What Is Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Spinal cord stimulation is a treatment for chronic pain that utilizes a small medical device (a spinal cord stimulator) that emits a small electric current to your spinal cord. Spinal cord stimulation is part of the neurostimulation category of treatment options and has been rising in popularity as more individuals experience neuropathic pain, and healthcare providers are trying to move away from chronic opioid therapy for treating pain.

Neurostimulation is a category that covers, spinal cord stimulation, peripheral nerve stimulation and transcutaneous stimulation when it comes to pain management.  The field is complex and also delves into motor cortex stimulation and deep brain stimulation.  Schedule a consultation with our board certified and fellowship trained expert physicians to discuss your care.

What Conditions Does Spinal Stimulation Help Manage?

Spinal cord stimulation is used to treat chronic pain, but the causes of this pain can vary. Some of the most common reasons someone may opt for spinal cord stimulation are:

Implantable Pulse Generator (IPG)
Remote
Spinal Cord Stimulation View

What Conditions Does Spinal Stimulation Help Manage?

Spinal cord stimulation is used to treat chronic pain, but the causes of this pain can vary. Some of the most common reasons someone may opt for spinal cord stimulation are:

How Does Spinal Cord Stimulation Work?

As mentioned above, spinal cord stimulation utilizes a small device that sends a mild electrical current to your spinal cord. The purpose of this is to interrupt the pain signal that is going to your brain from the nerves in your spine.

The spinal cord stimulation procedure has two parts: the trial and the implantation surgery. The trial typically lasts a few days and ensures that the device will work properly when implanted.  The trial is considered successful if the patient experiences at least a 50% reduction in pain. If the trial is successful, the implantation surgery is typically performed a few weeks after the trial.

It is imperative to have a very candid discussion about your pain and how you approach this process.  The board certified and fellowship trained physicians at Carolinas Pain Center can help you navigate this.  

Not everyone gets relief with these devices, and healthcare professionals want to ensure that you get relief before permanently placing the device under your skin. There are some very important questions to consider such as MRI abilities, longevity and nuances of this treatment.  Please consider speaking to the physicians at Carolinas Pain Center, even for a second opinion, before considering this therapy.

The device consists of thin wires and a small battery pack (similar to a pacemaker). The thin wires are placed between the spinal cord and the vertebrae, and the generator is placed under the skin, typically near the buttocks. This device is controlled by a remote that patients can use to send electric pulses when feeling pain.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Because spinal cord stimulation uses a permanently-implanted device in the body, it is typically only offered when other treatments such as physical therapy and corticosteroid injections do not work.

Before getting the procedure, it is imperative that you understand spinal cord stimulation, the nuances and the differences between different systems.  This is a complicated topic and frequently misunderstood.  Seek a consultation or a second opinion from one of our physicians and get the candid opinion you deserve.

In other words, the best candidates for spinal cord stimulation are those who have already undergone other treatment methods that did not work.

How Carolina’s Pain Center Can Help

If you live near Charlotte, Denver, or Huntersville, North Carolina, and you are struggling with back pain, Carolinas Pain Center can help you get the treatment you need. We offer personalized treatment plans tailored to your needs because everyone’s experience with any chronic condition is different.

To learn more about what treatment options are available to you and get started with your treatment plan, make an appointment with Carolina’s Pain Center.