What Conditions Benefit from Spinal Cord Stimulators?


July 16, 2021

Pain can be difficult to live with – it tends to disrupt daily routines and ruin sleep. It may also lead to depression, dependence upon medication, and it can greatly reduce the quality of life.

Some fortunate sufferers can find effective solutions through non-surgical options. Yet for those who have not found decent relief with these treatments, spinal cord stimulators may be the solution.

What Conditions Can Be Treated With Spinal Cord Stimulators?

These devices have brought relief to many patients dealing with a great variety of pain-causing problems. Conditions that may be helped by stimulators include:

  • Pain that appears after surgery
  • Arachnoiditis – inflammation of the membrane that surrounds the spinal cord and brain
  • Angina – Heart pain not treatable by other methods
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Pain surfacing after an amputation
  • Peripheral vascular disease – problems with arteries, veins, or lymph vessels resulting in poor circulation
  • Back pain – particularly pain which continues despite surgical attempts to stop it
  • Nerve-based pain including neuropathy
  • Complex regional pain syndrome – prolonged inflammation and pain related to a leg or arm injury
  • Pain related to cancer

Why Does Pain Continue When It Shouldn’t?

The human body is great at getting your attention when something is wrong – a sharp flare of pain as an elbow brushes a hot stove, for example.

However, chronic pain sufferers understand that when pain no longer serves to prevent damage or injury, the pain itself becomes harmful.

Nerves work like highways to carry information to and from the brain, and this system allows us to move our muscles, react to environmental temperature, and perform a host of other wonders. Yet pain signals also travel these highways, and when damage or disease sends these alerts for no helpful reason, life becomes a challenge.

How Can Spinal Cord StimulatorsHelp Me?

Thankfully, spinal cord stimulation (SCS) has provided relief to many patients through the use of a small device that simply stops the awful signal from reaching the brain. The result? Little or no sensation of pain. Physicians may recommend the use of such devices if other treatments (non-surgical or surgical) have not provided sufficient relief.

How Does It Work?

Generally, SCS is used in this manner:

  • A thin wire (electrode) is attached to a stimulation device (control unit or generator)
  • Initially, most patients undergo a trial in which one or two wires are placed somewhere near the spinal cord
  • The device sends mild electrical pulses (that usually cannot be felt) through the wires to block pain signals from heading toward the brain
  • Most trials last roughly a week with adjustments made to the device as needed
  • If sufficient pain relief results, the wire(s) can be permanently placed through surgery.

Considering the damaging, relentless nature of chronic pain, spinal cord stimulators can provide effective and long-lasting relief for those who need it.  Contact us to discuss options for helping you eliminate pain.