A spinal cord stimulator is an implanted device used as a neuromodulation technique for various types of chronic pain. It sends low levels of electricity to the spinal cord and is an effective method used when non-surgical pain treatment doesn’t provide enough relief.
This guide helps you understand what to expect from this procedure and the patient’s recovery.
What Are Spinal Cord Stimulators Used For?
Spinal cord stimulation is an effective process used to alleviate the chronic pain that persists even after treatment. It relieves various chronic pain such as:
- Back pain that persists after surgery
- Post-surgical pain
- Heart pain that is untreatable by any other technique
- Pain after amputations
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Any injury directly to the spinal cord
- Complex regional pain syndrome.
Along with other pain management treatments, exercise, physical therapy, proper medications, and relaxation methods, it is adequate to treat this chronic pain entirely.
Am I a Candidate?
Like any treatment, your doctor must ensure that it is the proper treatment for you among the available options. The recommendation comes after several imaging tests and psychological screening. The psychological screening here helps to check that the pain your experience is not coming from disorders such as depression and anxiety.
The people who benefit most from this treatment include those who:
- Don’t feel any relief even after using medications, surgery, and other less-invasive therapies
- There are no psychiatric disorders that are known to decrease the effectiveness of the treatment potentially.
Spinal Cord Stimulator Surgery
The spinal cord stimulator requires two sets of procedures for the final implantation.
The first step is the trial, where the surgeon implants a temporary device and tracks it to see if it works. The test procedure requires only one incision in the lower back to use and place the electrodes. The generator used is outside the body, and the patient can wear it around on their belts.
They track the progress for at least a week. The doctor removes the wires without damaging your spinal cord or nerve.
The permanent implantation takes about one to two hours to complete. The procedure occurs under sedation. The generator used is placed inside the skin. Sterilized electrodes used are firm through anchoring with sutures to minimize movements.
Patient recovery varies, but most leave the same day as the procedure once the anesthesia wears out. The incisions are generally painful for some days after surgery. Dressings placed over the incision sites are ready for removal after three days, and most will heal in two to four weeks.
Your doctor will discuss a detailed recovery plan with you, but generally, you should do light activities for the first two weeks. Your doctor will approve you to go back to normal activities when they are sure of your condition.
Contact us at Spine Diagnostic to get more information on the treatment we offer and how we can help you with pain alleviation procedures. You can do more with your life when you don’t have pain.