Are You a Candidate for Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Nov 14, 2022
Are You a Candidate for Spinal Cord Stimulation?
Pain can be a difficult issue to treat when chronic discomfort lingers on after your injury heals. When conservative pain management methods prove ineffective, you may be a candidate for a pain modulation technique called a spinal cord stimulator.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that about one in five American adults has experience with chronic pain. Almost half of this number deal with pain so severe that it dramatically impacts their daily living. 

Pain medications don’t offer effective long-term solutions. Since your body develops drug resistance, requiring larger doses to achieve the same effect, you can become dependent on opiate pain medications. 

Before resorting to surgical solutions for pain, spinal cord stimulation may be an effective answer. At Pain Management 360 in Huntington, Hurricane, and Charleston, West Virginia, Dr. Rudy Malayil and his team specialize in this minimally invasive pain management technique. We can assess your candidacy for treatment, which includes a trial stage to establish if spinal cord stimulators will work for you.

What is spinal cord stimulation? 

Spinal cord stimulators deliver a tiny electrical signal from a battery pack, called the generator, through thin wire electrodes placed near the nerves causing your pain. This is usually in the epidural space, between your vertebrae and spinal cord. 

You have a remote control that activates the generator as needed to reduce the amount of pain you experience. If a spinal cord stimulator proves successful for your condition, the electrodes and generator are implanted in your body, while the controller and its antenna remain outside. 

The stimulator changes the nature of sensation from pain to paresthesia, a light tingling sensation. Contemporary stimulators may even provide results where the tingling happens below the level of sensation. 

In essence, the stimulator changes the nature of the signals reported by the nerve, so that your brain doesn’t perceive these as pain. The process isn’t fully understood, but the results are consistent and predictable. 

Are you a candidate for spinal cord stimulation? 

Your first treatment for pain won’t be a spinal cord stimulator. As a pain management aid, you’ll only be recommended for stimulator treatment after conventional methods fail to provide sufficient relief. Spinal cord stimulation may also follow back surgery that fails to clear up your pain symptoms. This may be one of the most common applications of the treatment. 

Otherwise, spinal cord stimulation could reduce pain symptoms for conditions such as: 

  • Chronic back pain, with or without related referred leg pain
  • Chronic neck pain, with or without related referred arm pain
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Refractory angina
  • Arachnoiditis

Spinal cord stimulation helps reduce pain in a growing range of situations. When you’re selected as a candidate who understands and can operate the stimulator system, the first step is a trial with implanted electrodes and a generator worn outside your body. If your pain symptoms reduce by 50% or more, you become a candidate for a permanent implant. 

Find out more about spinal cord stimulation and your suitability for treatment by talking with our stimulator specialists at Pain Management 360. Call or click to request an appointment at our location nearest you. A spinal cord stimulator could help free you from the shackles of chronic pain, so book your session today.