Chronic pain is a debilitating condition that affects millions of people, and it can severely impact a person’s quality of life. Traditional pain management strategies such as medications, physical therapy and surgery can be effective for some patients, but they are not always successful for everyone. Fortunately, advances in medical technology have led to the development of many new interventional procedures and therapies that offer restored hope for patients with chronic pain.
Neurostimulation has been utilized to manage chronic pain and improve quality of life for over 50 years. There are several different types of neurostimulation therapies available dependent on your symptoms and the location of your pain. The most common type of neurostimulation therapy used for pain management is Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS). Spinal Cord Stimulation works for both regional pain that is broadly spread in the back and/or limbs and isolated pain in the lower extremities.
SCS is a highly effective therapy for chronic pain patients who have not found relief through traditional methods. It is commonly used for back pain, leg pain, and neuropathic pain. It can also help reduce the need for pain medications, which can have undesirable side effect and lead to addiction. Studies have shown that SCS can reduce pain levels by 50% or more in up to 70% of patients.
Spinal Cord Stimulation involves the use of a small device that is implanted under the skin, typically in the lower back or buttocks. This device is connected to thin wires that are threaded through the spinal canal and positioned near the spinal cord. The stimulator sends electrical impulses to the spinal cord through these wires, which blocks the transmission of pain signals to the brain. The patient can control the intensity and frequency of the electrical impulses using an external handheld remote control, so they can find the right level of pain relief without any unwanted side effects.
The SCS procedure is minimally invasive (a safe therapy with a low risk of complications) and usually done on an outpatient basis. Most patients can resume their normal activities within a few days, with some restrictions. The device is designed to last for many years, and the patient can have it adjusted or replaced if needed. The system is also full body MRI compatible.
Overall, neurostimulation is a promising therapy for chronic pain patients who have not found relief through traditional methods. It is a safe and effective therapy that is successful in reducing pain and improving quality of life for patients with chronic pain conditions. If you are suffering from chronic pain, talk to your pain management doctor about whether SCS may be right for you. With proper diagnosis and treatment, you can regain control over your pain and live a more fulfilling life.