Treatment of chronic pain using Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) is on the forefront of interventional pain management techniques. Sometimes called neuromodulation, SCS emits a mild current that confuses transmission and perception of pain by the brain.
Nerve impulses that previously would transmit pain signals to the brain are interrupted and replaced with a pleasant tingling sensation. The goal of SCS is to help the patient regain a quality of life that was taken from them by chronic pain.
Spinal cord stimulation may be considered when other nonoperative or surgical treatments fail to alleviate pain. SCS may be recommended to manage low back pain, persistent extremity nerve pain, reflex sympathetic dystrophy or complex regional pain syndrome (I or II), chronic abdominal or pelvic pain, and certain types of headaches.
The first step is a spinal cord stimulation trial period. Electronic leads, similar to slim catheters, are temporarily implanted through the skin similar to an epidural injection under light sedation. The lead(s) are passed into the pain-corresponding region of the spine’s epidural space.
You are awake enough to talk with the physician and let him know when a tingling sensation is felt in the appropriate area. The lead is secured by tape and left in place for 5 to 7 days while you resume normal daily activities. During your follow-up visit in our office, the leads are simply pulled out without the need for any procedure or surgery.
If your spinal cord stimulation trial period successfully managed your pain, you and the pain management physician can make a decision if implantation of the device is right for you.
If you are interested in learning how a spinal cord stimulator (neuromodulation) may help manage your pain, please contact our pain management experts at The Spine and Pain Institute of New York in Manhattan, New York and Staten Island, New York. We would be happy to make an appointment for a consultation and provide additional information about other treatment options.