Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) uses a device to prevent pain nerve signals from reaching your brain. Using a neurostimulator, a small, thin device implanted in the skin, SCS sends out electrical signals that interrupt those from the source of your pain, which can help reduce or eliminate your discomfort. But is spinal cord stimulation the right choice for your chronic back or neck pain?
How Does SCS Alleviate Pain?
While SCS can’t repair or heal your injury, it does stop your brain from constantly perceiving the pain, which can greatly improve your quality of life. Many patients who experience success with
neurostimulators are able to reduce the amount of pain medication they take – or stop taking pain medication altogether.
Since the neurostimulator actually interrupts pain signals, you may experience a very mild tingling sensation in place of the pain, or feel no stimulation at all. There are different neurostimulator devices available. A physician at our spine and joint center can walk you through your options to determine which would be best for you.
Will SCS Help You?
There’s no definitive answer as each patient and their pain is unique. However, if you’ve tried surgery, medication, physical therapy and other forms of treatment without experiencing a significant decrease in your pain, SCS could be for you.
Other conditions SCS can treat include:
- Arachnoiditis (inflammation of the membrane surrounding the spinal cord and brain)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Chronic back & neck pain
- Failed back surgery syndrome
Patients who have complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), neuropathy and cervical and lumbar radiculitis may also benefit from SCS. An experienced pain management physician at our spine and joint center can help you determine if spinal cord stimulation could be an option to help relieve your pain!
How Long Will the Effects Last?
First, you’ll have a trial in which you’ll receive a temporary placement of a neurostimulator. For the trial, the device will be worn on the outside of your body to avoid unnecessary implantation
should the treatment not work, with electrodes attached to your body to administer the stimulation.
Typically, trial periods last about a week. If the treatment is unsuccessful or does not significantly reduce your pain, there’s no damage when the device and electrodes are removed.
If your treatment is successful, you and your physician can discuss permanent implantation of a device, which will be an outpatient procedure that’ll take a bit longer than the placement of the
temporary device. Once the neurostimulator is in place, you should not be able to see or feel the device.
Many neurostimulators come with batteries that can last years, making SCS a potential long-term treatment option. You can also control your level of stimulation and reevaluate your needs as your treatment continues. Should you ever want the device removed, the procedure is reversible.
Looking for a Spine & Joint Center?
Could SCS help relieve your chronic back and neck pain? The best way to find out is by scheduling an appointment with Summit Spine & Joint Centers. Contact us at (770) 250-4020 or reach us through our online form.