Spinal cord stimulation is a method that can be used to treat chronic back pain. This is a serious issue for many people who find that this pain can slow them down significantly or even interfere with activities of daily living, leaving them homebound and without relief. Spinal cord stimulation is one way around the problem, with an alternative that can be implanted in your doctor’s office. However, it helps to know how it works to know whether or not this is an option to treat your chronic pain issues.
The process relies on an electrical current that is implanted in the back and sends electric pings to the spinal cord. These pings stop the nerve receptors in your spine from allowing you to feel pain. It is generally conducted using a simple sedative and a local anesthesia medication and is often done once as a test to see how your body — and back pain – responds to the treatment, before scheduling for a full course of spinal cord stimulation treatments.
Moreover, if you respond well to the treatment, your doctor may install a permanent stimulator in your abdomen, just under the skin, with wires inserted that lead to the place in your spine where the pings are necessary. The insertion of the stimulator into the abdomen is perfect for greater stability under the skin.
You can use spinal cord stimulation for an hour or two each day, three to four times a day. It will cause a tingling feeling in the back instead of the extreme and limiting pain you may have experienced in the past. This is perfect for those with chronic pain that has not responded to other forms of treatment, including medications and physical therapy.
There are risks, including infection, headaches, bladder issues and more associated with spinal cord stimulation. However, for many patients, the benefits far outweigh any risks and provide an “out” to those that have felt forced to live with chronic back pain.
However, it should be noted that this is an option that should be considered only after other less-invasive options have been exhausted, including physical therapy for the back to reduce inflammation and promote natural healing. Spinal cord stimulation is best, in fact, for those that have tried other options and feel frustrated that nothing has worked.