Spinal Cord Stimulator Treatment — A Non-Narcotic Option for Back Pain Relief in Houston, TX
Spinal cord stimulation can modify or mask pain signals before they reach the brain and can be felt. After being surgically implanted under the skin, a spinal cord stimulator (small, pacemaker-like device) can generate and send mild electrical impulses to the nerve fibers of the spinal cord near a pain site. Sometimes recommended to address chronic neck, back, arm or leg pain that has not responded to conservative therapies or surgery, spinal cord stimulator treatment can potentially provide effective relief while reducing or eliminating the need for narcotic medications.
Who is a good candidate for spinal cord stimulator treatment?
Prior to suggesting spinal cord stimulation, a physician will thoroughly evaluate a patient’s clinical diagnosis, pain history, physical condition, previous treatments and medication use. The results of this evaluation can help the physician determine whether spinal cord stimulator treatment is an appropriate option for achieving the patient’s pain management goals.
In general, a good candidate for spinal cord stimulation has been experiencing debilitating pain for more than three months and:
- Has not found meaningful symptom relief with conservative treatment
- Has had one or more spine procedures and would not benefit from — or would prefer to avoid — further surgery
- Has no coexisting medical conditions that would interfere with the implantation of a stimulator
- Has achieved good results with a trial stimulation (which is performed before a device is permanently implanted)
How is a spinal cord stimulator controlled?
Using a handheld controller, a patient can turn the stimulator on and off, select programs and adjust the strength of the electrical impulses. Usually, multiple programs are provided to help a patient achieve maximum pain relief during specific times or activities. For instance, some people notice a difference in stimulation intensity with different body positions, such as sitting versus standing. This effect may result from variations in the spread of electricity throughout the body. If necessary, a spinal cord stimulator can be used around the clock.
While potentially effective, spinal cord stimulator treatment cannot eliminate the source of pain. Rather, it can only change the brain’s perception of pain. As a result, the amount of pain relief achieved can vary widely among individuals.
If you need relief from debilitating neck, back, arm or leg pain that has persisted despite several months of therapy, you may want to explore spinal cord stimulator treatment with a spine specialist at Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, TX. Contact us today.