If you have chronic pain and have found that most pain treatments are not effective for you, spinal cord stimulation could be an option worth exploring.
Used for over 40 years, spinal cord stimulation is a therapy that can dramatically improve quality of life by relieving severe or chronic pain in areas of the body such as the legs, back, feet, or knees. It has also been found to help chronic neck and abdominal pain and ease neuropathic pain including burning, tingling, and numbness caused by an injury, disease, or infection to the central nervous system.
Spinal cord stimulation provides pain relief by using a small implanted device that transmits mild electrical impulses to the spinal cord. It offers pain relief for patients that have not responded effectively to other interventions such as medication, physical therapy, or injections.
Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS)
The spinal cord stimulator is a small, battery-powered device, similar in appearance to a pacemaker, which is implanted in the body under the skin through a minimally invasive surgical procedure. It delivers mild electrical impulses to stimulate the nerves above the epidural space in the spinal cord. This stimulation interrupts pain signals and substitutes them with a more agreeable sensation, often described as a tingling sensation.
Prior to SCS implantation, patients complete a 7-day trial period, in which a trial stimulator is used to determine whether pain relief can be achieved. If the trial is successful, the permanent system will be implanted.
Spinal cord stimulation may reduce or eliminate the need for pain medication, and it is adjustable to accommodate different pain levels. While spinal cord stimulation may not work for everyone, most people experience a significant reduction in pain.
There are different types of SCS devices available, but they all consist of three main components:
- A pulse generator with a battery to create electrical impulses
- A lead wire with up to 32 electrodes attached to deliver electrical impulses to the spinal cord
- A hand-held remote control to adjust the settings and turn the device on and off
Is Spinal Cord Stimulation Right For You?
There are many conditions that respond well to spinal cord stimulation, including 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, peripheral vascular disease, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury.
To determine whether you are a candidate for SCS, your health care provider will carry out an evaluation of your physical condition and medication history and review any previous treatments and/or surgeries you had.
Typically, SCS is an option for those who:
- Have 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
- Suffer from pain that is caused by a fixable problem
- Do not want additional or complex surgery with risks or a long recovery time
- Do not have a drug addiction or depression that’s untreated
- Have no medical conditions that would prevent them from undergoing implantation
- Have had a successful SCS trial
Pain Relief at Balcones Pain Consultants in Texas
If you are suffering from severe or chronic pain that hasn’t responded to traditional treatments, SCS could be the solution. At Balcones Pain Consultants, our healthcare providers are here to help you achieve a pain-free life and can talk through SCS and the different treatment options available.