What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Spinal cord stimulation is a device designed to intercept pain signals traveling from your nerves to your brain, reducing or eliminating the experience of pain. While it doesn’t address the root cause of your pain, it effectively transforms how you perceive and manage pain, leading to an enhanced overall quality of life.

How Does Spinal Cord Stimulation Alleviate Pain?

Spinal cord stimulation utilizes a low-voltage electric current to modify pain signals and can be beneficial for a range of conditions, including chronic back pain, failed back surgery, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), peripheral neuropathy, phantom limb pain, post-laminectomy syndrome, and arachnoiditis.

Your specialist at Alleviate Institute of Spine and Pain performs a surgical implantation of the device, which is approximately the size of a pacemaker, beneath your skin. Lead wires are connected to nerve fibers in your spinal cord, and when activated, the device emits electric pulses that effectively reduce your pain. While outcomes can vary, spinal cord stimulation has the potential to decrease your pain by as much as 70%, allowing you to possibly resume the activities you enjoyed before the onset of your pain.

Am I a Suitable Candidate for Spinal Cord Stimulation?

The determination of your candidacy for spinal cord stimulation is made during a consultation with your pain specialist at Alleviate Institute of Spine and Pain. Although this treatment is effective for many, it is typically not the initial choice for pain management. You may be considered an ideal candidate if:

  • Conservative treatments have not provided relief
  • You are not a suitable candidate for surgery or additional surgical procedures
  • Your pain issue is one that can typically be corrected
  • You do not have any underlying health conditions that would disqualify you

If you are likely to benefit from spinal cord stimulation, your specialist will conduct a trial before implanting the device beneath your skin. During the trial, the leads are attached to your nerves, but the device is worn externally, typically around your waist. Successful completion of the trial period will enable you and your specialist to discuss the possibility of permanent placement.

What Can I Expect During the Permanent Placement Procedure?

The permanent placement of your spinal cord stimulator is a surgical procedure performed under anesthesia to minimize discomfort. Initially, your surgeon places the leads on your spinal cord and then threads them through your skin to the buttock area. Subsequently, an incision is made for the device’s placement in your buttocks, and the incisions are closed with sutures. In most cases, you can return home on the same day.

To acquire more information about spinal cord stimulation, please contact Alleviate Institute of Spine and Pain today or request an appointment online.