Spinal Cord Stimulation

Spinal cord stimulation can help people suffering from long-term, chronic pain caused by a variety of conditions. Spinal cord stimulation uses low-voltage electrical stimulation to the spinal cord to block painful stimuli from reaching the brain.

With spinal cord stimulation, a battery operated device called a pulse generator is surgically implanted under the skin at the base of the spine. This implant sends a mild electrical current to the spinal cord. The electrical current feels like a mild tingling or vibration which replaces the feeling of pain.

Spinal cord stimulation does not cure the cause of the pain. The electrical currents interfere with the pain signal to the brain which dulls the perception of pain to varying degrees depending on the patient and the severity of the pain. The patient uses a hand held remote control to turn the device on and off and to adjust the frequency of the pulse. Learn more about Spinal Cord Stimulation here from Boston Scientific and here.

Prior to having a spinal cord stimulator permanently implanted, the physicians at Cedar Hill Pain and Rehab perform a trail placement of the stimulator using a temporary wire. The wire, or lead, will remain in place for several days and will give the patient the opportunity to experience the relief available prior to undergoing a full implantation surgery. Placement of a trial stimulator wire takes between 30 to 60 minutes. Placement of a permanent spinal cord stimulator takes from one to two hours.

A good candidate for spinal cord stimulation is determined through evaluation by your doctor, which includes a comprehensive history, physical examination, and evaluation of the patient’s goals and expectations. A patient whose pain improves by at least 50% during the trail is a candidate for permanent stimulator implantation.

Spinal cord stimulation can be very effective in helping some patients manage their long-term pain and regain a higher quality of life.

Common indications for spinal cord stimulation include:

  • Chronic post-operative pain following back or neck surgery
  • Neuropathic pain due to damaged nerves
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Post-surgical nerve damage
  • Complex regional pain syndrome

If you or a loved one is suffering from chronic pain and interested in discussing treatment options including spinal cord stimulation, the physicians at Cedar Hill Pain and Rehab can help.

To learn more about spinal cord stimulation and to find out if you’re a candidate for treatment, you can make an appointment with a physician at Cedar Hill Pain and Rehab by calling 972-291-9165 or click here.