How to Know if Spinal Cord Stimulation is Right For You

How to Know if Spinal Cord Stimulation is Right For You

Chronic pain is a condition that leads to not only physical discomfort, but mental hardships as well. This condition causes you to miss out on the activities you love and affects your work and home life. Whether it’s pain in your back or other nerve conditions that are causing your pain, finding a treatment is necessary for relief. Spinal cord stimulation is a consideration when chronic pain is keeping you down.

At Delmarva Pain and Spine Center, our team are experts in helping you overcome the heartache of chronic pain syndromes. Dr. Shachi Patel is our pain management specialist who determines if you’re a good candidate for spinal cord stimulation. If so, she gets you started down your road to recovery right away.

How spinal cord stimulation works

A spinal cord stimulator is a simple, yet complex device that alters the way your brain interprets pain. It’s implanted in your back, and consists of wires that house tiny electrodes and a battery. The battery is also known as a pulse generator. 

Before you undergo the actual surgery to have a spinal cord stimulator implanted, Dr. Patel does a trial run with a temporary stimulator to make sure you get adequate pain relief. This trial usually lasts for about a week or so. If you get good pain relief, she suggests proceeding to the permanent surgery.

During the permanent surgical procedure, the wires, or leads, are threaded into the epidural space in your spine. This is the space between your vertebrae and your spinal cord, where many of your nerves are located. While using X-ray guidance, Dr. Patel places the electrode where you’re having pain.

Once the leads are in place, they’re threaded into the pulse generator that’s generally implanted in your buttock or abdomen. This gives the electrodes the power they need to provide gentle electrical stimulation to your nerves.

You’ll control the amount of stimulation you receive through a remote that you carry with you. However, in newer types of stimulators, the tingling feeling felt by traditional simulators is absent. This is known as sub-perception spinal cord stimulation.

The type of spinal cord stimulator that you need is based on several factors. This includes your overall health, your chronic pain condition, and where the pain is located in your body. There are a lot of options out there, and Dr. Patel helps you choose the right system for you.

When spinal cord stimulation is an option

Spinal cord stimulation is not the first choice in treatment, because it’s considered an invasive procedure. Dr. Patel recommends conservative measures as a first line of treatment to help you ease your pain. Types of conservative treatments that you can try include:

While these treatments often help temporarily, in some cases, they just aren’t enough to alleviate your chronic pain. At that point, you’ll be faced with making a decision if you want surgery or another route of treatment.

Spinal cord stimulation is an option if you’ve tried multiple types of conservative measures without significant relief. It also can help you decrease your pain to a tolerable level to avoid much more invasive surgical procedures.

This type of treatment helps a variety of different chronic pain disorders, including back pain and other conditions like:

Spinal cord stimulation is a great choice for many people, but not everyone. Dr. Patel goes over your past medical history and evaluates your pain and previous treatments when making a decision on whether this treatment is right for you.

However, if you have chronic pain due to back conditions or nerve damage, a spinal cord stimulator has the ability to provide the pain relief you need. This is especially true if you’ve exhausted other treatment avenues without significant improvement.

Don’t hesitate to call our office at 302-355-0900 to schedule a consultation for a spinal cord stimulator. You can also book an appointment with us online today. 

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