Living With a Spinal Cord Stimulator

Our pain management specialist, Shachi Patel, MD, and the team here at Delmarva Pain and Spine Center in Newark, Delaware, often recommends spinal cord stimulation. Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions about the innovative pain solution.

How does SCS technology work?

The innovative spinal cord stimulation therapy works by disrupting communication pathways that relay pain signals to your brain. After a successful trial period of a week or two, you’ll move forward with permanent SCS implantation. Dr. Patel places a small stimulator in your spinal canal’s epidural space and routes ultra-thin wires from the device to other areas of your body to deploy tiny electric energy pulses that cover up the pain. Spinal cord stimulation is most often used for:

Spinal cord stimulation is usually a last resort after other nonsurgical treatments fail to alleviate persistent pain. It’s necessary to test your candidacy with the trial period to see if it offers an adequate level of pain relief and if you’re able to tolerate the electrical pulses.

How do I control my pain?

Once your spinal cord stimulator is in place, you’ll receive a handheld remote that you can use to adjust how much and where you receive stimulation. It’s important to note that this groundbreaking technology does not address the pain’s source, but rather masks it with tingling bursts of electrical current. With your remote, you can increase or decrease how much intervention you need.

Is it safe to have a spinal cord stimulator?

As with any surgical procedure, spinal cord stimulator placement does come with some risks, such as infection, but the many benefits far outweigh the concerns. In general, the procedure is considered safe and effective, and serious complications are quite rare. Many of the post-surgery issues are related to the device’s mechanics rather than a physical problem because of the implant.

Will I have to limit my activities when I have a spinal cord stimulator?

Not much. You’ll need to turn off the device when you drive, but otherwise, you’re free to resume your normal activities or take up new hobbies now that your pain is under control. 

If spinal cord stimulation sounds like a promising solution to your long-lasting pain, call the office to book a consultation, or schedule an appointment conveniently online

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