Spinal cord stimulation is a treatment that conceals the pain signals prior to they reach the brain. A small instrument, likely to a pacemaker is installed in the body to transfer electric pulses to the spinal cord. It helps patients better overcome their chronic pain symptoms and reduce the use medications. It may can be a choice if you experience chronic back, leg or arm pain and failed to find a potential relief with other therapies
What is a spinal cord stimulator?
A spinal cord stimulator is a tool implanted surgically under your skin and transfers mild electric current to your spinal cord. A small wire transfers the current from the device to the nerve fibers of the spinal cord. Once turned on the spinal cord stimulator incites the nerves in the region where you feel pain. Spinal cord stimulation therapy does not eliminate the main cause of pain, however, it usually blocks the pain signals reaching the brain and so the amount of pain reduction varies from person to person. A trial spinal cord stimulation therapy is carried out prior the device is permanently implanted to respond to any discomfort or incompatibility caused due to the stimulator. The spinal cord stimulator aims to reduce the pain from 50 to 70 % and helps in carrying out your routinely activities with less pain. The stimulator can be easily removed if unsuccessful and will not bring any damage to the spine and the nerves
You may be an ideal candidate for spinal cord stimulation therapy if;
- Other conventional therapies have failed
- Surgery would not benefit you
- The pain is caused by spinal non-alignment and can be fixed
- You do not want to opt for a surgical option for the risk of a long recovery. Sometimes, spinal cord stimulation is recommended over a complex spine surgery
- You have gone through a successful spinal cord stimulation trial
Spinal cord stimulation results better if taken in the early stages of chronic condition
What happens during surgery?
The procedure of spinal cord stimulation is based on two parts comprising of the positioning of the wire in the epidural space of the spine and the positioning of the pulse generator in the buttock or abdomen. The procedure usually takes about a couple of hours to complete. Initially the physician will ask you to lie on your stomach and you will be given a light sedative. The region of your back and buttock will be numbed with local anesthetic. The wires and the device are implanted with the X-Ray guidance. The spinal cord stimulator will be tested and vital signs of the patient are observed. Once you successfully pass the trial, the spinal cord stimulator is placed permanently and the incision is closed