What is a Spinal Cord Stimulator? 

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is an innovative technology that addresses some of the most difficult pain problems experienced. Identified as an effective treatment option for many chronic sufferers, SCS is most often used for neuropathic pain, including diabetic neuropathy, post-laminectomy syndrome (residual pain after back surgery), and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).

Spinal cord stimulation provides pain relief by using an implanted device that transmits mild electrical impulses to the spinal cord. The stimulation interrupts the feeling of pain, substituting a more pleasing sensation called paresthesia. This feeling can differ from patient to patient, but many patients describe it as a pleasant tingling.

If you suffer from chronic neuropathic pain, spinal cord stimulation (SCS) may enable you to control and relieve your pain. Our board certified pain specialists can determine if this is an option for you and help stop pain from interfering with your life.

How Does it Work? 

The first step involves a trial –  a temporary stimulator is implanted to determine if the therapy provides satisfactory pain relief.

A local anesthetic is used to numb the area before one or more leads are placed in the epidural space along the spinal cord. These soft, thin wires with electrical leads on their tips are placed using a thin needle. When the leads are positioned in the best location, they are connected to a portable, external generator. Once connected, the system generates mild electrical pulses that will be programmed to replace your areas of intense pain with the more pleasing paresthesia.

If your trial is successful, and you and your doctor decide you will benefit from SCS, your doctor will work with you to schedule the placement of a permanent SCS system. Using a magnetic remote control, you can turn the current on and off, or adjust the intensity, rapidly responding to changes in the location or severity of your pain. Since the system is portable, SCS makes it possible to resume many normal daily life activities at home and at work, as well as recreational activities.

What are the Expected Results? 

SCS can be an effective way to decrease the severity of chronic pain to a more manageable level. There are many clinical studies supporting the effectiveness of SCS therapy. While the degree of pain relief varies from person to person, these studies show that 85 to 90 percent of those who have undergone treatment report a 50 to 70 percent reduction in overall pain. Many also report a significant increase in their ability to enjoy normal family and work activities again. We know that reducing pain can have a positive effect on your mental outlook, reduce stress, and improve overall quality of life.

In Pain? We Can Help.