How Effective is Spinal Cord Stimulation for Chronic Pain?
Everyone experiences occasional pain due to several factors, such as occupation, inappropriate postures, injuries, etc. However, when that pain affects our ability to function or grows more severe, it’s time to consult a pain management doctor.
Pain lasting for months or even years is termed chronic pain. Sometimes, it does not subside even after multiple treatment approaches. When all non-surgical treatments have been exhausted, pain specialists recommend a special nerve stimulation therapy known as spinal cord stimulation or neurostimulation. A spinal cord stimulator uses electrical pulses to disguise pain signals before they reach the brain, making it an effective solution for those suffering with chronic pain.
At Advanced Pain Care, pain specialists provide innovative treatments for chronic pain, such as spinal cord stimulation. The physicians determine if this therapy can be the right solution for you after thoroughly assessing your symptoms so you can achieve lasting relief.
Understanding Chronic Pain
Feeling pain is unpleasant. Thankfully, it is usually brief and subsides when an injury or condition heals. However, pain that lasts more than three months or longer than expected, especially after recovering from surgery, an illness, or injury, is classified as chronic pain. Doctors still do not know the exact cause of this type of pain. It may be triggered due to a health condition from which you have or have not recovered or other ongoing ailments such as arthritis or cancer. People can experience chronic pain without an injury or illness. The pain can be felt in different parts of the body, such as the back, head, and joints, among others.
For many patients, chronic pain alters how the spinal cord, nerves, and brain work together. Due to these changes, “pain” messages travel to the brain from the spinal cord and the nerves. It makes the brain react as if there is harm even when there isn’t.
How Does Spinal Cord Stimulation Work?
The pain specialist implants between 8 and 32 electrodes present in the spinal cord stimulator between the vertebrae and the patient’s spinal cord. The device’s generator is placed just underneath the skin.
The patient has complete control over the spinal cord stimulator. They are given a remote control to turn the device on or off or vary the intensity of the device. The device works by sending mild electrical currents to the spinal cord and stimulates the nerves in the affected area. These electrical currents mask or alter these pain signals before reaching the brain. A simple comparison to illustrate the spinal cord stimulator is “noise canceling headphones for pain”. At Advanced Pain Care, we have helped numerous patients achieve effective relief from chronic pain through the spinal cord stimulator treatment.
The device substitutes pain sensations with a slight tingling called paresthesia. Newer devices provide sub-perception stimulation to fully mask the pain, with no residual sensations. Every type of spinal cord stimulator can be manipulated by the patient using a remote control for the device. Pain specialists at Advanced Pain Care provide guidance to patients regarding the best type of stimulator to manage their pain and experience long-lasting relief.
Types of Chronic Pain A Spinal Cord Stimulator Helps
Spinal cord stimulators are a versatile device to treat various kinds of pain. Pain specialists at Advanced Pain Care may recommend a spinal cord stimulator if you experience any of the following conditions:
- Post-surgical pain
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back pain after surgery
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Arachnoiditis – a pain disorder caused by inflammation of the arachnoid, a membrane that surrounds the spinal cord nerves.
- Complex regional pain syndrome
Different Kinds of Spinal Cord Stimulators
There are three main types of spinal cord stimulation devices.
- Conventional implantable pulse generator (IPG) – The pain doctor places a battery in the spine during the spinal cord stimulator surgery. When the battery is depleted, the doctor replaces it. IPG is typically suitable for patients with pain in just one area of the body.
- Rechargeable implantable pulse generator – The pain specialist places the battery in the spine during the procedure. The battery is rechargeable, so these stimulators can produce more electricity. This device is often suitable for those experiencing pain in the lower back or the legs.
- Radiofrequency stimulator – This type of stimulator uses a battery outside the body. It includes rechargeable batteries and can be appropriate for people experiencing lower back and leg pain.
Regardless of the type of spinal cord stimulator, the patient controls the level of intensity of the device.
Get Spinal Cord Stimulation Therapy at Advanced Pain Care!
If you have not found pain relief from multiple treatment options or are looking for an alternative to pain medication, spinal cord stimulation may be the right choice. However, it’s essential to consult a pain specialist about whether this treatment approach is right for you.
At Advanced Pain Care, experienced pain doctors can discuss various pain treatment options available to help you manage chronic pain. We work with you to create an individualized care plan that gives you the highest outcome.
Pain specialists at Advanced Pain Care provide spinal cord stimulation treatment along with several other pain treatment options. Contact us today to find out if you are a suitable candidate for spinal cord stimulation.