Unlike acute pain that typically fades within a few days, chronic pain continues for 12 weeks or longer. This type of pain can persist even if the underlying injury has been addressed a long time ago.
If left untreated, chronic pain can dramatically decrease your quality of life. If you’re looking for pain management solutions, one option your doctor may recommend is spinal cord stimulation.
About Spinal Cord Stimulation
Spinal cord stimulators are small devices implanted in the spine. It consists of electrodes and a small generator that sends electrical impulses to block pain signals. If patients feel any pain, they can activate the device using a remote control. Experts suggest that the device changes how the brain senses pain and replaces it with other sensations.
Note that spinal cord stimulation is for pain management and that its primary goal is to provide pain relief. Consult your doctor if you have any underlying issues that may need to be addressed.
Who Can Undergo Spinal Cord Stimulation?
Spinal cord stimulation is an advanced pain management technique. Your doctor will only consider this treatment when conservative treatments, like medications and injection therapies, are no longer effective. It may also work on individuals who continue to experience pain even after back or neck surgery.
This treatment may also be appropriate if you experience pain from the following issues:
- Damaged nerve coverings
- Peripheral nerve injury
- Nerve-related problems, such as peripheral neuropathy
- Progressive nervous system disorders, such as:
- Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
- Complex regional pain syndrome
To check if you’re a good candidate for this treatment, your doctor may order imaging tests and review your medical history. They may also screen you for any psychiatric disorders.
What Happens During Spinal Cord Stimulation Surgery?
Spinal cord stimulation is a minimally invasive procedure comprising of two steps. The first is a trial to check how you react to a temporary implant. If you respond well, you will proceed with a long-term implant.
For the trial, your doctor will insert the wires or electrodes under your skin. Meanwhile, they will place the generator outside the body, likely on a belt. You can try the device for three to ten days to check if your symptoms improve.
If you don’t experience significant pain relief after the trial period, your doctor will remove the wires. However, if you experience a 50% or more reduction in pain, you can proceed with the next step.
During this stage, your doctor will place electrodes between the spinal cord and vertebrae. Then, they will insert the generator under your skin. They often do this near the abdomen, flank, or buttocks. Your surgeon will close the incisions after connecting the wires and generator.
The implantation takes about 1-2 hours. It is an outpatient procedure, so you can go home safely that same day. Your doctor will give instructions on how to operate the device and care for your incision.
Advantages Of Spinal Cord Stimulation
Comes With A Trial Period
One of the most significant advantages of spinal cord stimulation is that there’s a trial period. Since there is no one-size-fits-all approach to chronic pain, what may work for someone else may not necessarily work for you. This procedure allows you to check if the implant is effective based on your experience. You can see for yourself how the device works in your day-to-day life.
Adjustable Based On Pain Intensity
The spinal cord stimulator can be customized to different degrees of pain. Your doctor will teach you how to operate the remote control and adjust the intensity of the electrical signal. You can also ask your doctor to preset the device settings.
Can Be Discontinued Any Time
You can ask your doctor to remove the spinal cord stimulator if you’re not satisfied with the level of pain relief you receive. The surgery will depend on the type of lead used in the device.
Pain Management Near Me In Dover, DE
Most patients who undergo spinal cord stimulation experience a 50-70% reduction in pain. While it may not completely eliminate painful symptoms, the procedure provides enough relief for patients to do the things they love.
If you’re searching for a pain management specialist, look no further than the Delaware Back Pain & Sports Rehabilitation Centers. Our pain management doctors offer a wide range of interventional therapies for chronic pain, including spinal cord stimulator trials.
To schedule an appointment, you can contact us at (302) 529-8783 or fill out our online appointment request form. We have locations in Wilmington, Newark, Middletown, Smyrna, and Dover to serve you. We look forward to providing you with long-lasting pain relief!