Spinal cord stimulation is a procedure that involves implantation of a device that blocks the body’s pain response and replaces it with a pleasant sensation instead of the pain.
What is spinal cord stimulation?
Spinal cord stimulation is the application of electrical current at the pain source to replace the sensation of pain with a pleasant tingling or buzzing sensation.
What can I expect from the spinal cord stimulation procedure?
Unlike most other treatments, patients are able to have a trial stimulator before the permanent procedure is done. The temporary placement is done in an outpatient setting, where the electrode leads are placed under the skin and the patient will be given a small generator to carry. If the patient sees significant pain relief during the trial, the permanent procedure may be considered.
During the permanent procedure, the medical team will place the leads under the skin and will surgically place the small battery pack under the skin of the abdomen or buttocks. The system will be programmed and the patient will be taught how to make changes for the best pain relief.
What are the benefits of spinal cord stimulation?
Many patients find that they reduce or eliminate the need for pain medication following the spinal cord stimulation procedure, and generally, 50 – 70% reduction in pain is experienced. The goal is to decrease pain and increase function and the ability to participate in activities. Another benefit of spinal cord stimulation is the ability to have a trial period to determine whether or not the device will work for a particular patient.
Who is an ideal candidate for spinal cord stimulation?
Patients who suffer from neuropathy conditions, failed back surgery syndrome, other chronic back and neck conditions may be candidates for spinal cord stimulation. This procedure does not work for everyone, and those who do not experience at least 50% pain relief during the trial often are not recommended to have the permanent spinal cord stimulation procedure.