Spinal Cord Stimulation: An Alternative Concept of Rehabilitation?

Chronic low back and leg pain is a disabling condition, affecting, in most cases, older patients with congenital or acquired spinal stenosis or patients with failed back surgery syndrome. Spinal cord stimulation has been introduced as an effective therapeutic option for those patients who have previously been operated without significant clinical benefits, or for all those patients who are ineligible for traditional surgery.

The authors report our experience with ten patients treated with spinal cord stimulation plus medication and physical therapy between November 2014 and September 2015. Inclusion criteria were: previous surgical treatments for lumbar stenosis and metameric instability and persistent or ingravescent disabling low back and leg pain, with a mean duration of symptoms of at least 18 months. A visual analog scale (VAS) was employed for back and leg pain, and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) score was determined, and findings were analyzed after 6 months.

No intra- or postoperative complication was recorded. The mean VAS score for back pain decreased from 7.5 to 2.9, while leg VAS decreased from 8.2 to 3.0. Analysis of ODI values showed evident improvement in daily life activities, ranging from a median value of 75.7% to 32.7 % after the stimulation. Spinal cord stimulation has a recognized impact on the pain and on the quality of life of patients with failed back surgery syndrome.