Spinal stimulators, or spinal cord stimulators, are medical devices designed to help patients with chronic back pain. These implanted devices work by sending a gentle pulse of electricity directly into the spine. These pulses disrupt pain sensations and change the way the brain processes pain signals.
Often, chronic pain can be a vicious cycle. Inactivity due to pain can lead to decreased mental health and declining physical fitness ultimately makes chronic pain worse. For patients dealing with severe and debilitating back pain and related symptoms, spinal stimulators can help them return to daily activities and break the cycles of inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle.
If you’re exploring potential treatments for chronic pain and want to know whether a
the spinal stimulator is right for you, take a few minutes to read the following guide.
What Is A Spinal Cord Stimulator?
A spinal cord stimulator is an implanted device that consists of a small power pack (generator) attached to two electrodes at the end of very thin wires. The wires travel from the generator to the epidural area of the spine, where they transmit a gentle electrical pulse to the areas where you feel pain.
While medical researchers are still learning about how spinal cord stimulation works, they believe that the stimulation disrupts pain signals as they travel to the brain. Instead of pain, patients often report feeling a slight tingling sensation.
Getting a spinal stimulator involves two procedures. The first is a trial procedure where only the electrodes are implanted and run to an external device. The purpose of the trial period is to determine if the electrical stimulation is effective. If a patient experiences relief, the follow-up procedure will place the full implanted device underneath the skin. Both procedures are minimally invasive and performed on an outpatient basis. Patients can return home on the same day.
Is A Spinal Stimulator Right For Me?
Not every patient is a good candidate for stimulation therapy. In most cases, it is recommended for patients who have specific conditions and are at a specific point of treatment. Here are three primary indicators that could make you a good candidate for a spinal stimulator:
- You Have Debilitating Chronic Pain Related To A Spine Condition Or Other Problem. Spine stimulators can offer relief for a range of spinal conditions, including chronic back pain caused by bulging and herniated discs, a spinal cord injury, nerve compression, or arachnoiditis. Additionally, stimulation can provide relief for non-spinal conditions like angina and diabetic neuropathy.
- You Have Fully Explored Conservative Treatments. For many people living with chronic pain, conservative options such as medication, physical therapy, injections, and lifestyle changes can be highly effective. But for others, conservative treatments fail to deliver the relief necessary for daily living.
- You Have Undergone Spine Surgery But Are Still Suffering From Chronic Pain. Sometimes, back surgery fails to resolve pain and symptoms. Whether a patient chooses not to undergo a second surgery or isn’t a good candidate for another surgery, a spinal cord stimulator can be an effective alternative for post-surgical pain.
Patients who meet one or more of these indicators may be candidates for spinal stimulators.
Are You Interested In Spinal Cord Stimulation?
If you’re living with chronic pain that hasn’t responded to prior treatment, reach out to BEST Health System to find out if you’re a good candidate for spinal cord stimulation. Please call us today to speak with a dedicated patient coordinator.