A New Form of Electric Brain Stimulation Promises to Jolt Away Back Pain

electric brain stimulation
Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe / Getty Images

When your back acts up, there’s been little to do about it except ice, heat, aspirin, and rest. But scientists at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine may have found a new way: zapping your brain. Using a novel form of electric brain stimulation, it is possible to synchronize and restore order to particular brain rhythms that help regulate pain signals, thereby easing feelings of discomfort in people with chronic back pain.

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Research reveals all it takes is a 40-minute session to see results. It’s safe and noninvasive—most of the participants didn’t even feel it because the current is so weak. Experts are hopeful this technology will help chronic pain sufferers and even help stem opioid use. The only downside: It may be a couple of years until it’s widely available.

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