Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a procedure which now has become standard care for people who are dealing with chronic back and neck pain. With the help of latest and advanced spinal cord stimulation technology, people with chronic spine-related pain are now enjoying their life as it has reduced or eliminated the need for pain medications and allow people to return to comfortable, productive lives.
What do you need to know before undergoing for Spinal cord stimulation?
The following is the list of various questions which you need to know before undergoing for Spinal cord stimulation and these are:
- What spine-related problems can be treated with spinal cord stimulation?
- Spinal cord stimulation is a procedure which treats neuropathic pain that occurred from a pinched or injured nerve, also it is good at treating mechanical back pain such as degenerative disc disease, radiculopathy where pain radiates down an arm or leg, spinal stenosis, failed back surgery, and sciatica. Spinal cord stimulation is also useful in treating complex regional pain syndrome which is a relatively uncommon form of chronic pain.
Spinal cord stimulation does not treat weakness or numbness also it is not useful in treating pain which occurs from a bone fracture or cancer.
- Is there any trial of Spinal cord stimulation for a person with chronic pain?
Yes, the surgeons at the hospitals under Spine Surgery India will recommend you to try conventional treatments at least for 3 to 6 months before considering spinal cord stimulation. However, in special cases, such as patients who are dealing with complex regional pain syndrome for them spinal cord stimulation is a necessary treatment because the success rates plummet if pain persists for more than a year. This needs to be done because the pains become rewired in people who are dealing with complex regional pain syndrome for more than one or two years and it became difficult to reverse the condition.
2. Who performs the spinal cord stimulation treatment for the people with chronic back and neck pain?
Spinal cord stimulation treatment is performed by pain management physicians such as anesthesiologists, physiatrists, orthopedic spine surgeons, and neurosurgeons. Also, the neurologist performs the spinal cord stimulation for other conditions of the patient such as occipital neuralgia which is a severe form of headache, general surgeons use spinal cord stimulation treatment to treat nerve pain from hernias, and cardiovascular surgeons use it for to treat intercostal neuralgia.
3. Does all the spinal cord stimulators are the same?
No, all spinal cord stimulators do not work the same as over the last few years there are a variety of different types of spinal cord stimulators are available in the market. The traditional stimulator is which is known as tonic stimulation; it will give to the patients where they feel a tingling sensation which means a light massage in the area where they formerly felt pain.
Nowadays, there are newer forms of spinal cord stimulation are available in the market such as burst stimulation and high-frequency stimulation; these are the spinal cord stimulators that provide pain relief differently. Burst stimulation is useful when it shoots up the pulses of electrical activity to trigger certain pain-relieving neurons, whereas, high-frequency stimulation will provide pain relief without a tingling sensation. Your surgeon is the best person who will help you to make a choice that which spinal cord stimulation is best for you; however, it also depends on the type of chronic back or neck pain, your health condition, and your preference.
How your surgeon will implant spinal cord stimulator?
Once your spinal cord stimulation trial was successful then you may be eligible for permanent placement of a spinal cord stimulator. Herewith a successful trial, your surgeon means that your pain has been improved by at least 50%, and you were able to function, sleep, and reduce the intake of pain medications.
Your surgeon will implant the permanent spinal cord stimulation similarly as it was during the trial period. The permanent implantation is a procedure in which the spine surgeons at the hospitals under Spine Surgery India will perform as an outpatient setting. The permanent implant procedure will take around 30 to 90 minutes to complete and you will be asking on the same day to return home. For some patients, the spinal cord stimulation device will be implanted under general anesthesia.
Similar to the trial, your surgeon will surgically implant an electrode into space in the outermost part of your spinal column. Your surgeon will give you anesthesia to numb the area before they insert an electrode. In some cases, the spinal cord stimulation trial lead is the same lead that your surgeon will use to implant the permanent spinal cord stimulation device.
Your surgeon will also use a neurostimulator which is a small device that sends electrical signals to the lead will be implanted beneath the skin and it usually is used in the upper buttock or back, upper chest wall, or stomach area.
The other staff member at the hospitals under Spine surgery India will show you how to use the handheld controller which turns this neurostimulator on or off and also teach you to adjust the level of stimulation. We have some neurostimulators that contain a rechargeable battery, while others are non-rechargeable devices that do not require recharging. Your spine surgeon will help you in selecting the best device for you.
Recovery time after spinal cord stimulation
After spinal cord stimulation, the recovery time varies between 6 to 8 weeks. You may experience some pain or swelling at the incision site, and in the area where your surgeon has implanted the device. These symptoms should go away after a few days.
Your surgeon will ask you to avoid lifting, bending, stretching, twisting, etc. immediately after spinal cord stimulation implantation. After a few weeks, you will slowly return to your regular activities but that needs to be under the guidance of your spine surgeon. He/she will recommend some light exercise, such as walking, which helps you to build your strength and provide relief from pain.