Spinal Cord Stimulation is a type of treatment used when other more common forms have failed for chronic back pain. This is a two-part surgical procedure. First, the surgeon combines to two leads or wires that send electricity to the spinal cord or the injured nerves. Next, the surgeon puts in a small generator into the back or abdomen, under the skin’s surface.
This generator gives off a low electrical current through the device to the spinal cord. This will stop the painful sensations and replace it with a pleasant paresthesia in the injured area. As a result, it’s often described as having tiny bubbles popping on the skin. The patient is given a remote control allowing them to turn the stimulator on/ and off and control the stimulation intensity and its location (higher/lower/left/right).
Some of the reasons for needing this device include the feeling of pain after a laminectomy and the breaking down of disks in the back or radiculopathy (a compressed spine condition that brings on numbness and pain).
Spinal Cord Stimulation can also help if you suffer from the following:
• Radiculopathy– a secondary condition brought on by herniated disks.
• Failed back syndrome – a word used to describe chronic back pain after back surgeries.
• Complex Regional Pain Syndrome– This pain can come about after trauma happens to a limb. Symptoms of this condition include an ongoing amount of pain as well as changes in temperature, color and/or expansion of the injured body parts.
•The Two Types of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome are as follows:
- Patients with CRPS are those who DO NOT have many nerve injuries.
- Patients with CRPSII are those who DO have confirmed nerve injuries.
• Peripheral Neuropathy– a disorder that arrives from a nerve injury. Consequently, it’s most commonly related to diabetes. Symptoms include weak, numb or painful limbs. Furthermore, it can also affect other parts of the body.
Risks linked with Spinal Cord Stimulation include:
• an electrode stops working/ the device breaks
• scar tissue forms around the electrode
• pain switches out of the scope of the device
• developing an infection
• spinal fluid leakage
Learn more about spinal cord stimulation and its advantages and disadvantages here.