Advanced Innovations for Pain

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Abstract

Chronic pain represents one of the most important public health problems in terms of both the number of patients afflicted and health care costs. Most patients with chronic pain are treated with medications as the mainstay of therapy, and yet most medically treated patients continue to report ongoing pain. Additionally, adverse effects from pain medications represent a major challenge for clinicians and patients. Spinal cord stimulation and intrathecal drug delivery systems are well-established techniques that have been utilized for over 25 years. Intrathecal drug delivery systems have proven efficacy for a wide variety of intractable pain conditions and fewer adverse effects than systemic medical therapy in patients with refractory cancer-related pain. Spinal cord stimulation is cost-effective and provides improved pain control compared with medical therapy in patients with a variety of refractory pain conditions including complex regional pain syndrome, painful diabetic neuropathy, and chronic radiculopathy. Patients who have intractable pain that has not responded to reasonable attempts at conservative pain care measures should be referred to a qualified interventional pain specialist to determine candidacy for the procedures discussed in this article.

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