Last month, our team of orthopedic doctors in Benbrook TX (as well as in Bedford) presented information in our blog on Peripheral Nerve Stimulation. This month we’re focusing on another common treatment for chronic pain: Spinal Cord Stimulation. If you or a loved one lives with chronic neck or back pain, this will give you a basic understanding of how this treatment works. Read on to learn more!
What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?
Spinal cord stimulation is a contemporary form of pain management. It is typically used if alternate when more conservative treatment methods are unsuccessful. Spinal cord stimulation helps by changing the pain messages a patient’s body sends to his/her brain. In this way, even though this treatment does not directly address the source of pain, it helps by transforming symptoms.
How it Works
As one of the top treatments offered by CPI’s back doctors in Benbrook TX (as well as in Bedford), spinal cord stimulation is highly effective at helping patients manage their neck and back pain. It uses an electrical stimulator to mask pain signals, changing how the brain perceives them. This results in what patients typically describe as a tingling sensation instead of pain.
Prior to having the surgery, a less invasive trial version of this treatment is done to test its effectiveness on the patient’s pain. If this proves successful, the patient’s pain care specialist will move forward with the implantation procedure. This procedure involves the placement of a small device as well as pulse generators under the skin in the lumbar (lower back) region of the patient’s body. After successfully completing the implantation procedure, the patient can experience immediate results.
Once a thorough health history is taken and a physical examination performed, a pain care specialist will be able to tell you if this treatment is right for you. While each patient’s pain condition is unique, there are several conditions that typically respond well to spinal cord stimulation. For example, some conditions that usually fall into this category include the following:
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Chronic back/neck pain
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Degenerative disc disease
- Failed back surgery syndrome
- Epidural fibrosis
Risks & Recovery
As with any form of treatment, there are specific risks associated with spinal cord stimulation. This is even true of non-invasive treatments. However, your doctor can assess these risks with you and together help you make the best decision for your unique condition and goals. Some of the risks associated with this treatment include:
- Bleeding and/or infection at incision site
- Battery failure/leakage
- Migration (movement) of equipment
- Allergic response to equipment or anesthesia
- Blood clot
Be sure to contact your pain care specialist if you notice any significant increase in your pain or unusual redness and/or swelling near the surgical area.
Typically, recovery is quite simple. The day of the procedure you will need to rest and limit physical activity. There will be a follow-up appointment with your surgeon or a member of your care team approximately 10 days after the procedure.
Whether you are dealing with chronic back and neck pain or cancer pain (or anything in between) we’re here for you. At CPI we seek to be the healthcare provider patients choose. Our mission is to provide compassionate, innovative healthcare that exceeds our patients’ expectations. Our core values are honor, excellence, commitment and compassion. We treat patients like family, honoring their humanity. We focus on YOU the person, and not just the pain.