Spinal cord stimulation is a procedure that can help block pain signals from the spinal cord to the brain. When a nerve, muscle, tissue or bone has been damaged, the body uses pain to alert you that there has been an injury. For those who are experiencing chronic pain, however, these signals can severely interfere with living a good quality of life.
What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?
This medical device has been approved by the FDA to effectively treat pain by stopping electrical signals in the spinal cord from ever reaching the brain. What this means is that people with the device can go on with their day without being in constant pain.
A spinal cord stimulator is composed of two parts: a strategically placed conductor that is implanted near the spinal cord (usually using a needle) and a pulse generator that produces the actual electrical signal. The pulse generator is usually implanted under the skin of the buttocks so that it is discreet yet easily accessible.
The patient can then adjust the pulse sent out by the generator to help control the amount of electricity that is conducted into the spinal cord. This allows the patient to customize the amount of pain relief they need.
There are several different types of pulse generators available (rechargeable from the outside of the skin or under the skin), so be sure to ask your doctor what types of options they offer and choose one that best fits into your lifestyle.
How Does It Feel?
If you’ve ever had electrical stimulation treatment on a muscle, then you’ll remember feeling a buzzing sensation as the muscle contracts slightly with the release of electricity from the conduction pads.
Spinal Cord Stimulation devices work under the same principle. A comfortable amount of electricity is released into the targeted area and can be easily adjusted by the patient to his or her comfort level. In the case of Spinal Cord Stimulation, the electric signals do not focus efforts on muscles; the targeted treatment area is the spinal cord where pain signals are being carried.
The interruption of pain signals received by the spinal cord results in the brain never getting the message that there is pain somewhere in the body. A doctor, such as an orthopedic doctor or pain management specialist, is the only person qualified to implant this device.
These experienced medical professionals know precisely the area of the spine that needs pain signals to be blocked so that the patient can get relief. Most often, this device is used when other treatment options have not worked.
Other treatment options for chronic pain include rest/ice/compression, oral anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections, Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (by injection), and surgery.
Find Out if Spinal Cord Stimulation is Right For You
Our team of pain management doctors is ready to help you live with less pain. Sometimes, other treatments fail to reduce chronic pain. When that happens, we’re here for you and ready to discuss whether Spinal Cord Stimulation can help.
We have offices in the greater Los Angeles area and surrounding counties such as Oxnard, Valencia, Bakersfield, Beverly Hills, Thousand Oaks, and West Hills. Call us today at (818) 208-6091.