What Does Spinal Cord Stimulation Feel Like?

What Does Spinal Cord Stimulation Feel Like?

When you’re plagued by chronic pain in your back or legs, it may seem like you’ll never get relief. Conservative treatments may help in some cases, but when they don’t, it may be easy to lose hope. However, spinal cord stimulation may be an option to help you finally get your pain under control.

At Delmarva Pain and Spine Center, our team can help you when your chronic pain seems to be ruling your life. Leading our team is Dr. Shachi Patel, who is our in-house anesthesia and pain management specialist. Dr. Patel takes the time to evaluate your condition to determine if spinal cord stimulation is a therapy that can help.

What is a spinal cord stimulator?

A spinal cord stimulator is an implanted device that helps to relieve pain in your back and extremities. It consists of electrodes, or wires, that are connected to a generator, or battery, in your body.

When you need a spinal cord stimulator, the electrodes are surgically placed in your epidural space, which is the area between your vertebrae and your spinal cord. Once the electrodes are in the correct spot, the generator is then surgically placed right under your skin. This usually occurs near your buttocks or abdomen, where there’s extra tissue to pad the generator.

You ‘re able to control the device from a remote that’s located outside of your body. When you feel pain, you simply turn the stimulator on, and the stimulation disrupts the pain signals that are being sent to your brain, allowing you to get much-needed relief.

Conditions that warrant this device

Spinal cord stimulation is slightly invasive, so Dr. Patel reserves it for pain that’s not relieved by more conservative treatments. However, if you’ve tried things like physical therapy and medication management without relief of your pain, Dr. Patel may recommend a spinal cord stimulator. 

There are a number of conditions that spinal cord stimulation is able to help. From your back to your heart, this type of treatment is very versatile. Dr. Patel offers spinal cord stimulation if you have any of the following conditions:

If you’re suffering from any of these conditions, and haven’t found a treatment that’s improved your pain, a spinal cord stimulator is an option.

Before you undergo the procedure for the stimulator, Dr. Patel performs an assessment of your condition. She may order imaging studies, such as CT scans or an MRI to evaluate the extent of your condition.

After a thorough evaluation, if Dr. Patel deems a spinal cord stimulator may be helpful, she discusses the procedure and the recovery for this device.

Feeling the stimulation for the first time

After you’ve had the spinal cord stimulator implanted, you can start feeling relief right away. The feeling of a spinal cord stimulator varies from person to person. However, the light tingling sensation is known as a paresthesia. 

The tingling that you feel in your back and legs is due to the slight electrical impulse that the generator emits to the electrodes in your epidural space. The impulse is then transferred to the nerves in your spinal cord, which disrupts the pain signal being sent to your brain.

While an electrical impulse sounds painful, it’s actually not. The impulse is so light that it literally feels like tingling, or light pins and needles in your back and legs. You can increase or decrease the intensity of the paresthesia that you feel, depending on how the electrodes are programmed.

The best thing about the spinal cord stimulator is that it’s personalized to you and your condition. During the procedure, Dr. Patel tests out the electrodes to make sure they’re covering your pain area. The remote is programmed so you have multiple options to relieve your chronic pain.

When you need relief from back or leg pain, don’t hesitate to call our office at 302-355-0900 today. You can also book an appointment with us online today. 

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