How to Relieve Back Pain Through Spinal Cord Stimulation
Spinal cord stimulation may be a treatment option for back pain if other methods have failed. The goal of spinal cord stimulation is to deliver low-level electrical signals to the spinal cord to interrupt pain signals. This prevents pain signals from reaching the brain, reducing the amount of pain a person feels.
Spinal cord stimulation can help people manage back pain and reduce the use of opioid medications. However, it’s not for everyone. Talk to your doctor or a pain specialist to see if this treatment method can help with your pain.
Let’s learn more about spinal cord stimulation and how it can be used to manage back pain.
How Does Spinal Cord Stimulation Work?
Around 14,000 patients from around the world undergo spinal cord stimulation each year. To make this treatment work for you, a spinal cord stimulator (SCS) device must be surgically placed under your skin, near the spinal cord. Once inserted, you have control over the intensity of the electrical currents and whether the device is turned on or off.
Some devices do produce a tingling feeling called paresthesia. If you are sensitive to these types of sensations, choose a device that has a paresthesia-free setting. This setting uses high frequency pulses to mask the pain without any tingling sensations.
When the SCS device is turned on, it stimulates the nerves in the area where the pain is felt. Electrical currents are sent to interrupt the pain signals and prevent them from reaching the brain. The currents do not eliminate pain, but the pain is reduced.
Because the currents only interfere with the pain signals, the amount of pain reduction is different for everyone. Some people find a great deal of pain relief with spinal cord stimulation, while others only experience a small reduction. This procedure is recommended for people who have not been helped by other treatment measures.
What are the Benefits of Spinal Cord Stimulation?
Stimulation does not work for everyone, but it does work for some. Fortunately, you can do a trial stimulation that allows you to test out the device. If it doesn’t work, the trial wires can be removed and no damage to the spinal cord is done.
Here are some benefits to consider when using spinal cord stimulation for back pain.
- Works on many types of pain. SCS is effective at treating many types of pain, including back pain, sciatica pain, failed back surgery syndrome and complex regional pain syndrome.
- Adjustable pain relief. Pain varies between person to person, and SCS allows pain clients to have control over their pain relief. This is a welcome change for those living with chronic pain conditions.
- Minimally invasive procedure. Generally, only one incision is needed to implant the generator. The procedure is low risk, and if the device ends up not working, it can easily be removed.
- Reduced opioid use. The pain relief that can be provided with an SCS device may reduce the number of opioids a person takes. This reduces side effects associated with opioids as well as prevents drug dependency.
- Targeted pain relief. Pain medications affect the whole body and lead to drowsiness, irritability and constipation. SCS is targeted on a specific part of the body.
- Limited side effects. SCS has limited to no side effects, especially when compared to pain medications and muscle relaxers. With the reduction in opioids, most people are able to save money, too.
Are you ready to learn more about spinal cord stimulation and how it can help your back pain? Contact Jersey Rehab at one of our four convenient locations to discuss your options for alternative pain relief.