Growing interest and innovation in spinal cord stimulation

Growing interest and innovation in spinal cord stimulation

In the battle against opioid abuse, spinal cord stimulation is emerging as a safe and effective alternative treatment for long-term relief from pain. While spinal cord stimulation is not a new therapy, growing interest and competition in the market is spurring companies to not just create better devices, but to collect better clinical data to support the efficacy of spinal cord stimulation for pain management. Spinal cord stimulation works by sending electrical pulses to the brain that distract it from pain signals. It’s primarily used in the treatment of back pain, as well as complex regional pain syndrome.

Though pain doctors have been using it as part of a holistic approach to pain care for years, medical device companies have been slow to respond with new and innovative approaches. However, this sleepy sector has since woken up, with Nevro, Abbott, Boston Scientific, and Medtronic all unveiling new systems since 2015.

Across the board, the focus is on clinical trials and building up supporting evidence for the use of spinal cord stimulation, a previously underrepresented field. It’s good new for both businesses and patients, says a recent article in CNBC, and a direct response to physicians’ reluctance to treat chronic pain with opioids. Worldwide, the spinal cord stimulation market grew 18% last year and experienced 21% growth in the U.S. alone. Increased interest in the field is immensely promising, particularly for the 100 million Americans suffering from chronic pain.

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