Spinal cord stimulation is a minimally invasive treatment for chronic pain. Pain is transmitted through the spinal cord to the brain. Spinal cord stimulators block the transmission of pain through the spinal cord.
Spinal cord stimulator is made up of electrical wires and small “pacemaker” battery. Electrical impulses stimulate the spinal cord blocking the transmission of pain from the legs, back, arms or neck. The pain is replaced with a more pleasing tingling sensation in the areas the pain was felt.
Spinal cord stimulators are usually given to people who continue to have pain after spine surgery (failed back syndrome) or have nerve disease like diabetic neuropathy or chronic pain syndromes such as reflex sympathetic dystrophy.
Step 1 – Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial
Patients who are candidates for spinal cord stimulation initially will undergo a temporary trial of spinal cord stimulation for a few days. The wires are implanted into the spinal canal and come out of the skin connecting to an external computer and battery. If the patient gets good pain relief from the trial a permanent spinal cord stimulator will be recommended.
Step 2 – Permanent Placement of Spinal Cord Stimulator
The spinal cord wires and “pacemaker” computer and battery are implanted few weeks to a month later.
Advantages of spinal cord stimulation include minimally invasive, short recovery, high success rates, minimal to no blood loss and same day out patient procedure.