February 27, 2019
Chronic back pain can be downright miserable and leave you searching for new pain management strategies. The back pain specialists at Texas Healthcare Associates want you to know that if conventional methods of pain relief have failed for you, a spinal cord stimulator might be able to alleviate your pain. Here is everything you need to know to decide if a spinal cord stimulator is right for you.
What Is a Spinal Cord Stimulator?
A spinal cord stimulator is a device that’s surgically implanted under your skin. It blocks pain messages that are sent between your brain and spinal cord through the use of mild electrical shocks. Common reasons a stimulator is considered for pain control include a diagnosis of complex regional pain syndrome, back pain that isn’t relieved or gets worse, or pain that’s caused by inflammation of the lining of the spinal cord.
It’s critical you understand that a spinal cord stimulator won’t cure your back pain or treat the underlying cause. However, it can offer significant pain management.
Understanding the Benefits
Along with pain management, you might receive a few other benefits. These potential benefits include:
- Less need for the use of a back brace
- Improved independence
- Need for less narcotic pain medication
- Better sleep
- Increased movement
How Is It Placed?
Spinal cord stimulators are placed in a two-step process – a trial period and then the permanent device placement. A trial period is conducted to find out if the spinal cord stimulator is right for you. The trial device is placed during a simple surgical procedure. Flexible wires are inserted near your spine and then hooked up to a nerve stimulator outside of your body. You’ll go home with this system and try it out for about 10 days.
During the trial, you should try doing a few of the activities that usually cause pain, such as bending or walking up stairs. At the end of the trial period, you’ll meet with our back pain specialist to discuss your experience with the trial device. If you received adequate pain management, you might be a good candidate for a permanent system.
If you and your doctor decide to move forward with the permanent device, you’ll undergo a minimally invasive procedure to place the stimulator. During the operation, you’ll receive a medication that will make you sleepy. However, you’ll still be able to answer questions about your pain levels while your doctor is installing the device.
A small incision is made in your buttocks or abdomen, and the stimulator is placed inside this cut. Permanent wires are inserted near your spinal cord to send the electrical current that blocks pain messages to your brain. The procedure takes about an hour, and you’ll go home in a day or two.
If you’ve been struggling with chronic back pain and are looking for reliable pain management, contact our back pain specialists at Texas Health Associates today. Schedule an appointment or call us today at (972) 258-7499.