Chronic pain management
Learn how Spinal Cord Stimulation and Radiofrequency ablation may provide pain relief.
Chronic pain reduces people’s quality of life more than almost any other condition1
Chronic pain is defined as continuous, long-term pain that has lasted for more than 12 weeks.2 It can last many months, or indeed many years.3
Chronic pain is classified into two types:
- Nociceptive - includes injuries, cuts or burns and it is something that everyone will experience at some point.
- Neuropathic - caused by a problem with the nerve pathways. The way the nerve sends pain messages to the brain is affected.4
Estimates show that approximately 25%–35% of adults in European countries experience chronic pain.3
The impact of chronic pain on a sufferer’s quality of life can be devastating. Not only can it cause significant disability but it can also increase the risk of psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety. Without relief, or the hope for relief, many sufferers lose the ability to sleep, work, and function normally.4
More than 50% of chronic pain sufferers wait at least two years before their pain is adequately managed.5
On average 38% of Europeans with chronic pain report that their pain is not adequately managed with conventional medical management,7 while approximately one third are failing to receive standard pain treatment, presenting an unmet medical need.4
Spinal Cord Stimulation and Radiofrequency Ablation for chronic pain management
Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) and Radiofrequency (RF) ablation are non-drug therapies and their use may result in a reduction of oral drugs and their side effects.
- SCS may be prescribed for chronic intractable pain of the trunk and/or limbs, including unilateral or bilateral pain associated with the following: failed back surgery syndrome, intractable low back pain and leg pain. SCS is a safe and effective treatment option that has helped over 400,000 patients worldwide to find pain relief.6 In a clinical study, patients suffering from severe back pain reported excellent outcomes (back pain patients with a pain score of 8 or above reported a nearly 6-point drop in pain score, even after two years).7
- RF ablation is a minimally invasive, non-surgical, outpatient procedure that targets the nerve or nerves causing pain and uses thermal energy to interrupt the pain signals at their source. It can be used to treat pain (often arthritic joint pain) in different parts of the body – back, hips, knees, shoulders, feet, and neck. With a quick, simple procedure, RF ablation can provide months – sometimes even years – of pain relief. It tends to be well-tolerated and has few associated complications. The procedure can be repeated if the pain returns when the nerves regenerate.8
More than 70% of patients treated with RF ablation experience relief lasting anywhere from six to twelve months – and in some cases, years.9-11
How Spinal Cord Stimulation works
SCS therapy starts with this simple, basic premise: since pain is carried by electrical nerve impulses along the spinal cord to the brain (1), intervening in the nervous system’s impulse flow is key to managing pain.
A small pulse generator (2) and insulated wires (3) are implanted into the body, near the spinal column. Directed by an external remote control, electrical impulses from the pulse generator interrupt pain signals as they travel to the brain.
How Radiofrequency ablation works8
1. Targeting the Nerve
X-ray or ultrasound imaging helps guide a special probe to the target nerve. Electrodes stimulate nerves near the areas to help determine the optimal treatment locations.
3. Repeat for Multiple Pain Areas
Generally, one to four nerves are targeted in one procedure to maximize pain relief.