Understanding Chronic Pain and How to Treat It

what is chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is a recurring, debilitating kind of pain that lasts for three months or longer. It affects roughly 1.5 billion people worldwide and is most commonly located in the back. It can also affect the arms, legs, head and other locations.

The source of chronic pain is often difficult to determine. It can be associated with an illness, accident, or even injury to nerves, causing false pain signals that feel very real. That’s why it’s so difficult to manage. In some patients, chronic pain also appears without any explanation at all.

Chronic pain is different from acute pain, which commonly results from injury or surgery and heals with time.

Living With Chronic Pain

The idea of "living with chronic pain" is more of a resignation for most patients. Because the pain is so restrictive to their everyday life, longtime chronic pain patients often find themselves depressed, withdrawn from friends and family, and reliant on others for even the simplest daily activities.

Many patients try everything from physical therapy and medications to invasive surgeries, only to have their pain return or even made worse by the side effects of those treatments.

treatments of chronic pain

Many patients spend years in painful trial and error with treatments that seek a single way to manage their chronic pain. But chronic pain is unique to each individual. That’s why treatment needs to be tailored to the needs, desires and circumstances of each patient.

Initially, physicians may recommend physical therapy and lifestyle modifications; however, for many patients these approaches are not adequate. Corrective surgery, injections, pain pumps, nerve ablation and medications may also be prescribed, although these therapies also have mixed results. 

Another option, spinal cord stimulation (SCS), was first introduced in 1967. It works to relieve pain by delivering mild electrical pulses to the spinal cord to mask the transmission of abnormal pain signals traveling along the spinal cord to the brain. The pulses are delivered by small electrodes placed near the spinal cord that connect to a compact battery-powered generator, which is implanted under the skin.
In clinical trials and in practice, traditional SCS has demonstrated relief for leg pain; however, sustained relief of back pain has been uncommon.
All these traditional norms were upended with the FDA approval of Nevro’s HF10™ therapy. HF10 therapy is the next-generation spinal cord stimulation device. It is just as safe as traditional systems, but also offers long-term relief for both back pain AND leg pain. It also has none of the driving or sleep restrictions typical of traditional SCS.

What does the FDA Say About HF10 THERAPY?

In May 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Nevro’s HF10 therapy as a treatment for chronic pain. It is the only SCS system to ever receive a superiority designation from the FDA for both chronic back pain and leg pain.

To put this new therapy to the test, Nevro carried out the first-ever randomized, controlled clinical trial to compare the relative effectiveness of HF10 therapy to traditional SCS. The study followed 156 patients using HF10 therapy or traditional SCS for 24 months to measure how many patients responded to treatment and their levels of pain relief.

Results from the clinical study showed that nearly twice as many patients achieved dramatic relief from back pain and leg pain with HF10 therapy as with traditional SCS. The study also demonstrated that eight out of ten patients with severe back or leg pain, who used HF10 therapy, experienced significant pain relief.
Finally, the HF10 therapy patients also showed greater improvement in overall function – so these patients can more easily return to the activities they enjoyed before the pain started.

Learn more about HF10 Therapy’s Advantages