The Basics of Spinal Cord Stimulation

The Basics of Spinal Cord Stimulation

If you or someone you love is living with chronic back pain, you know just how heartbreaking it can be when treatments fail. Our back doctors in Benbrook TX (locations also in Bedford and Lewisville) understand this challenge. In fact, we have a whole line of treatments which are specifically designed for treating those conditions and symptoms that have evaded other therapies.

Today we’re going to share some information on one such treatment: Spinal Cord Stimulation. Read on to learn about who it’s designed for and how it works.


How Does it Work?

The spinal cord stimulation treatment works by intercepting a pain signal along its route to the brain. It works through an implanted generator device (battery pack) and connecting electrodes (very thin wires) which are surgically implanted near the spine. It is controlled by the patient through a remote control, allowing an electrical impulse to be sent any time he or she feels pain.


Who Can Benefit from This Treatment?

Spinal Cord Stimulation is typically offered as an option after several other methods have been tried [unsuccessfully]. In fact, it is most often recommended in those cases where back surgery has failed to help manage a patient’s pain levels. It may also be a good option for the following:

  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
  • Pain-related to an amputation
  • Otherwise untreatable heart pain (refractory angina pectoris)
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • A variety of nerve-related pain conditions

If you or someone you love is struggling with chronic pain and wants to find out if spinal cord stimulation may be a good fit, give us a call today to schedule a consultation. We have Benbrook doctors accepting new patients (as well as at our other two locations in Bedford and Lewisville) who will come alongside you in your pain and help you find the right treatments for you.


Spinal Cord Stimulation Procedure Details

If you and your doctor determine – after a comprehensive assessment of your condition and previous treatments – that you are a good candidate for spinal cord stimulation, there are several steps to the process.

  • Before the procedure, your doctor will recommend you participate in a trial of the treatment with a temporary model of the stimulator. This will allow you to give it a “test run” for 3-6 days.
  • If the trial performs well, the next step is receiving a permanent generator implant. This is an outpatient procedure that typically lasts 1-2 hours.
  • Your doctor will insert the generator through a small incision in your lower back or upper gluteal region. A second incision is also made to allow the permanent electrodes to be placed where the fluoroscopy guide indicates.
  • Once the generator and electrodes are connected, the incisions are closed and the procedure is complete.


Recovery & After Care

The primary areas that require recovery are the incision sites, which typically take between two and four weeks to completely heal. Your doctor may also place you on a lifting restriction as well as a lighter activity level for the first two weeks post-surgery. Be sure to let your doctor know if you experience pain beyond 2 weeks after the procedure or redness around the incision site(s).

Some areas to exercise caution as you begin to navigate your new lease on life with a spinal cord stimulator include the following:

  • Check with your doctor before getting an MRI
  • Follow all guidelines and recommendations regarding when to power off your stimulator (ie: when driving or operating heavy machinery or receiving an X-ray or CT scan)
  • Be aware of safety precautions surrounding electromagnetic interference

As always, when in doubt – talk with a member of your care team. We are here to support you through all the stages of your transition into a pain-free life.


Back Doctors in Benbrook TX

If you are experiencing persistent or debilitating back pain, the doctors at the Comprehensive Pain Institute have many state-of-the-art comprehensive treatment options.  We can help to properly diagnose your condition and provide a plan to treat the source of your pain. Give us a call today to schedule your first appointment!

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