Since the introduction of SCS therapy, there have been significant advancements in both the hardware and software to significantly improve pain control. Conventional SCS uses a tonic waveform in which amplitude, frequency, and pulse width are constant to deliver electrical stimulation. In addition to traditional SCS, other types and patterns of stimulation have been developed in order to provide more patients greater control of the settings to optimize pain control and improvement in function.
For example, high frequency of stimulation provides paresthesia-free pain relief. Additional programs have been developed to help modulates the neuronal-glial cell interaction to provide pain relief. Each of these therapies has been demonstrated to provide significant relief of chronic pain.
The functionality of the systems have also improved. Certain SCS systems can now detect changes in body positioning, helping to optimize SCS treatment with certain movements. Also, MRI conditionality with SCS devices continues to improve. This allows patients with SCS implants to undergo important imaging under specified conditions. Researchers continue to advance SCS therapy. Future developments include closed-loop SCS, which automatically adjusts to maintain the appropriate level of SCS therapy by monitoring the spinal cord’s response to treatment.
SCS is a rapidly advancing technology with numerous options proven to provide significant pain relief to specific chronic pain conditions in appropriately selected patients.