A revolutionary new treatment for chronic back pain has met with positive results in an Irish trial.
Patients in Ireland have reacted well to the Nevro implantable spinal cord stimulation device currently being trialled at Dublin’s St Vincent’s University Hospital.
The Irish Times reports that the 80 patients using the new treatment have offered ‘very positive’ feedback.
Nevro utilises neuromodulation technology which harnesses the body’s own nervous system to control its pain experience and provide pain relief.
Hospital consultant Dr Declan O’Keeffe, a specialist in pain medicine, has told a conference in the city how the new treatment has been ‘life changing’ for many of his patients.
“They have experienced failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) which is seen as an incurable chronic condition with conventional treatment of pain medication and physiotherapy only successful for about one in 10 patients,” he explained.
“One of the big developments in medicine now is we are moving away from using drugs only and using medical devices to treat pain.
“While the Dublin trial is ongoing, the results to date are in line with a published Nevro trial that showed 75 per cent of participating patients with back pain experienced more than 50 per cent relief while 90 per cent of those with leg pain experienced a 50 per cent reduction in pain.”
The Irish Times report states that Ireland is the first country to use the Nevro device commercially.
It is now in use in 14 other countries with doctors coming to Ireland for training.
The Dublin conference on the diagnosis and treatment of spinal pain also heard Prof Elliot Krames, an American leader in the field of pain medicine and neuromodulation, give an update on the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques for spinal issues.
He said the new surgery has a much higher success rate than traditional back surgery and is far more precise and accurate with less pain and scarring.
The paper also reports that an update on the Prevalence, Impact and Cost of Chronic Pain in Ireland study by Dr Brian McGuire, co-director of the Centre for Pain Research at NUI, Galway, found the lower back was the most common site of chronic pain. People who experience chronic pain are five times more likely to have clinically relevant depression and three times more likely to be unemployed.