Living with chronic pain can be immensely challenging, and if initial treatment approaches don’t yield results, you’re likely to feel disappointed and depressed. If you’re in this situation, a spinal cord stimulator could provide the solution. Zaid Malik, MD, of Superior Pain Relief in The Woodlands, Texas, is a highly skilled specialist in interventional pain management who has extensive experience with SCS implantation. Call Superior Pain Relief today to find out more, or book an appointment online.
A spinal cord stimulator is an implantable device that relieves chronic pain of the back, arms, and legs using electrical impulses called spinal cord stimulation (SCS).
Research indicates that electrical pulses prevent the brain from receiving pain signals, and SCS is particularly beneficial for people who suffer from neuropathic pain and for whom conservative treatments aren’t working.
Spinal cord stimulator implantation involves a surgical procedure, so patients who are suitable candidates for SCS undergo a trial implantation first to see if SCS is effective in reducing their pain.
First, you receive an anesthetic injection in your back to numb the area. Then, your physician at Superior Pain Relief inserts one or more insulated wire leads through an epidural needle or via a small incision into the area surrounding the spinal cord, called the epidural space.
Electrodes at the end of the lead produce electrical pulses that stimulate the nerves, blocking pain signals. You provide feedback to help your physician determine where to place the stimulators to best block your pain. The leads connect to an external trial stimulator, which you use for approximately one week to determine if SCS is going to help relieve your pain.
If you and your physician determine that the amount of pain relief is acceptable, you can undergo a permanent implantation procedure.
Permanent implantation usually takes place while you’re under sedation or general anesthesia. First, your physician inserts one or more permanent leads through an epidural needle or a small incision into the predetermined location in the epidural space.
Next, your physician creates a small incision and positions the implantable pulse generator (IPG) battery beneath the skin. The buttocks or the abdomen are the most common locations for the IPG implant. The leads are then connected to the IPG battery.
Your physician uses an external wireless programmer to program the implant’s electrical pulses. You can use the programmer to turn the system on or off, adjust the stimulation power level, and switch between different programs.
After surgery, you may experience some discomfort and swelling at the incision sites for several days, but it should be fairly mild. You should adjust to living with the spinal cord stimulator rather quickly.
If you have a chronic pain condition and want to know if a spinal cord stimulator could help, call Superior Pain Relief today to find out more, or book an appointment online.