31 May Benefits of Spinal Cord Stimulation
Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) is an excellent way to treat chronic pain in patients who do not achieve adequate benefit, or have undesirable side effects, with less invasive modalities.
SCS is not a novel idea, and has been around since the 1960’s. Since then medical and technological advancements have exponentially increased. Review of the current literature reveals that patients with SCS noted a significant improvement in functional capacity and an increase in ability to return to work after SCS. Today, spinal cord stimulation is used for managing back pain and nerve pain that is refractory to conservative treatment.
We commonly see various forms of spine and nerve pain in our practice. At SMART Pain Management, we offer a comprehensive approach to managing chronic pain. Patients are thoroughly worked up for the cause of their pain. Treatment options typically include neuropathic medications (such as Neurontin or Lyrica), Physical Therapy, interventional procedures (such as epidurals. Unfortunately, there are patients who continue to have significant pain after these options have been exhausted. It is these patients who could = benefit with SCS.
Initially patients are scheduled for a “trial” that lasts 3-5 days. An electrode is placed in the epidural space under fluoroscopic guidance. Ideally, patients should experience a more pleasant sensation in the area of their typical pain. During the procedure, the patient is able to communicate: expressing if he/she is getting significant relief of nerve pain. We are able to make adjustment to the stimulation, as directed by the patient. The patient is comfortable throughout the procedure as we provide an abundance of sedation.
The electrode is powered by a small battery which is operated by a remote control. Patients can easily turn the device on/off or make changes to their stimulation. On the date of removal, we sit down with the patient to discuss the success of the trial. If the trial is successful, the permanent implant is completed by an experienced doctor performing a relatively minor surgical procedure. Patients are able to return to their daily lives soon after implant.
Patients often experience significant and long lasting results; many are also able to wean their opioid medication while improving function. At SMART Pain Management we are focused on providing the very best care for our patients. SCS is an excellent modality in the treatment of chronic back and nerve pain – offering patients great hope and an improved quality of life.