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Pain Pathway: New Technology for Treatment-Resistant Back Pain

There is hope for your back pain.

When you have tried almost everything for chronic back pain without any relief, it can be tempting to give up.  Some doctors might even advise you to “learn to live with the pain.”  But before you apply for permanent disability or start taking dangerously addictive opioid medications, you should know about one of the newest and greatest advances in pain medicine: High-Frequency Neuromodulation.

This life-changing treatment represents the next generation of spinal cord stimulation.  But while “traditional” spinal cord stimulators mask pain with paresthesia (a tingling sensation), high-frequency stimulation can decrease pain without causing any weird feelings.

High-Frequency Neuromodulation works by blocking and changing abnormal pain signals from nerves before they can reach the brain and be perceived as pain.  Once a High-Frequency Spinal Cord Stimulator is implanted, pain signals are blocked so you no longer experience the same level of suffering.  You can still feel normal pain (e.g., if you were pricked with a needle), but it greatly decreases the “volume” of intense chronic pain so that it is no longer the focal point of your life.  

High-frequency neuromodulation is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure.  Patients first undergo a trial procedure to “test drive” this technology for 5 to 7 days, during which both pain levels and activity are closely monitored.  Many of my patients become quite a bit more active during the trial and also sleep much better.  Afterwards, the stimulator leads are removed and we discuss how much your life improved during the trial.  Only patients with very successful trials will be candidates for the permanent implant.

High-Frequency Neuromodulation is also highly customizable.  Once implanted, you can adjust the strength and pattern of the stimulation to find the precise treatment that works best for you.  My relationship with patients does not end after a successful implant—I help each patient find the setting that is right for them and make any adjustments that are needed in the future.

This advanced procedure is covered by health insurance!  Our office works with a variety of PPO plans and we have no trouble getting high-frequency neuromodulation approved by insurance companies for the right patients.

Implantation of a High-Frequency Spinal Cord Stimulator requires specialized surgical skills.  It is important to find a physician who is both properly qualified and well-trained to perform this particular procedure.  Confirm that your doctor is a Pain Management specialist who completed a Pain Management Fellowship and is Board Certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).  It is essential for this procedure to be performed by a doctor with the training and qualifications to have excellent diagnostic and surgical skills necessary to ensure that the procedure is both safe and effective.

Author
Dr. Joseph Enayati Dr. Enayati is a double board-certified interventional pain physician in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles. His focus is on accurate diagnosis and highly tailored patient-specific treatment. When not practicing medicine or attending conferences he can be found running outside, in a spin studio, or exploring the world.

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