Are you tired of undergoing treatments – such as medication, physical therapy, or injections – that are having minimal, if any, success in relieving your chronic back, leg, foot, or knee pain? One viable alternative is spinal cord stimulation (SCS), a therapy that suppresses pain signals before they reach your brain, thereby providing relief.
How SCS Works
Prior to SCS implantation, patients usually complete a week-long trial period in which a trial stimulator is used to determine whether pain relief is achievable.
With SCS implantation, a small, battery-powered device called a spinal cord stimulator – similar to a pacemaker – is implanted under your skin to deliver electrical pulses to your spinal cord. This minimally invasive procedure allows you to control your own pain relief. It happens through a small wire that carries a current from a pulse generator to the nerve fibers above your spinal cord’s epidural space.
When the device is turned on, it stimulates the nerves in the painful area. The pain is reduced because the electrical pulses act to modify and prevent the pain signal from reaching your brain. This stimulation does not eliminate the source of your pain – it simply alters the way your brain perceives it.
The goal of spinal cord stimulation – which is adjustable to accommodate various pain levels – is to reduce pain by as much as 50 to 70 percent. Nevertheless, any pain reduction can make a huge difference in your ability to perform daily activities and lead a more active life. It can also reduce or eliminate your need for pain medication.
Among the conditions that respond well to spinal cord stimulation are chronic leg (sciatica) or arm pain, failed back surgery syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome, arachnoiditis (inflammation and scarring of the lining of spinal nerves), stump pain, angina, peripheral vascular disease, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury.
Are You a Candidate for SCS?
In determining whether you are a candidate for SCS, you will undergo an evaluation of your physical condition, your medication regimen, and history of pain. Your pain specialist will also review any previous treatments and/or surgeries.
Typically, the best candidates for SCS are those who:
- Have had chronic pain in the lower back, leg, or arm for more than three months
- Have had one or more spinal surgeries
- Have tried conservative therapies that have failed
- Are unlikely to benefit from additional surgery
- Have pain that is caused by a correctable problem that should be fixed
- Do not want additional surgery because of the risks involved or a long recovery time
- Do not have drug addiction or depression that’s untreated
- Have no medical conditions that would prevent them from undergoing implantation
- Have had a successful SCS trial
Professional Pain Relief in Texas
Severe or chronic pain that doesn’t respond to traditional treatments may be addressed with more advanced methods. The important thing is to let your health care provider at Balcones Pain Consultants know about your symptoms as soon as possible, so you can be treated promptly and go back to living a happy, pain-free life.
Call Balcones Pain Consultants at (512) 834-4141 or use our Online Appointment Request Form to schedule an appointment at the location near you.