Spinal cord stimulation therapy is used to modify pain signals before they reach the brain. It uses a small device that is similar to pacemaker with its main function being the delivery of electrical pulses to the spinal cord. It sommonky helps patients manage chronic pain and lower their opioid intake. This kind of therapy is best for people who are suffering from chronic back pain, or leg and arm pain. And it is a great option especially when other therapies have not been successful in relieving pain. If you are suffering from chronic back or neck pain, don’t wait any longer, spinal cord stimulation in Spring Hill may help control and relieve your pain.
What is a spinal cord stimulator procedure?
The spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is a procedure of surgically placing a device under a patient’s skin for it to send a mild electric current to the spinal cord. When the device is turned on, the thin wires carry current from a pulse generator to the nerve fibers of the spinal cord. This stimulates the areas of the body where the pain is felt. SCS results in a pain reduction because the electrical pulses modify and mask the pain signals before they reach the brain.
How does a spinal cord stimulator work?
SCS does not completely remove the source of pain. It only interferes with pain signals going to the brain, its main goal is to reduce 50-70% of pain. Since every person perceives pain differently, the amount of pain relief varies. Although, even a small reduction in pain can significantly help perform daily activities and reduce the intake of pain medications. For some patients, the tingling sensations from the therapy is unpleasant. That is why it is necessary to perform trial stimulation before the device is permanently implanted inside the patient’s body. If the stimulation doesn’t produce good results it can be removed without causing any damage to the spinal cord.
SCS devices can be set to low-frequency or a high-frequency current. The low frequency setting replaces the pain sensation with a mild tingling sensation, which is called paresthesia. whether high-frequency modifies pain with no tingling sensation. The paresthesia-free setting is an available option in most SCS devices.
What are the main parts of a SCS device?
Most SCS devices have three main parts.
- Generator pulse that has a battery – its main function is to create electrical pulses.
- Lead wire with 8-32 numbers of electrodes – this delivers electrical pulses to the spinal cord.
- Hand-held controller – it turns the device on and off and adjust its settings.
Devices with non-rechargeable battery should be surgically replaced every 2-5 years, depending on the usage. Rechargeable battery may last up to 8-10 years or longer, but the device should be charged on a daily basis.
The pulse generator has settings that are programmable. Some devices can detect a change in body position and are able to adapt to the stimulation level of the body activity. Other SCS devices have leads that are independently programmed to mask various pain areas in the body. Some are able to send sub-perception frequency with no tingling sensation. These options are best discussed with your doctor, they can help you decide which device is best fitted to your needs.
Who can be a candidate for spinal cord stimulator?
Your physical condition, medication regime, and your pain history will be evaluated to determine if SCS therapy is appropriate for your pain management goals. All of your previous treatments and surgeries will be reviewed by a physiatrist, neurologist or a pain management doctor. Since chronic pain can affect a person emotionally, a psychologist will perform an assessment to maximize the possibility of successful outcomes.
The usual candidates for SCS have been experiencing chronic pain for more than three months in their lower back, legs (sciatica), or arms. They also have gone through one or more spinal cord surgeries.
The following are the other factors making you eligible for SCS:
- Several failed therapies
- There is no beneficial assurance from additional surgery
- You don’t want to undergo further surgery because the recovery process will take long
- The main cause of your pain is correctable and should be fixed
- No existing drug addiction or untreated depression
- No current medical condition that would keep you from undergoing SCS implantation
- Successful SCS trial
SCS therapy works better in the initial stage of a chronic condition. It is best implanted before pain becomes a cycle or is well established in your body.
What chronic pain conditions is spinal cord stimulator used for?
SCS can be implanted and can help lessen chronic pain conditions that are caused by the following ailments:
- Chronic leg, or arm pain
- Spinal stenosis
- Nerve damage
- Failed post-surgery syndrome
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Stump pain
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal cord injury
What are the possible results of SCS therapy?
SCS does not cure pain it only decreases the pain, so it can be manageable for the patient. The whole procedure is considered to be successful when the pain is reduced by at least 50%.
Research shows that chronic pain patients who went through a spinal cord stimulation experience excellent long-term pain relief of 50% to 80%. 24% of pain patients experience improved quality of life and ability to return to their employment or housework from the SCS alone or with occasional intake of pain medication.
SCS treatment is reversible. Once a patient decides to discontinue the therapy, the device can be removed at any given time.
Spinal Cord Stimulator Spring Hill – Further information
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The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.