When anesthetic injections and other treatments are no longer helpful with your chronic pain or are not an option, the solution can be spinal cord stimulation. It is a treatment option that involves interference with pain signals transmission. Over the years, it has effectively relieved several chronic pain conditions, including neck pain and back pain, where other options failed.
Viable Candidates for Spinal Cord Stimulation
Several conditions qualify you for spinal cord stimulation. They include sciatica, failed back surgery syndrome, disc injury or disease, or complex regional pain syndrome. Ajith Nair, MD, offers spinal cord stimulation in Louisville with high expertise and can help you know if it suits your situation.
During an initial examination, Dr. Nair evaluates your health and looks into your personal and family medical history to validate that the procedure is right for you. If chronic pain affects your daily life, lowering its quality, and no other option can be used, or they have been used unsuccessfully, you are a candidate for spinal cord stimulation.
Different Types of Spinal Cord Stimulation
There are three main types of spinal cord stimulators and include:
- Conventional implantable pulse generator that is battery-operated and can only be replaced when it runs out
- Rechargeable IPG that uses a rechargeable battery
- Radiofrequency stimulator that uses an external battery
Your provider should explain all the options available for you as the different stimulators do well in different body positions.
Spinal Cord Stimulator Procedures
Spinal cord stimulation requires two procedures, namely trial procedure, and implantation procedure.
This is a testing procedure that involves a temporary device being implanted to test you out. Your provider can be guided by fluoroscopy to insert electrodes into your spine. The electrodes are mainly placed in the epidural space, but the position of your pain can affect the positioning. During this procedure, the battery is kept outside the body and your doctor will keep an eye on how it is working to evaluate the device’s effectiveness to reduce pain.
If the process is successful, an implantation procedure is scheduled to implant the device. However, if unsuccessful, the wires can be safely removed.
This procedure involves replacing the trial electrodes with sterile electrodes that are anchored to minimize movement and place the generator under the skin.
The advantages of Spinal Cord Stimulation Compared to Other Options
One of the main advantages of spinal cord stimulation is that it can be reversed. Unlike other procedures, if you decide to discontinue the therapy, all the stimulators can be effectively removed with no permanent change in the spine.
Spinal cord stimulation is a minimally invasive procedure that only requires one incision as the lead placement can be typically done using a hollow needle rather than another incision. Other procedures, such as surgery, are more invasive and cannot be reversed.
Another advantage is that spinal cord stimulation offers targeted pain relief. Unlike medications that affect the entire body and cause other effects unrelated to pain, spinal cord stimulation delivers only at the point of need.
There are also no refills needed for spinal cord stimulation as it can continue for years without frequent visits to your provider, unlike other options.
When compared to other treatment procedures, fewer side effects are associated with spinal cord stimulation.
In conclusion, spinal cord stimulation is a procedure that requires specialist intervention to understand. For more information, you can contact Kentuckiana Pain Specialists and learn more.