Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a minimally invasive treatment that uses electrical stimulation to relieve chronic pain. This treatment, which is administered through an implanted medical device, works by sending electrical signals to the spinal cord to disrupt pain signals and replace them with a tingling sensation.
SCS is used when other treatments have failed to provide relief, or if a patient is not a candidate for surgery. The procedure involves implanting electrodes near the affected nerves, and these electrodes are connected to a small, battery-powered generator that is implanted under the skin. The patient can adjust the stimulation settings as needed with an external control device.
What Can It Treat?
Stimulators of the spinal cord can be used to treat or monitor various forms of chronic pain, including:
- Back pain, especially back pain that continues even after surgery (failed back surgery syndrome)
- Post-surgical pain Arachnoiditis (painful inflammation of the arachnoid, a thin membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord)
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Pain after an amputation
- Visceral abdominal pain and perineal pain
How Does Spinal Cord Stimulation Work?
The SCS system is made up of two parts: –
1. The implantable components – The implantable components include a surgically implanted power source, such as a rechargeable battery, and the electrodes, which are placed near the spinal cord.
2. The external controller – The external controller is an external device which is used to program and control the stimulation. It is typically worn on the belt and is connected to the implanted components via a wire.
Once the electrodes are in place, the patient can then start using the external controller to control the electrical stimulation. Depending on the patient’s needs, the stimulation can be adjusted to different levels, frequency, and duration. The patient can use the external controller to adjust the stimulation to their needs, providing them with pain relief that can be tailored to their individual needs.
Benefits of Spinal Cord Stimulation for Pain Management
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a minimally invasive and effective treatment option for pain management. It involves the use of electrical impulses to stimulate the spinal cord and reduce the perception of pain. This treatment is particularly beneficial for certain types of chronic pain, and can provide pain relief that is both long-lasting and safe. Here are some of the key benefits of SCS for pain management: –
3. Reduced Medication
4. Improved Quality of Life
5. Effective for Chronic Pain
6. Long Lasting
For individuals with chronic pain, SCS can be a life-changing treatment option.
How to Decide if Spinal Cord Stimulation is Right for You
The best way to determine if SCS is the right option is to talk to your doctor. He or she can help you weigh the potential risks and benefits of SCS against other treatments.
The good news is, SCS has been used to treat chronic pain for more than 30 years, and it can provide long-term pain relief. It is a minimally-invasive procedure, meaning that it does not require any major surgeries. The procedure itself typically takes about 60 to 90 minutes, and it can be done on an outpatient basis.
Before undergoing SCS, it’s important to understand the potential risks and side effects. Some of these may include infection, discomfort or pain at the implant site, lead displacement, and depression or anxiety. Your doctor will likely recommend a trial period with SCS to determine if it is the right treatment for you.
Risks Associated with Spinal Cord Stimulation
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a treatment that is used to treat chronic pain and has helped many people find relief. While SCS is generally considered a safe and effective procedure, there are certain risks associated with it that should be taken into consideration before undergoing the treatment.
1. Infection: The most common risk associated with SCS is infection. As with any medical procedure, there is always a risk of infection. It is important that the area where the electrodes are placed is properly sterilized and prepped before the procedure to minimize the risk of infection.
2. Lead Migration: Lead migration occurs when the electrodes that are placed in the spine move around and are no longer in the correct position. This can be caused by the body’s natural movements and can lead to pain in different areas.
3. Stimulation of Nerve Fibers: Stimulation of nerve fibers can occur during SCS and can be very painful. This is why it is important to find the correct settings for the electrodes so that they do not stimulate the wrong nerve fibers.
4. Allergy to Materials: Some people may be allergic to the materials that are used for SCS. It is important for people to make sure that they are not allergic to anything before undergoing the procedure.
5. Electrical Malfunction: An electrical malfunction can occur during SCS and can lead to pain, shock, or even burns. In order to minimize the risk of electrical malfunction, it is important to have the device checked regularly by a professional.
Stimulation of the spinal cord will enhance the overall quality of life and sleep and reduce the need for prescription products for pain. Typically, it is used along with other therapies for pain relief, including narcotics, exercise, physical therapy and methods of relaxation.
We are proud to offer our patients the highest quality care and the latest in spinal cord stimulation technology. Our team has the experience and expertise to provide the best possible outcome for each patient. We strive to ensure that your experience with us is positive, and we will always do our best to provide the best possible care.