Spinal Cord Stimulation
A spinal cord stimulator (SCS), also known as a dorsal column stimulator, is an implantable medical device used to treat chronic neuropathic pain. Implanted into the spinal epidural space, this device sends mild electric current to the spinal cord, altering the body’s perception of pain. This device helps relieve pain from failed back surgery syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome, peripheral neuropathy and many other debilitating conditions.
Our pain specialists at Allied Pain & Spine Institute are highly trained and experienced in using this sophisticated technology to drastically and positively impact the lives of patients who may alternatively have limited additional treatment options for conquering their pain.
How Does Neuromodulation for Chronic Pain Work?
Spinal cord stimulation is the most established form of neuromodulation, a proven therapy which involves direct stimulation of the nervous system using electrical signals. In the case of spinal cord stimulation, the nervous tissues on a specific portion of the spinal cord are targeted as a means to block pain signals to the brain. Decades of use and research have proven that neuromodulation is a safe, effective and sustainable treatment for chronic pain and movement disorders. In addition, neuromodulation is reversible if needed and non-invasively adjustable to better manage patient symptoms.
Spinal cord stimulation involves a minimally-invasive procedure in which small incisions are made to insert the battery-operated neurostimulator device. The procedure can take one to three hours and is performed under advanced digital imaging for optimal accuracy. One small incision is used to place the wires (or leads) of the device into the epidural space, which is the outermost space of the spinal canal. A second tiny incision is made between the skin and the muscle layers in the buttocks or abdomen to secure the neurostimulator device where the wires will be connected. Recovery is quick and downtime is minimal to none, although you may need to avoid strenuous activity for a period of time.
Once implanted, the sophisticated device works by emitting an electrical current to the spinal cord. As a result, patients may experience a tingling sensation instead of the pain. Depending on the type and severity of your pain, our physicians will recommend the most appropriate type of neurostimulator as well as program it to the proper frequency and pulse. Some patients will be given a handheld programmer, giving them the freedom to adjust their own neuromodulation therapy as needed. The implant used in spinal cord stimulation does not cause damage to the spinal cord nerves. If the device fails to offer relief for your chronic pain, it is easily removed.
If you suffer from sciatica, failed back surgery syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome or other chronic pain conditions, you may be a candidate for spinal cord stimulation at Allied Pain & Spine Institute. To learn more, contact our office today to set up an SCS consultation with one of our physicians.