All About Spinal Cord Stimulation

Nearly 65 million Americans suffer from some amount of back pain and about 16 million of them-approximately 8% of the adult population-experience chronic back pain. Back pain is the sixth-most expensive condition in the US. Health care and indirect costs total more than $12 million annually. Even other pains can pass through the central nervous system (CNS) to your mind. So what can you do? Spinal Cord stimulation (SCS), is a neuromodulation procedure that blocks pain signals and prevents back surgery. What is the process? Let’s investigate.

Spinal cord stimulation therapy is a way to mask pain signals from reaching the brain. A device consisting of thin wires (electrodes) and a battery pack (generator)-fittingly called a spinal cord stimulator-delivers electrical pulses to the spinal cord via the electrodes, which carry the signals to the nerve fibers in the spinal cord. This stimulates the part of your brain that processes pain when it is turned on.

Spinal cord stimulation does not completely eliminate pain signals. Instead, they replace the sensations of pain with light tingling known as paresthesia.

SCS is considered when patients have suffered from chronic pain for at least one year. This can lead to a significant emotional or physical impact. Once the patient’s medical history and pain are established, it is possible to evaluate the psychological impact. It is important to not only determine if patients are suitable for treatment but also to support them during the entire process.

Implanting the device can be complicated, but a minimally invasive process. It involves two steps. The first stage is where the doctor inserts a hollow needle into the space above the spinal cord to create a passage. To deliver mild current, one or more leads with small electrical contacts are threaded through. As the electrodes are placed until the pain area is covered (paraesthesia), your doctor will request feedback. Once you have decided on the best position, the leads can be secured.

After approximately one week of therapy, the patient can choose to continue with treatment using a more permanent system. This is the second stage. A power source approximately the same size as a watch is placed under the skin if the patient decides to go with the permanent SCS option. The implantable pulse generator, or IPG, is this device. The IPG includes the microprocessor, battery, and feed-through connections. It is housed in a titanium case. There are two types of power sources available: the primary (non-rechargeable), and the rechargeable battery. The third type of device, which does not require a battery but can be powered either by induction or megahertz, is also available.

SCS is only possible if you select the right patient, conduct a successful trial stimulation and educate the patient. Stimulation doesn’t cure your pain; it just manages the symptoms. If the pain is less than half, then SCS therapy is considered successful. SCS therapy can be reversed if the pain is not reduced by at least half.

This article was written by a medical professional at Florida Medical Pain Management. Florida Medical Pain Management is proud to offer Pain Management Clinics In St Petersburg Florida. Patients at Florida Medical Pain Management can get help managing hip, knee, leg, and neck pain. The practice also offers comprehensive arthritis management, along with treatments for auto accidents, sports, and work injuries.