Pain Management Treatment Expands Options for Patients With Low Back Pain

NBCUniversal, Inc.

September is National Pain Awareness Month and 80% of people will experience low back pain at some point in their life. A good portion of them will experience pain that lasts at least three months, affecting their everyday tasks.

Now a new device is allowing patients to take back control while reducing their pain.

Arlene Vélez Díaz has been making mosaic art pieces for more than 20 years.

“That’s my relaxing time. My creative space and I love it,” Díaz said.

But chronic back pain caused by a fall made her set aside her passion.

“I literally thought I wouldn’t be able to walk again. It was that bad," she said.

She tried physical therapy, medications, injections, even surgery, nothing got rid of her back pain for good. Then Díaz went to pain management physician Candice Burnette.

After a series of different treatments, Burnette suggested differential target multiplex or DTM spinal cord stimulation, a neurostimulator placed under the patients’ skin.

“It involves placing small wires in the spinal column and those wires send out a signal that interferes with the brain's ability to perceive pain,” Burnette said. "Eighty percent of patients with the DTM therapy achieved 50 percent or greater reduction in the chronic low back pain."

This is compared to 51% of patients with conventional spinal cord stimulation. Díaz got the device implanted in December 2020 and is feeling a lot better now.

“I just regained my life back," she said.

And she said she is able to continue to make her colorful masterpieces.

Patients can do a week-long trial before they have the device implanted. This option tends to be for those who have tried other treatments for back pain that did not work.

Contributors to this news report include Milvionne Chery, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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