Spinal Cord Stimulator

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What is a Spinal Cord Stimulator?

A Spinal Cord Stimulator or SCS is a device that is made specifically to stimulate the spinal cord and spinal nerves. It was approved by the FDA in 1989 and has become a standard in the treatment of chronic back and limb pain when other treatments have failed. Studies indicate that 50-70% of patients using neurostimulation find significant pain reduction.

If you suffer from chronic neuropathic pain, spinal cord stimulation (SCS) may enable you to control and relieve your pain. Our team can determine if this is an option for you and help stop pain from interfering with your life.

How Does the Spinal Cord Stimulator Work?

The first step is a trial run – a temporary stimulator is implanted to determine if the therapy provides satisfactory pain relief.

Typically, neurostimulation works by applying a low voltage current to the source of the chronic pain. This produces a tingling sensation that blocks the brain’s ability to discern the previously perceived pain. The source of the pain is still present, but the SCS interferes with the signal to the brain. In spinal cord stimulation, soft, thin wires with electrical leads on their tips are placed through a needle in the back near the spinal column. A small incision is then made and a tiny generator, that can be programmed, is placed in the upper buttock or abdomen (under the skin) which discharges electrical current to the spinal column.

If your trial is successful, and you and Dr. Harron decide you will benefit from SCS, we will work with you to schedule the placement of a permanent SCS system. Using a magnetic remote control, you can turn the current on and off, or adjust the intensity, rapidly responding to changes in the location or severity of your pain. Since the system is portable, SCS allows you to resume many normal daily life activities at home and at work, as well as recreational activities.

The Results of Spinal Cord Stimulation

SCS can be an effective way to decrease the severity of chronic pain to a more manageable level. Many clinical studies support the effectiveness of SCS therapy. While the degree of pain relief varies from person to person, these studies show that 85-90% of those who have undergone treatment report a 50-70% reduction in overall pain. Many also report a significant increase in their ability to enjoy family and work activities again. Reducing pain has a positive effect on your mental outlook, reduces stress, and improves overall quality of life.

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