About This Show
Texas Back Institute uses its experience, talent, state-of-the-art equipment, and technology to provide superior and innovative care for patients who suffer from back and neck pain.
From the beginning in 1977, the goal to perform as a center of excellence, integrating the best of science and education with the best business practices, has served Texas Back Institute well and continues to be the backbone of Texas Back Institute’s success. Over thirty-five years later, Texas Back Institute is one of the largest freestanding multidisciplinary academic spine centers in the world. Utilizing the latest technological advancements and medical breakthroughs, leading and participating in numerous FDA trials, developing surgeons through its fellowship program and employing an expert medical team and compassionate support staff, Texas Back Institute remains dedicated to helping patients get back to life.
With our unparalleled commitment to spine care, Texas Back Institute has pioneered many innovative spine technologies in the United States. Here at Texas Back Institute, we are dedicated to training spine surgeons from all over the world.Read more »
Most Recent Episode
Dr Scott Kutz Talks About New Technology To Fight Spine Pain And The Opioid Crisis
Dr. Scott Kutz (https://texasback.com/find-a-physician/name/scott-kutz/) , a neurosurgeon at Texas Back Institute (https://texasback.com/treatments/surgical-treatments/fusion/tdr/spinal-cord-stimulation-scs/), treats hundreds of patients each year for back pain and has some first-hand experience with spine stimulation.
“The original spine stimulators were developed in the 1960s,” he said. “However, the technology could not be used in a wide-spread fashion until the 1980s. This was because the pacemaker technology, which, like the spine stimulator, could be implanted and maintain electrical stimulation for a long period of time, improved at this time
“Between the 1980s and 2010, the technology was relatively static. There was a certain recognized range of stimulation frequency that could be delivered to the dorsal column of the spinal cord. If the stimulation was delivered within those parameters, the patient would typically get a reduction of pain, particularly pain to the hips, buttocks, shoulders, some parts of the back, arms and fingers.
“Unfortunately, some patients did not get good pain reduction from this type of stimulation. This could be due to the fact that they might have more pain centered in the neck, at the back of the head or in the lumbar spine area. In some cases, the patients would experience paresthesia with this stimulation, meaning they could feel this stimulation and for many that sensation was disagreeable. It was annoying to some patients, and this made it ineffective in coverage of the pain.
“We now have high-frequency stimulation that cannot to be perceived by humans. Thus, when this stimulation is delivered, it still has effects on the nervous system and still interrupts pain delivery from those distal nerves up to the brain, but it is not perceived by the patient. This means the stimulation can cover deeper pathways within the spinal cord leading to better coverage of pain in the neck itself, the thoracic area (where the ribs attach to the spine) and the lumbar (lower back) area of the spine.”
Using Stimulation Instead of Opioids
The fact that this new version of spine stimulator is being used instead of opioids for treatment of back pain is good news for the medical community, which is concerned about their abuse. From a medical standpoint, how does spine stimulation mimic the effect of opioids for the treatment pain?
“Actually, spine stimulation and opioids work differently on pain,” Dr. Kutz said. “Opioids don’t eliminate pain but rather they increase the tolerance of the mind to having pain. Most patients who are taking opioids say things like, ‘I can still tell that I hurt, but I just don’t care.’
“With spinal cord stimulation, there is an actual disruption of that pain signal coming up to the brain.”
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