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Date of Graduation


Degree Type

Capstone Project (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Jon Gietzen PA-C

Second Advisor

Judy Ortiz PA-C


Background: Chronic back and limb pain is a painful and disabling condition for which spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is a choice when oral medications are not helping, the patient is not a surgical candidate or spinal surgery is not an option. In observational studies, spinal cord stimulators have reduced the amount of pain medication and level of pain in these patients. The purpose of this retrospective study is to determine if the outcome of spinal cord stimulator reduces the amount of pain medication and pain level in patients with chronic back and/or limb pain. A confidential chart review was conducted at the Pain Institute of Nevada, Las Vegas which is a solo provider pain management practice.

Study Design: Retrospective Chart Review of patients older than 18 years of age who had nonmalignant cause for chronic back or limb pain who were patients of the Pain Institute of Nevada.

Method: From January 1st, 2005 - June 2007, charts of patients )N=28) who underwent trial SCS implantation of permanent SCS implantation were studied. Objective variables of pain management at pre and post implantation included the number of pain medications taken. Subjective variable of symptoms at pre and post implantation included pain.

Results: Twenty-eight charts were studied and data was collected. The average pain before SCS was 7.27 out of 10 (SD 1.29). After SCS implantation , patients reported an average of 3.68 out of 10 (SD 2.57) for pain level, and a decrease in the number of pain medication to 1.95 (SD 1.19) (p=0.000 and 0.005 respectively).

Conclusion: the results suggest that SCS reduces the amount of pain medication and pain level in patients with chronic low back and/or limb pain. Further studies such as surveys and personal interviews with patients are needed to confirm these findings.


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