The Latest Research In Pain Management

The Latest Research In Pain Management

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

Medical research into pain management has come a long way since it began in earnest in the 1960s. Early reliance on surgical procedures and potentially addictive medication gradually gave way to noninvasive techniques such as physical therapy, biofeedback, therapeutic massage, and yoga, to name just a few.

But if you assume that there are just so many ways for a physician to deal with a patient’s pain, it may surprise you to learn that research into the field of pain management is continuous and constantly finding new ways to bring relief.

As one might expect, the latest developments have focused on new technologies.

Spinal Cord Stimulation

In fact, a recent clinical trial examined a new form of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) and found that it reduced chronic pain for patients with back and leg pain caused by common spine pain diagnoses – including failed back syndrome, radiculopathy (nerve root pain), and degenerative disc disease – compared to conventional SCS.

Two-thirds of patients with chronic spine pain who participated in the clinical trial achieved a major reduction in their pain with the new SCS compared to only one-third who had less pain with a conventional SCS device. Researchers followed up two years later and found the same results. The likely reason for this result is a change in the way the new device was programmed, enabling patients to better enjoy their work and other activities.

Another trial involved a new type of neuromodulation device used to treat complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Ordinarily, it is the dorsal column that is stimulated. However, the new device was applied to the dorsal root ganglion near the spinal nerve. This resulted in 70 percent of patients who participated in the study achieving an 80 percent decrease in pain compared to 52 percent with conventional treatment.

Until recently, battery life for SCS devices was a major concern for pain management specialists. This has long been a concern of pain management specialists. However, with the advent of wireless technology, pain doctors are increasingly optimistic about the future of implanted SCS and other devices as a means of treating a wide range of nerve pain disorders, including diabetic neuropathy, postherpetic neuropathy (a complication of shingles), phantom limb/stump pain following amputation, and central neuropathic pain disorders.

Other Research Affecting Pain Management

In addition, researchers have been studying and developing:

  • New radiofrequency ablation devices to deal with chronic and geriatric pain conditions.
  • Noninvasive, electroceutical devices like the ActiPatch® that use electromagnetic fields to modulate nerve activity and dampen the brain's perception of pain. These are used as a treatment for chronic pain from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, neuropathy, sports injuries, fibromyalgia, and post-surgical pain.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to provide relief for acute joint and muscle pain.
  • Virtual reality for relief of neuropathic pain.

At Pain Specialists of Austin, our highly qualified doctors use the latest, state-of-the-art technology, along with tried and true conventional methods to ease and manage your pain. Our goal is to provide you with the exceptional care you need to start feeling better again.

So, if you are suffering from any form of pain that is negatively impacting the quality of your life, call us at (855) 876-7246 (PAIN) to make an appointment to discuss your treatment options. You can also use our convenient appointment request form. We look forward to helping you get back to enjoying a pain-free life.