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NSPC Spinal Cord Stimulation

NSPC TREATMENT BLOG 1 Spinal Cord Stimulation

Imagine feeling back pain every waking and sleeping moment of your day. Not being able to find a comfortable position in which to sit or lay. Not being able to stand for long periods. Perhaps the pain prevents you from living the active life you’d like. Maybe your quality of life is being affected. It’s hard to go places or see people because you don’t know if you will be hurting too badly.

That’s what life was becoming for Jamie J, a polio survivor who thought he beat the odds by surviving childhood polio and living pain-free for years. Then things changed. Jamie began having chronic back pain due to the development of post-polio syndrome, a degenerative condition that can affect polio survivors years after recovery. To ease his discomfort, he had surgery, which was a lumbar fusion for three herniated discs. Unfortunately, the scar tissue and surgery itself affected nerves in his spine, which caused constant and chronic pain.

Like Jamie, 20 percent of Americans experience chronic pain every year. It is troublesome for the patient, their family and friends, employers, and the healthcare industry. Doctors have an arsenal of tools to use, like surgical options, pharmaceutical options, and physical therapy to help reduce pain.

But when those treatments fail, the board certified physicians at National Spine & Pain Centers use an innovative technique, called (SCS) or spinal cord stimulation, that works very effectively at reducing chronic pain.

Patients who are candidates for SCS, like Jamie, have generally had chronic pain for more than a year. Spinal cord stimulation is recommended when other treatments have not been successful, when surgery is not likely to help, or when surgery has failed.

Spinal cord stimulation is a procedure that delivers low-level electrical signals to the spinal cord or to specific nerve roots to block pain signals from reaching the brain.

Patients who are interested in spinal cord stimulation are able to undergo a trial period where the temporary device is placed. For about one week, patients are able to feel what it is like to have electrical signals block the pain signal. If a patient has a significant reduction of pain and increase in function during the trial week, then they can choose to have a permanent device implanted. The spinal cord stimulator is placed in the back near the spinal cord. The patient may turn the current off and on or adjust the intensity of the signals. Some devices cause what’s described as a pleasant, tingling sensation while others do not.

Typically, patients needing SCS have neuropathic pain, which occurs when there is an injury, disease, or trauma to the central nervous system. There is chronic, tremendous, and constant sharp or stabbing pain.

Here at National Spine & Pain Centers, we are careful to diagnose patients who may be candidates for spinal cord stimulation. Conditions that might lead to this treatment include:

  • Annular tear
  • Degenerative disc disease (DDD)
  • Discogenic back pain
  • Lumbar disc herniation
  • Post-laminectomy syndrome
  • Spinal stenosis
  • CRPS
  • Diabetic peripheral neuropathy
  • Herniated disc
  • Lumbar cervical radiculopathy
  • Sciatica

While numbers differ, SCS is said to reduce pain in 50 to 80 percent of patients experiencing chronic, long-term pain. It does not eliminate all pain, but the severity of pain is reduced, and therefore more manageable. Often SCS is combined with other pain-relieving strategies.

Research shows some 34,000 patients around the world undergo spinal cord stimulator implants each year. There have been many clinical studies done showing the effectiveness of this treatment. So effective that, for patients like Jamie, it has improved his pain and quality of life.

The affiliated board-certified pain specialists at National Spine & Pain Centers can determine if this is an option for you and help stop pain from interfering with your life. Don’t live in pain, schedule an appointment today.

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