CenTrial Logo

Clinical Trial Evaluates Spinal Cord Burst Stimulation for Back Pain after Spine Surgery


Clinical trial finds there is no benefit from spinal cord burst stimulation for back pain after surgery

According to studies, approximately 30% of the patients who undergo surgery for degenerative spine disease do not achieve the desired results. This residual or worsened pain after spinal surgery is notoriously difficult to treat.

Chronic back pain is a serious condition affecting millions of people worldwide. It can affect your ability to work, play with your kids, or even just enjoy a good night's sleep. For many people, lumbar spine surgery can be a solution to this problem, but some patients still experience pain after the surgery.

It is estimated that up to 50,000 patients currently undergo spinal cord stimulation treatment per year worldwide, and one of the most common indications is persistent radicular pain following lumbar spine surgery. While the use of spinal cord burst stimulation is increasing, rigorous clinical evidence of its efficacy is lacking.

Clinical Trial

A clinical trial has aimed to investigate the efficacy of spinal cord burst stimulation in patients with chronic radiculopathy after surgery for degenerative lumbar spine disorders.

The trial involved 50 patients who had chronic radicular pain after lumbar spine surgery. Radicular pain is a type of pain that radiates from the spine to other parts of the body, such as the legs or arms. The patients underwent two 3-month periods with spinal cord burst stimulation and two 3-month periods with placebo stimulation in a randomized order.

Spinal cord burst stimulation involves implanting electrodes near the spinal cord and using them to deliver electrical pulses to the nerves that transmit pain signals. This can help to interrupt the pain signals and reduce the amount of pain that a person experiences.

Are you interested in clinical trials near you?

You can receive free notification of a trial for this, or any other condition, by completing a short confidential health profile.
Find a clinical trial near me


At the end of the 12-month period, the researchers found that patients who received spinal cord burst stimulation did not have a significant reduction in disability compared to those who received placebo stimulation.

Disability was measured using a scale called the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), which assesses a person's ability to perform everyday activities such as walking, standing, and sitting. The average changes in ODI score were -10.6 points for the burst stimulation periods and -9.3 points for the placebo stimulation periods. These differences between the two groups were not statistically significant.

The results of the clinical trial also suggested that patients in the spinal cord burst stimulation group did not have lower pain or better quality of life compared to those in the placebo group. Additionally, nine patients (18%) experienced adverse events, including 4 (8%) who required surgical revision of the implanted system.


In conclusion, chronic back pain can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life, and lumbar spine surgery may not always provide complete relief. The results of this clinical trial suggest that spinal cord burst stimulation may not be a promising treatment option for patients who experience chronic radicular pain after surgery.

JAMA Network, Oct-18-22
ClinicalTrials.gov  NCT03546738

Share this article with a friend:

Get emailed clinical trial results in the categories of your choice:
Free subscription to clinical trial results

Whether you're healthy or have a medical condition you can participate in a clinical trial.
Signup and be matched to trials near you
This free service will notify you of current and future clinical trial matches.

This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. CenTrial Data Ltd. does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. Treatments and clinical trials mentioned may not be appropriate or available for all trial participants. Outcomes from treatments and clinical trials may vary from person to person. Consult with your doctor as to whether a clinical trial is a suitable option for your condition. Assistance from generative AI tools may have been used in writing this article.