Chronic pain is a serious incapacitating condition affecting quality of daily living of those suffering. Pain is a natural response to harm or damage in the nerves. A Spinal Cord Stimulator is a device implanted with electrode leads along the spinal column, called the epidural space. This device is used to replace continual chronic pain with a pleasant sensation, or simply no pain. Neurostimulation works by interrupting pain signals before they reach the brain. When the Spinal Cord Stimulator device is turned on, it sends mild electrical pulses to nerves along the spinal cord, diminishing the feeling of pain and providing a pleasant sensation. Those suffering with chronic pain along the back, neck, arms of legs may be a candidate for this procedure. The amount of pain relief varies with each individual. Unlike most permanent treatments, the Spinal Cord Stimulator can be tested prior to a permanent implantation.
Candidates for this procedure are patients that have tried and failed conservative treatments such as physical therapy, pain medications, interventional pain management procedures or surgical intervention. The most common symptoms of chronic pain vary from neuropathic burning, shooting and tingling pain in any part of the spine.
The Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial is an outpatient procedure. The patient will immediately experience the sensation provided by the electrode leads so that any alterations can be made at the procedure appointment before you leave. The procedure to implant the trial electrodes takes about 20 minutes and is done with the patient awake to ensure accurate placement over the area of pain. Your provider with numb your skin with local anesthetic for your comfort.
The procedure for Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial is approximately 90 minutes all together. There are 3 different stages to the appointment.
After your procedure you will be given specific instructions on how to use the device. Tenderness at the site of needle insertion may occur but should resolve on its own. You will follow up with your provider 2-3 days after the trial to follow up on the outcome and removal of the leads. If you have a successful trial, a permanent stimulator will be discussed with you.