Spinal Cord Stimulation

Interrupt pain signals with mild electrical pulses.

What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Spinal cord stimulation distracts the brain from pain signals once tissue has been injured. This treatment utilizes low-voltage stimulation to transmit an electrical current up the spine that interferes with pain signals so that the brain is more focused on the tingling sensation of the current than the pain of the injury.

Common Conditions

Possible causes include: muscle strain, injury, herniated disc, arthritis, spinal stenosis.
Possible causes include: herniated disc, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, Spondylolisthesis, Piriformis syndrome, Trauma
A chronic condition that typically affects the arms and legs.

Type 1 – The most common type of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Type 1 typically develops after an injury that doesn’t directly damage nerves in the limb.

Type 2 – Type 2 Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is the result of a forceful trauma that damages the nerves. Surgery, heart attacks, and infections may also lead to Type 2.

Find out if spinal cord stimulation is right for you.

What Are the Benefits of Spinal Cord Stimulation?

  • Reduces Need for OTC Medication
  • Improves Mobility
  • Relieves Pain
  • Offers On-Demand Control

The stimulation distracts the brain’s attention away from the pain signals, which may lessen the need for over-the-counter medication.

With the stimulation interfering with pain signals, your pain condition should no longer stop you from moving with ease.

Helps reduce pain that has been unresponsive to other treatments. Your pain may come and go, so you may not need spinal stimulation at all times. The set-up of the stimulator gives you full control over when the current is activated.

Programs are pre-set and coverage is adjustable based on where patients experience pain.

How Do Spinal Cord Stimulators Work?

Spinal cord stimulators deliver mild electrical impulses to the nerves in the spinal cord. They consist of three integral components:
Electrodes: Thin wires inserted between the spinal cord and vertebrae
Generator: A small, pacemaker-like pack is placed under the skin near either the buttocks or abdomen.
External remote: Allows you to activate stimulation when you feel the onset of a painful sensation.
man holding neck

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What to Expect From Spinal Cord Stimulation

Before undergoing a spinal cord stimulation trial all patients must receive psychiatric clearance. Our patient service team can help to coordinate psychiatric consultations.

Stage 1: Trial Implantation

This trial stage is designed to help your doctor evaluate how well a stimulator reduces your pain and the potential long-term effectiveness of a permanent implant.

Your doctor uses advanced imaging technology to insert wire-like trial leads (synced to an external generator and power supply) via a needle into the epidural space surrounding the spinal cord.

You will then spend the next week activating the stimulator as instructed and recording its effectiveness.

If the trial proves effective, your doctor will schedule a permanent implantation procedure for your electrode and generator.

Stage 2: Permanent implantation

Permanent implantation procedure typically takes 3-4 hours.

Under local anesthesia, your doctor implants permanent leads and the generator is placed under the skin—usually near the buttocks or abdomen.

Related Blogs

High Frequency Spinal Cord Stimulation
Five things you should know about Pain Management
Radiofrequency Ablations for Chronic Neck + Back Pain

Common Questions

What does the current feel like?

Patients report a sensation of light-tingling. It’s not painful but you will definitely feel the current.

Are there risks?

General complications of any implant procedure may include bleeding, infection, or blood clots. If you are selected for surgery, your doctor will discuss the potential risk complications related to the procedure.

Can I drive with my stimulator?

You should always power your stimulator off when driving to avoid any distraction.

Can the stimulator be removed?

Yes, the stimulator can be safely removed if it is no longer effective.

Who is a good candidate?

Anyone who has experienced chronic pain for more than 12 months and undergone at least one failed interventional procedure may be a candidate for spinal cord stimulation.

Are you a candidate for spinal cord stimulation?

Contact us to find out.