Spinal Cord Stimulation Q & A
What is spinal cord stimulation?
Spinal cord stimulation is an innovative interventional pain management technique that uses a mild electrical current to prevent pain signals from reaching your brain.
A spinal cord stimulator includes a small generator that your physician implants under your skin in your lower back and a wire that extends into your spinal column.
What conditions improve with spinal cord stimulation?
Spinal cord stimulation is an effective treatment for chronic pain caused by nerve damage. For example, your physician might recommend spinal cord stimulation to treat:
Failed back surgery syndrome
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
Spinal cord injuries
Spinal cord stimulation isn’t a first-line pain treatment, although it can often help you avoid surgery. You might be a good candidate for spinal cord stimulation if you’ve tried other conservative pain management treatments without relief.
What’s the process for getting a spinal cord stimulator?
The team at Oklahoma Pain Physicians begins with a comprehensive consultation to determine if spinal cord stimulation is right for you. If you’re a good candidate for the treatment, your spinal cord stimulator is implanted in two phases.
The first phase is a trial to ensure that spinal cord stimulation alleviates your pain. During the trial phase, your physician numbs your lower back and uses fluoroscopy — a special type of X-ray — to position the electrical lead over the nerves causing your pain.
They attach the wire to an external generator that you wear on a belt for the duration of your trial, which usually lasts 4-7 days.
Then, if your trial phase is successful, your physician implants the device into your body. You have general anesthesia for the permanent implantation. Your doctor removes the trial lead, replacing it with a permanent electrode wire. Then, they attach the wire to the generator, which is implanted under the skin of your lower back.
A spinal cord stimulator should provide almost immediate pain relief, although you might have some tenderness as your body recovers from the implantation operation.
Call Oklahoma Pain Physicians or request an appointment online today to find out how a spinal cord stimulator can alleviate your pain.