Spinal Cord Stimulation
Spinal Cord Stimulation is a very common procedure that helps many patients in need. It is a procedure that actually masks pain signals before they reach the brain, and in turn helps reduce medication requirements and improve quality of life. This procedure is done for patients who have had multiple spine surgeries and continue to have chronic arm, leg, neck, or back pain despite various treatment options. In addition, it is indicated for chronic nerve pain such as CRPS (Complex regional pain syndrome) in the extremities. The good news is that the initial procedure is a “trial” in the office which takes 45 minutes and does not include any surgeries, incisions, or time away from work. It can be done with sedation, and for the 1 week after the trial assessment will be done to see if a permanent placement is the next step. The trial involves placing electrodes in the spinal column, which reproduce a “massage” or an internal “TENS” unit type feeling in the areas of pain. The patient has full control of the intensity and programming of the internalized unit. In turn, this tricks the brain and masks the pain signals which is a good feeling! If patients have a “positive” response to the trial, they will be candidates for permanent placement. This is done as an outpatient procedure, with all the electrodes and miniature battery internalized. The good news is within about 4 weeks after this procedure most patients are doing all activities and living life with reduced pain and symptoms!