We want all of our patients to remain hopeful that a good solution can be found for the pain and disability they suffer from. Spinal cord stimulation is one way to treat persistent pain after back surgery and chronic regional pain syndrome.
A spinal cord stimulator is an implanted device that delivers a current to the back part of the spinal cord to help modify or block the pain signals traveling to the brain. It is powered by a battery that is also implanted. It is kind of like a pacemaker for the spinal cord.
There are some very unique things about spinal cord stimulation that patients should know:
1. It is a surgical treatment that is trialed before actually doing the surgery. A stimulator lead is placed for a few days to gauge how successful a permanent implant is likely to be.
2. The treatment is reversible. The stimulator can be turned off or removed without long term problems.
3. The technology around stimulation is currently in a state of rapid advancement. If a patient failed to improve with stimulation 10 years ago, for example, they may find benefit with the technology now.
Spinal cord stimulation is a far better way to treat chronic pain than high doses of narcotics. It is an example of why patients today, more than ever before, can have hope for their future.