Spinal cord stimulation is an innovative approach to managing the most severe and treatment-resistant pain conditions. Sharon Leano, MD, and James Kim, MD, of Capital Pain Consultants in Sacramento, California, specialize in using cutting-edge interventions like spinal cord stimulation to help patients when no other therapies relieve their pain. To find out if spinal cord stimulation could relieve your pain, call Capital Pain Consultants and schedule a consultation, or book an appointment online today.
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) can help patients with severe chronic pain in their back and legs or neck and arms that isn’t improving with other forms of treatment.
Spinal cord stimulation uses an implantable device (a spinal cord stimulator) to transmit electrical impulses to the nerves in your spine. The electrical energy changes the lines of communication between the nerves and your brain to combat pain.
Some spinal cord stimulators change the pain signals to a tingling sensation called paresthesia. Others block the pain signals.
Spinal cord stimulation isn’t a frontline treatment for chronic pain, as there are many less-invasive options. Your provider at Capital Pain Consultants starts your treatment with the most conservative choices, such as physical therapy and medication, which many patients find are all they need.
If your pain persists, other treatments include epidural steroid injections and nerve blocks, and radiofrequency ablation. If these therapies are ineffective or unsuitable, your provider might suggest spinal cord stimulation as the next step.
Before you undergo a permanent implantation, you can try spinal cord stimulation for a week or so to make sure it’s effective. The trial implantation involves having a minor surgical procedure where your provider inserts one or two insulated wire leads into your spine.
They might use an epidural needle to insert the leads or make a small incision that allows them access to the epidural space surrounding your spinal cord. Electrodes on the ends of the leads pulse against your nerves, disrupting the pain signals.
Your provider at Capital Pain Consultants needs to know when the position of the electrodes gives you the most pain relief. They fix the leads in this position and connect them to an external unit. You control the trial spinal cord stimulator with a remote device.
After your trial, you can proceed with permanent spinal cord stimulator implantation if you felt significant benefit from the treatment. Permanent implantation takes place under sedation, or you might need a general anesthetic.
Your provider extracts the temporary leads and replaces them with permanent ones, ensuring they’re in the correct position. Next, they place a small implantable pulse generator (IPG) battery under your skin on the buttocks or abdomen. Finally, your provider connects the leads to the IPG battery.
After the procedure, you can alter the strength of the electrical impulses and use different programs to suit the intensity of your pain.
If you’re struggling with chronic pain and nothing else is helping, find out if spinal cord stimulation could make the difference. Call Capital Pain Consultants today, or book an appointment online.