Spinal cord stimulation is a method of pain management that can help reduce chronic pain in many individuals. Often used as a means of treatment when it seems as though little else has or will work, this is often the measure of last resort that ends up making the difference in the lives of thousands of patients.
However, many people still do not understand how it works and what makes it so effective. Moreover, the process of getting spinal cord stimulation started remains a mystery to some, as there is a trial period associated with this procedure.
Spinal cord stimulation works through a device that sends electrical currents to the nerves in the spinal cord that are causing pain. These pulses block the receptors coming from the brain that send the pain alarms ringing. However, because there is a simple surgical procedure associated with the implantation of the device, it is always important to make sure that this method will work for the patient in question. This is where the trial process comes into play.
The completely reversible trial run allows you to experience what spinal cord stimulation feels like for about a week. During this time, you can determine how you react to the pulses, how effective they are in managing your pain and how you feel about the device, which is not implanted during this trial period. After the week is up, you will consult with your doctor again and talk about how you felt the device worked during the week. If you were happy with the level of pain management that was afforded to you via spinal cord stimulation, then you and your doctor can make plans for the permanent implant.
It is important to note that even the permanent implant is not as such; if it is not working for you any longer or you don’t want the device to be implanted, it can always be removed. The surgery to implant it, generally done in the back area, is a quick one and is often done on an outpatient basis.
Once the device is in, the patient can experiment with the different pulse levels and get a feel for what works. The patient will work one on one with the spinal cord stimulator representative to achieve the adequate coverage of their painful areas. Spinal cord stimulation is all about what makes you, as the patient, have better pain management, as this is ultimately the goal of this form of treatment.