Low back pain is the world’s leading cause of years lost to disability. And for 20 percent of patients, low back pain can become “chronic,” which is defined as pain that persists for six months or more.
Now, a clinical study, which recently got underway at Advanced Pain Care in Henderson, Nevada, is investigating a distinct new way to help treat people who suffer with chronic low back pain. The DISTINCT (Dorsal spInal cord STImulatioN vs mediCal management for the Treatment of low back pain) study, sponsored by Abbott, will compare the use of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) to standard medical care, which can include taking medicine. The goal of the study will be to determine how much a patient’s level of pain, physical function and emotional well-being improves under each type of care.
SCS treats people living with chronic pain by using mild electrical pulses delivered by a small implant to change pain signals as they travel from the spinal cord to the brain. The study will use Abbott’s BurstDR stimulation device, which has been used over the past five years to help those affected by back pain.
Currently, doctors do not have consistent treatment guidelines for chronic low back pain. Many patients start on a regimen of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications and exercise or physical therapy. Some will eventually be prescribed opioids for the pain, while others might qualify for surgery. For those who are not able to have surgery, treatment options can be limited.
Findings from the study could answer questions health care providers have about how to treat low back pain in patients who are not able to have surgery and for whom there are limited treatment options. This could also help inform future standards of care and provide insurance companies with the evidence necessary to demonstrate the benefit of SCS for patients who are not able to have surgery.
The DISTINCT study is now enrolling at up to 30 sites across the United States. Patients will receive either SCS treatment or be treated with medication. Participants will be followed in-clinic and via telephone over a two-year period.
To see if you may be eligible for Abbott’s DISTINCT study and to obtain more information on how to enroll, visit Neurostudies.abbott.
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