Spinal cord stimulation is a treatment that sends low-voltage electrical pulses to the spinal cord, blocking pain messages and reducing discomfort. Patients with chronic pain in the back, legs, or arms may especially benefit from this treatment option.
How Spinal Cord Stimulation Works
Spinal cord stimulation involves implantable electrical leads attached to a small generator placed under the skin. The leads send low-voltage electrical pulses to the spinal cord, blocking pain messages from the body to the brain.
The leads are first placed onto your spinal canal through a small surgical opening. The generator is then placed just under the surface of your skin, usually over the buttocks or abdomen. This procedure typically takes 60-90 minutes, with most patients able to go home that same day.
Conditions Spinal Cord Stimulation Can Treat
Spinal cord stimulation may help ease pain associated with the following conditions:
- Back pain
- Failed back surgery syndrome
- Post-surgical pain
- Nerve pain
- Injuries to the spinal cord
Am I a Good Candidate for Spinal Cord Stimulation?
Those who have not had success with other forms of treatment, such as physical therapy, medications, or prior surgeries, are the most likely candidates for spinal cord stimulation.
Those with psychiatric problems such as anxiety or depression may not be good candidates since those conditions may hinder your ability to fully benefit from the pain relief provided by spinal cord stimulation.
As with all medical procedures, your doctor will consider your medical history, age, weight, medications, and the likelihood of success before determining if spinal cord stimulation is right for you.