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5 Chronic Pain Conditions That Can Improve With Spinal Cord Stimulation

5 Chronic Pain Conditions That Can Improve With Spinal Cord Stimulation

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is an innovative treatment for chronic pain that uses an implantable device to block or interrupt pain signals between damaged or overactive nerves and your brain. Typically used when more conservative approaches don’t work, SCS can be an ideal solution for people with many types of pain, providing symptom relief without surgery.

Zaid Malik, MD, and our team at Superior Pain Relief offer this state-of-the-art treatment for patients in and around Spring, Houston, Baytown, Willis, and The Woodlands, Texas. Here, we describe five conditions that spinal cord stimulation can help.

1. Failed back surgery syndrome

While the goal of back surgery is to relieve chronic pain or reduced range of motion, there are times when surgery fails in these goals, leaving patients with persistent discomfort. This is a condition called failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS), and while it’s uncommon, it does occur.

Spinal cord stimulation is associated with considerable benefits for patients with symptoms due to FBSS. Dr. Malik uses this technique for patients who continue to have pain after surgery or who experience pain due to problems with their surgical procedure.

2. Peripheral neuropathy

Your spinal column is the conduit for all of the nerves in your body as they leave the brain and branch out. Peripheral neuropathy describes a chronic condition that happens when peripheral nerves — those outside of the brain and spinal cord — are damaged, either where they exit the spine or anywhere else along their path. 

SCS focuses on the nerve that’s causing painful symptoms, blocking or interfering with pain signals before they have a chance to reach the brain. SCS can be a great solution for people with peripheral neuropathy that’s resulted from traumatic injury or diseases like diabetes.

3. Complex regional pain syndrome

People with chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS) have ongoing pain following an injury, typically to an arm or a leg. These symptoms persist even after the initial injury has healed and even after undergoing therapy.

The mechanisms behind CRPS aren’t well understood, and symptoms can vary from one person to another, which means finding a solution for painful symptoms is especially difficult. SCS mutes abnormal pain signaling associated with CRPS, providing relief that can be tailored to your specific symptoms.

4. Degenerative disc disease

Located between each of your spinal bones (vertebrae), spongy discs provide shock absorption for your spine while also promoting pain-free movement and flexibility. As you get older, your discs lose volume or develop tiny tears, increasing painful friction with virtually every movement.

While therapy and medication may help initially, as the discs continue to age, these methods may not be sufficient for providing relief. SCS offers an alternative approach to help women and men finally find relief from disabling symptoms.

5. Angina pectoris

While SCS is associated primarily with nerve-related pain and pain syndromes, it provides benefits for other medical problems, too, including angina pectoris, or chronic chest pain. While many people can control angina symptoms with nitrate medications and other therapies, in some people, the pain is intractable, meaning it doesn’t respond to these approaches.

SCS has been shown to reduce angina pectoris events, decrease the need for nitrate medications, and improve exercise capacity. Researchers believe these effects happen because SCS improves circulation, providing more oxygen to the affected area.

Learn more about SCS

Spinal cord stimulation uses an implanted device to interrupt normal pain signaling. Prior to receiving your device, you undergo a trial to determine whether SCS is a good therapy for you.

To learn more about spinal cord stimulation and how it can help you relieve chronic pain, book an appointment online or over the phone with Dr. Malik and the team at Superior Pain Relief.

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