for people ages 21-85 (full criteria)
Healthy Volunteers
healthy people welcome
at San Francisco, California
study started
completion around
Principal Investigator
by Anastasia Keller, PhDJeannie Bailey, PhD
Headshot of Anastasia Keller
Anastasia Keller
Headshot of Jeannie Bailey
Jeannie Bailey



As a leading cause of disability worldwide, chronic low back pain (cLBP) represents a significant medical and socioeconomic problem with estimated health care spending of $87 billion/annually. The efficacy of dorsal column electrical stimulation to inhibit pain was first described over 50 years ago. Since then, several large clinical trials have investigated the therapeutic potential of electrical spinal cord stimulation (SCS) and found that over 70% of patients with intractable pain had over 50% pain relief after 1 year of treatment. Thus, SCS is a promising therapeutic intervention that has superior patient outcomes when compared to traditional modalities for the treatment of cLBP. To date, SCS for treatment of cLBP has been delivered via epidural electrodes, requiring neurosurgical implantation. Although, the implantable stimulators have a low rate of adverse events, secondary complications associated with surgical intervention still occur.Transcutaneous spinal cord stimulation (tSCS) is a rapidly developing non invasive neuromodulation technique in the field of spinal cord injury. Its application potentiates lumbosacral spinal cord excitability enabling motor functions, (e.g. independent standing, postural control) in patients with chronic complete motor paralysis. Given that epidural and transcutaneous SCS activate similar neuronal networks, tSCS for cLBP treatment may be advantageous due to its non-invasive nature which may also allow for a mass market production and rapid patient availability if tSCS is proven efficacious. In this pilot study we will establish the feasibility of tSCS to acutely improve patient reported outcomes (pain scores) and several objective measures, including sit-to-stand biomechanics, neurophysiological and neuroimaging outcomes.


Chronic Low-back Pain, non-invasive, spinal cord stimulation, neuromodulation, Back Pain, Low Back Pain, tSpinalStim


You can join if…

Open to people ages 21-85

  • Low back pain
  • Able to get in and out of chair unassisted
  • No changes in medication within 2 weeks of study enrollment
  • Stable dose of their medications within 2 weeks of study enrollment

You CAN'T join if...

  • Body Mass Index (BMI) > 28
  • Hardware in the spine from prior surgeries
  • Presence of epidural stimulation leads
  • Presence of any additional neuromuscular pain unrelated to spinal condition
  • Intolerance to any form of electrical stimulation, such as neuromuscular stimulation in the past
  • Lack of perceived endurance to go through multiple experimental assessments in one day/complete the study which may take up to 3 hours
  • Changes in medications within 2 weeks of study enrollment
  • Moderate/severe depression (Beck Depression Inventory score > 20)


  • San Francisco VA Medical Center accepting new patients
    San Francisco California 94121 United States

Lead Scientists at UCSF

  • Anastasia Keller, PhD
    Assistant Researcher, Neurological Surgery, School of Medicine. Authored (or co-authored) 10 research publications. Research interests: spinal cord injury · transcutaneous spinal cord stimulation · neuromodulation · neurophysiology · pain neurobiology
  • Jeannie Bailey, PhD
    Jeannie Bailey, PhD, has over a decade of interdisciplinary research experience in orthopaedic health outcomes focused on lumbar spinal conditions and low back pain. Dr. Bailey received her bachelorís degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and her masterís and doctorate degrees from the University of Washington.


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, San Francisco
If you are interested in participating in the study, please follow the link to the initial patient screening survey
Study Type
Expecting 50 study participants
Last Updated