Spinal cord stimulation may be a good option for those who have stubborn or chronic neck or back pain.
What Are Spinal Cord Stimulator Implants?
When back pain has stubbornly resisted other pain-relieving treatments, spinal cord stimulation implants prevent pain sensations from making their way to the brain through mild electrical stimulation. Spinal cord stimulator implants were first used as a treatment for back pain in 1967, but did not receive FDA approval as a pain relief treatment for nerve damage until 1989. Spinal cord stimulation delivers mild electrical stimulation to the nerves along the spinal column, and it is believed that spinal cord stimulation implants may soon be used as a treatment for other diseases as well as back pain.
Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant Procedure
When the spinal cord stimulator implant procedure is used, a tiny device is implanted near the spine, generating mild electrical pulses which interfere with pain messages before they can reach the brain. One of the major benefits to spinal cord stimulator implants is that the patient can have a “trial” period before committing to having the implant. If the patient then decides the implant is not working sufficiently to reduce pain, the lead is pulled out and a small bandage applied to the incision. The trial spinal cord stimulator implant is a simple, painless process.
When the “real” procedure is done, a local anesthesia is applied to the injection side, and, when needed, sedation will be provided. The doctor will insert a hollow needle into the epidural space around the spinal canal. The needle has thin, insulated wires with electrical contacts attached to it. The leads are then attached to an exterior pulse transmitter which the patient wears on a belt, and the patient is given a controller to send current pulses to the electrodes when necessary to relieve pain.
Good Candidates for Spinal Cord Stimulator Implants
Patients who have any of the following conditions may reap the most reduction of pain from spinal cord stimulator implants:
- Patients who have undergone a failed back surgery
- Patients suffering from cervical or lumbar radiculitis
- Patients suffering from sciatica
- Patients suffering from neuropathy
- Patients suffering from complex regional pain syndrome
Spinal cord stimulator implants do not work for everyone, however those who are considered good candidates for the procedure generally report significant lessening of their pain. Those who have an infection at the site where the device would be implanted, or those who have and untreated bleeding disorder, severe depression, a demand-type pacemaker or an untreated drug addiction are not good candidates for spinal cord stimulator implants.
Are you suffering from severe chronic uncontrolled back or neck pain?
Contact Our Seattle Interventional Pain Management Specialists
We understand that severe and chronic back or neck pain can be difficult to control. At Seattle Pain, our primary goal is to relieve your pain and improve your quality of life. We believe in treating the whole patient – and not just the injury. You do not have to live in pain. Call us today at 253-944-1289 or complete a contact form today.