Spinal Implant Promises Back Pain Relief

This surgically implanted device that can block chronic back pain has experts talking.
3:31 | 10/14/13

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Transcript for Spinal Implant Promises Back Pain Relief
index," more than 67 million americans reported having back pain in a single year. Now advances in the technology that has been around for years may hold new promise for people with chronic back pain. Juju chang, where did larry go? All of a sudden, larry is gone. awful, she was willing to have a device surgically implanted into her back to block the pain. Insurance can sometimes pay for the procedure. Some are questions its long-term use. You're not going to get me. Reporter: Maria says for the first time if five years, she's enjoying playing with her three kids pain free. Chronic back pain kept her from every day duties like cooking and cleaning for her family. It's a gnawing, sometimes burning, sometimes stabbing. It could stop me in my tracks. Reporter: Maria and a slew of doctors tried everything. I saw more than 27 specialists. I must have done physical therapy six separate times. I had tried wholistic accupuncture. When her back pain turned her arm cold and blue, she was forced the give up her job. The pain finally controlled me. Reporter: She saw a doctor that suggested a spinal cord stimulater designed to send electrical pulses to the spinal cord. They interfere with the nerve pulses that give you pain. It's been around for decades. Fewer technically improved devices are in demand. I think spinal cord stimulation is an excellent option for people that have failed all other therapies. Reporter: Maria got hers for free because it's experimental. Many doctors are concerned that $35,000 is a lot to pay for a surgery. There are still serious questions about its effectiveness in the long term. Some doctors believe the pain relief may be coming from a powerful pla fful placebo effect. We found if our study that most keep taking pain killers. The literature suggests that the benefits tend to wear off after six months to a year. Reporter: Maria says it's given her a new lease on life. To be part of my kids' life, go to the playground, I wasn't able to do that before. Reporter: Doctors say the device should be seen as last resort. They say exercise and cognitive therapy could be a better source of relief in the long run. We heard from a maker of the device who said spinel cord stimulation is a proven approach. Clearly, more research is needed to see who benefits the most. But it's offering hope for some. Made a difference for her. Thank you, juju.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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