Spinal cord stimulators are used to introduce a pulse of electric current around the spinal cord. The pulses interfere with brain activity and the nerve impulses that make a patient feel pain. The procedure is used to effectively treat chronic back pain by altering the way the brain perceives pain signals. The signals are altered by changing them to a “tingling” feeling.
Implanting the spinal cord stimulator is done as an outpatient procedure, and a trial implant is necessary first. The patient is given a local anesthetic and sedative. The pain management doctor in Florida inserts a stimulator lead around the spinal cord to offer a trial run of treatment. If the stimulator is effective and relief is noticeable, the Florida pain doctor implants a permanent stimulator.
Generally the stimulator battery/generator is implanted beneath the abdominal skin or just above the buttock area. The latest batteries are able to hold a charge for weeks at a time and are rechargeable from outside the skin. The spinal cord stimulator lead comes out from the battery and is placed around the spinal cord.
Once the stimulator is implanted, the patient works with the Florida pain doctor to determine the best possible pulse strength. The patient is instructed on how to use the device at home for maximum relief from pain. There are typically over a hundred possible programming options that can be tried. When the stimulator is in use, it feels tingly and warm. Rather than the patient experiencing pain in the back or legs, tingling sensations are felt.
Why Is Spinal Stimulation Done?
If a patient experiences chronic and severe pain, spinal cord stimulation is an option. The patient may have experienced failed back surgery followed by intense pain. In this case, spinal stimulation is offered when conservative treatments fail to provide relief.
Other reasons include severe nerve-related damage; pain and numbness or chronic pain in the back that does not subside after conservative treatment is provided. If further surgery is no longer an option, a spinal cord stimulator may the best last resort option possible.
How Effective is the Treatment?
Substantial evidence shows that spinal cord stimulators work very well to relieve pain. Patients with chronic back pain, failed back surgery syndrome, or complex regional pain have all been known to benefit from this form of treatment over 75% of the time.
Are there any risks involved?
- Infection at the insertion site
- Leakage of spinal fluid
- Mild to moderate headaches
- Problems with the bladder
- Scar tissue build-up around the device insertion site or around the electrode
- Pain that radiates beyond the nerve stimulator’s reach
The biggest risk is it may simply not provide adequate pain relief.
The Florida Pain Network works pain with pain clinics throughout Florida that provide all kinds of options for pain relief. This includes Orlando pain clinics, pain management Fort Myers, West Palm Beach pain management and many more. Visit THIS PAGE to find those clinics closest to you, or call (877) 877-8556 for assistance!