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Spinal Cord Stimulator - How Is It Beneficial In Pain Management?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Varun Singla 89% (33 ratings)
MD, PDCC, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, FPCI
Pain Management Specialist, Delhi  •  7 years experience
Spinal Cord Stimulator - How Is It Beneficial In Pain Management?

One month, the injury is still healing, two months, just a little bit longer, three months? Well, you, believe it or not, it has probably become a chronic pain and is affecting every aspect of your life. Chronic pain may be a novel notion to accept but is now understood to be a disease and generally defined as pain persisting for longer than 12 weeks. Pain management in such cases is traditionally treated through prescription drugs, the other option being amputation.104968

This is a major cause of patients having qualms about these pills and a need for an alternative. In response to this, doctors have a new tool to help decrease the perception of pain which is a small implant placed in the back to help patients shake off the pain. This small device that could bring you back to your feet is the spinal cord stimulator.

What is spinal cord stimulation?

Theoretically, the spinal cord stimulation is a type of neurostimulation which produces an effect that interferes with the brain’s ability to interpret the signal as pain by using electrical pulses. The brain, instead, experiences it as a pleasant numbing sensation. The implant is placed which takes place in two parts i.e. placing the lead device in the spine and placing the pulse generator in abdomen or buttock.

For test stimulation, the several stimulation settings are tried so that the pulse generator can be programmed using these settings. The procedure typically takes 1-2 hours and post-procedure, patients are given a handy device to control the simulations which they are to use in their day-to-day lives.

It has been observed to reduce the pain by at least 50%. However, this too has its limitations. Typical candidates are people with chronic back and limb pain who may have a failed back or disc procedure. The most common risks associated are device-related, example, unintended movement of the leads. Serious effects include hemorrhage in the epidural space or injury to a spinal cord leading to neural damage, but these are highly uncommon.

Quick facts about it

  • The best product which works for spinal cord stimulation is a long-lasting solution with a need to change the battery of the lead device every 9 years.
  • The most recommended device today is the implant because of its compact size and the device costs is quite nominal.
  • The quality of the product matters a lot as there are ample of cheap products available on the same lines. The same can be fitted within the body via a procedure.
  • The procedure conducted is also called the pain pacemaker.
  • Earlier, the procedure was used to conduct only in the international countries, but nowadays the implant can be done in India as well. If you are apprehensive about consuming painkillers for your chronic pain, you can explore this option with your Interventional Pain Specialist.

As it is said, lasting pain can lead to damage, hence don’t wait until the damage repair has a complete null chance, rather reach out to your doctor to understand more about the concept of SCS so that you can get treated in no time. Explore the option with your "Interventional Pain Specialist". In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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