Chronic pain can be debilitating, making it difficult to enjoy life and participate in everyday activities. If you are living with chronic pain, you may have considered a spinal cord stimulator (SCS) as a treatment option.
An SCS is a device that delivers electrical impulses to the spinal cord. These impulses can block pain signals from reaching the brain, providing relief from chronic pain.
There are two types of SCS: trial and permanent placement. A trial SCS is a temporary procedure that allows you to see if an SCS would be effective for you. If the trial is successful, you can then have a permanent SCS placed.
What is a Spinal Cord Stimulator?
An SCS is a small, battery-powered device that is implanted under the skin. The device has leads that are placed in the epidural space, which is the area around the spinal cord. The leads deliver electrical impulses to the spinal cord, which can block pain signals from reaching the brain.
How Does a Spinal Cord Stimulator Work?
The electrical impulses delivered by an SCS work by interfering with the transmission of pain signals from the nerves to the brain. This can provide relief from chronic pain, such as back pain, neck pain, and pain from nerve damage.
Who is a Candidate for a Spinal Cord Stimulator?
SCS is a treatment option for people with chronic pain who have not responded to other treatments, such as medication, physical therapy, or injections.
To be a candidate for an SCS, you must have pain that is located in a specific area of your body, such as your back or neck. You must also be able to tolerate the surgery to implant the device.
How is a Spinal Cord Stimulator Implanted?
The implantation of an SCS is a two-part procedure. The first part is the trial, which is a temporary procedure that allows you to see if an SCS would be effective for you. The second part is the permanent placement, which is the surgery to implant the device permanently.
The trial SCS is typically performed in an outpatient setting. The doctor will make a small incision in your back and insert the leads into the epidural space. The leads will then be connected to a temporary generator that is placed outside of your body.
If the trial is successful, you will then have the permanent SCS placed. The permanent procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia. The doctor will make a larger incision in your back and implant the leads and generator permanently.
What are the Benefits of a Spinal Cord Stimulator?
SCS can provide significant pain relief for people with chronic pain. It can also improve quality of life by allowing people to participate in activities that they were previously unable to do due to pain.
What are the Risks of a Spinal Cord Stimulator?
The risks of an SCS are generally mild and infrequent. Some of the potential risks include:
- Pain at the implant site
- Device malfunction
Is a Spinal Cord Stimulator Right for Me?
If you are living with chronic pain, you may want to talk to your doctor about whether an SCS would be right for you. Your doctor can help you determine if you are a candidate for the procedure and can answer any questions you have.
An SCS can be a safe and effective treatment option for people with chronic pain. If you are considering an SCS, talk to our specialists to learn more about the procedure and whether it would be right for you.
If you are interested in learning more about spinal cord stimulators, or if you think you may be a candidate for the procedure, please contact the Spine and Pain Clinic of Texas today at +1 (214) 256-3900. We would be happy to discuss your options and answer any questions you may have.
The information provided on this blog is for general purposes only, and the treatments and procedures discussed may be subject to change. For the most accurate and authentic information, it is recommended to seek advice from qualified specialists or healthcare professionals. The content should not be considered professional advice, and reliance on it is at your own risk. Individual circumstances may vary, so it is important to consult with relevant experts for personalized guidance.