For the first time in medical history, doctors have implanted a permanent spinal cord which can record signals from the nervous system, and adjust the strength of impulses sent to affected areas. It’s an innovative procedure that’s meant to treat chronic pain.
The operation has been hailed as a breakthrough in treatment for chronic pain, helping patients avoid costly pain-killer alternatives.
Joe Grewal, the man who participated in the groundbreaking procedure, said he now ‘feels amazing’ after suffering 30 years of chronic back pain. The pain dropped from an eight-to-ten before the implant to a two-to-three afterwards.
“Spinal cord stimulators [send] signals into the spinal cord and so the person with pain feels tingling in the pain area and that confuses the brain and they don’t feel the pain, they just feel a pleasant tingling sensation,” Dr. Brooker told ABC News in an interview.
Doctors believe the implants could have wider uses beyond chronic pain treatment, potentially helping patients with Parkinson’s disease.
“This new spinal cord stimulation treatment could be an important new tool in the armory of options for tackling pain in Parkinson’s – but further research is needed to understand more about the types of pain experienced by people with the condition, and what treatments work best,” explained Claire Bale, head of research, communications and engagement at Parkinson’s UK.