Spinal cord stimulation in the Woodlands is an alternative for those who have failed to alleviate their chronic pain issues with non-surgical treatments. Nonsurgical treatments of chronic pain including stretches, over the counter medicine, and massages among others.
Spinal cord stimulation is a treatment that can be used to offer relief for such ongoing pain. It is mostly used for long term chronic pain relief.
How is the Procedure Done?
Spinal cord stimulation is a procedure that involves utilizing electrical signals to prevent pain signals from your spine from being sent to your brain. A lead (spinal cord stimulator) is usually implanted near the spine and is the unit that delivers the electrical impulses to the brain.
The procedure is usually short and takes just an hour if done properly. A local anesthetic will have to be used during spinal cord stimulation. A simulation trial of the procedure is usually conducted first and then, if successful, the operation to place the stimulator will be conducted.
A permanent lead will be placed along your spine while a permanent generator will be implanted in another part of your body, maybe your chest or abdomen. The lead and the generator are connected via a wire and connected to an external controller.
Therefore, you can customize your response based on the pain you feel. A spinal cord stimulator functions similarly to a pacemaker hence it is often referred to as the ‘pain pacemaker.’
Who Receives Spinal Cord Stimulation?
Spinal cord stimulation is often recommended for those with chronic pain, particularly in the back or neck. It is often for those cases that get more severe with time.
Other people who are in need of spinal cord stimulation include those experiencing nerve pain in their limbs, complex localized pain, or spinal cord/brain inflammation. As stated earlier, it can be used to treat any form of chronic pain that does not respond to other forms of treatment.
Are There Any Risks Involved?
Spinal cord stimulation is a surgical procedure but carries less risk than traditional surgery. The main reason is that it is a minimally invasive procedure that only uses small incisions to insert the stimulator and generator. Smaller incisions mean faster healing times, reduces bleeding, and reduces the risk of getting infections or any complications.
The risks associated with spinal cord stimulation are the same as any surgical procedure albeit reduced. Nerve damage, pain at incision points, and infection are all possibilities.
There is also the risk that the generator and the stimulator may not work properly necessitating another surgery.
How Effective is Spinal Cord Stimulation?
It has proven without a doubt that spinal cord stimulation does reduce the amount of chronic pain in patients. Many patients report more than 50% in pain reduction after having the procedure.
However, we should stress that spinal cord stimulation is not a conclusive treatment as it is only used to relieve discomfort in patients. Adjustable pain relief, minimal side effects, and batteries that last for over five years make spinal cord stimulation an effective solution to chronic pain.