Electrical spinal cord stimulation(SCS)can relieve chronic pain and boost performance. Particularly the stimulation might help military personnel perform strenuous duties efficiently, a study says.
"We present six cases that demonstrate SCS can be a viable option for motivated patients in a physically and mentally challenging environment," said the researchers.
The equipment is surgically implanted to generate electrical current to the spinal cord, disrupting the nerve signals responsible for perceived pain.
Because of the need for implanted equipment, SCS has generally not been considered a good option for patients who are physically active.
However, present study led by Dr. Anthony Dragovich of Womack Army Medical Center, Ft. Bragg, N.C. has shown that SCS may be useful in managing the unique medical challenges posed by pain problems in military personnel.
"Due to advances in medical science and the physical and mental fortitude of our soldiers, many previously career-ending and life-altering disabilities have been overcome," said the researchers.
"Many soldiers desire to remain in military service, but unremitting pain is often the last standing hurdle," they added.
All six patients were able to be deployed or redeployed after implantation with SCS hardware and effective electrical stimulation programs.
For example, one patient was able to return to duty with a special forces unit in Iraq and another patient, having completed an overseas assignment without pain, was in the process of applying to dive school.