5. Closed-loop spinal cord stimulation
Prescription opioids are often used to treat chronic pain, but the epidemic surrounding the drugs has left doctors looking for alternatives to pain therapy. Spinal cord stimulation is a popular alternative for chronic pain.
Implantable devices can provide an electrical stimulus to the spinal cord, but the outcomes can sometimes be unsatisfactory with subtherapeutic or overstimulating results.
“Chronic pain is a major health-economic problem,” Dr. Nagy Mekhail, a staff member in pain management at the Cleveland Clinic, said. “We all agree that narcotics are not the solution.”
Closed-loop stimulation could allow for better communication between the device and the spinal cord for more optimal stimulation and relief of pain.
“This new development came from the fact that we need to monitor how much stimulation we are giving to someone and how they are responding,” said Mekhail. “This is the wave of the future that I call interactive stimulation.”