What You Need to Know About Spinal Cord Stimulation

Waking up each day to debilitating back or neck pain can wreak havoc on your life. And the road to relief through surgery or medications may not appeal to you because both choices carry considerable risks. Or perhaps you’ve already had surgery and the pain still persists. 

Whatever the case, there’s one treatment method that has garnered a good deal of success among patients with hard-to-treat spine pain — a spinal cord stimulator.

At Pain Medicine Consultants, our highly trained team of pain management specialists has one mission — to bring relief to patients using the widest range of tools available. If you’ve tried a number of different approaches to your back and neck pain, but you’re still struggling, it may be time to explore new options, such as the spinal cord stimulator.

Here’s what you need to know about spinal cord stimulation.

Blocking the messages

A spinal cord stimulator is a device that emits low-voltage electrical currents to disrupt the pain messaging between the nerves around your spine and your brain. To deliver the currents, we place electrodes inside the epidural space where your problem nerves are located. Once in place, these electrodes release the currents, which create a mild tingling sensation in the area, rather than the pain. 

This type of neurostimulation is effective for a number of conditions that cause pain along your spine, including:

In most cases, patients have tried various methods to control the pain and discomfort without success, at which point spinal cord stimulation may be the best course of action.

A trial run

To ensure that a spinal cord stimulator will work for your back or neck pain, we perform a trial run in which we direct temporary leads into your spine. If this temporary measure proves successful, we then make plans to implant a more permanent spinal cord stimulator.

If the trial run isn’t successful, we try moving the leads to see whether placement was an issue.

A more permanent setup

If you find much-needed relief during your trial run, we arrange to implant your spinal cord stimulator. For this procedure, we place you under general anesthesia and make only small incisions through which we direct the electrodes into place.

We also place a small generator beneath the surface of your skin in your abdomen or buttocks. Once everything is in place, we close the small incisions.

While the spinal cord stimulator is located inside your body, you have control over the level of electrical current via a handheld remote.

If you’d like to explore further whether you may be a good candidate for a spinal cord stimulator, please contact one of our locations in Pleasant Hill, Pleasanton, or Novato, California, to set up a consultation.

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