A deep brain stimulation (DBS) technique may help people who have chronic pain and do not respond to other forms of treatment, according to an Australian study.

DBS has been used for more than 50 years to treat chronic unresponsive pain.

During this procedure, electrodes that are placed in the brain deliver a continuous electrical pulse to areas that are involved in processing pain signals.

The Study

In their study, the Australian researchers reviewed previous studies examining the use of DBS to treat pain.

They found that the rate of long-term pain relief was highest—87%-in patients undergoing DBS

A long-term success rate of more than 80% was achieved in patients who had intractable low back pain and failed back surgery. These patients had a successful trial DBS and then had permanent DBS implantation.

Trial DBS proved successful in approximately 50% of people who experienced post-stroke pain, and permanent DBS implantation resulted in 58% of these patients achieving ongoing pain relief.

"We conclude from this analysis, as well as our own experience, that DBS has an important role to play in the treatment of selected patients with chronic pain syndromes which have not responded to other forms of treatment," says researcher Dr. Richard G. Bittar of the Australasian Movement Disorder and Pain Surgery Clinic in Melbourne.

Get Some Sunshine as You Get Well

Sunlight reduces the need for pain medicine, according to a study. Surgery patients in sunny rooms had drug costs 21% lower than those of equally ill patients in darker rooms.

Possible reason: People feel less pain if they are in a better mood, and sunlight seems to improve mood.

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