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Chronic Pain: Old Treatment Offers New Hope


Surprisingly, of the patients who had no obvious cause for their pain, 83% responded well to the stimulation. "As most patients with persistent back pain after multiple surgeries for slipped discs or arthritis have no clear reason for pain, spinal cord stimulation may offer new hope to them.

More good news was that outcome was no worse in patients who were receiving workers' compensation payments. Psychological factors -- such as an unconscious desire to avoid work or to collect benefits -- sometimes interferes with treatment of these individuals.

"We are in need of more studies like this one, looking at outcome predictors of our treatments for pain," says Milan Stojanovic, MD, director of the interventional pain program at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. By selecting patients most likely to respond to treatment, doctors can improve the chances of success, Stojanovic tells WebMD.


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