Low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide and one of the most common reasons for seeking healthcare. Despite numerous care strategies, patients with low back pain continue to exhibit poor outcomes. Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is an evidence-based therapeutic modality for patients with failed back surgery syndrome. For patients without a surgical lesion or history, minimally invasive interventions that provide long-term reduction of chronic back pain are needed. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review of the evidence on SCS therapy in patients with chronic back pain who have not undergone spinal surgery.
A systematic literature search was performed to identify studies reporting outcomes for SCS in chronic back pain patients (with or without secondary radicular leg pain) without prior surgery using date limits from database inception to February 2021. Study results were analyzed and described qualitatively.
A total of ten primary studies (16 publications) were included. The included studies consistently demonstrated favorable outcomes in terms of pain reduction and functional improvement following SCS therapy. Improvements also occurred in quality of life scores; however, not all studies reported statistically significant findings. Additionally, the studies reported that SCS resulted in high patient satisfaction, reductions in opioid use, and an acceptable safety profile, although these data were more limited.
Findings suggest that SCS is a promising, safe, minimally invasive, and reversible alternative option for managing chronic back pain in patients who have not undergone spinal surgery.

© 2021 International Neuromodulation Society.