. One-year follow-up responder rates (pain relief ≥50%) ranged from 60% to 80%. Other studies and case series showed promising outcomes in specific conditions, including nonsurgical refractory back pain, neuropathic limb pain, complex regional pain syndrome, chronic widespread pain, chronic pelvic pain, and intractable headache. Subgroup analyses also pointed toward the potential of 10 kHz SCS being successful when low-frequency SCS has failed. The vast majority of these studies reported improved quality of life (QOL) metrics and/or reduced opioid consumption.

Conclusions: Level I evidence already exists for the efficacy of 10 kHz SCS in treating CBLP, supported by real-world clinical experience. Other studies demonstrate the potential of the therapy across a range of chronic pain etiologies, although larger confirmatory studies are recommended. Overall, the literature suggests that the therapy is associated with improved QOL as well as reduced opioid consumption.

Keywords: 10 kHz SCS; VAS; chronic pain; opioids; quality of life.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Pain / diagnosis
  • Chronic Pain / psychology
  • Chronic Pain / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pain Management / psychology
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Pain Measurement / psychology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life* / psychology
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation / methods*
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation / psychology