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Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) has become a standard of care for people with chronic back and neck pain. Advances in SCS technology have allowed people with chronic spine-related pain to reduce or eliminate their need for pain medications and return to comfortable, productive lives. To better understand what you need to know before undergoing SCS.

SCS is best at treating neuropathic pain from a pinched or injured nerve, and is also good at treating mechanical back pain from such conditions as degenerative disc disease, radiculopathy (pain that radiates down an arm or leg), spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), failed back surgery or residual pain following back surgery, and sciatica. In addition, SCS is useful in treating complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), which is a relatively uncommon form of chronic pain.

SCS does not treat weakness or numbness and is not useful in treating pain from a bone fracture or cancer.
I recommend trying conventional treatments for at least 3 to 6 months before considering use of SCS. However, in special cases, such as patients with CRPS, SCS should be used sooner because the success rates plummet if pain persists for more than a year. This is because the pain pathways become rewired in people with have CRPS for more than one or two years, making it harder to reverse the condition.

SCS is used by pain management physicians such as anesthesiologists, physiatrists, orthopedic spine surgeons, and neurosurgeons. Also, SCS is increasingly being used by neurologists for other conditions such as occipital neuralgia (a form of severe headache), general surgeons to treat nerve pain from hernias, and cardiovascular surgeons for intercostal neuralgia (rib pain following surgery).

First of all  choose a physician who  is experienced with SCS and you feel you can trust, Do your home work on  physicians who have treated 20 to 30 patients with SCS are considered experienced.Also, appropriate patient selection and expectations are equally important. Each patient should undergo a SCS trial before the device is implanted to make sure that the pain is relieved by this treatment. Unfortunately, patients may be desperate for relief and request SCS implantation, even if they do not have a good response to the SCS trial.

If the SCS trial is not positive, the SCS should not be implanted, and other treatments should be offered. Remember once you go ahead with the surgery along with the stimulator there is a lithium ion battery that has to go into the buttock’s and will need to be replaced in a maximum of 9 years, now this time frame depending on your usage of the stimulator meaning, If you have the device on the highest setting and  you use it frequently it will not last 9 years so with that being said you’ll have to under go another surgery to have new equipment installed.

As mentioned earlier the medicine will need to be refilled on a monthly basis. Remember  you can not lay or lean on the internal hardware so keep that in mind if you have a slim body type this will be more challenging and it will be harder to be able to lay or sit in your favorite spot. Take all of these thing’s we talked about here into consideration before making a decision on a spinal cord stimulator. Talk to somebody that lives with this spinal cord stimulator and pick their brain for a while to help better understand if this is right for you, also remember they do put you through a trail that is non-invasive. This will allow you to  try it out for a week so you know if it actually works before the actual implant.