How to Know If You’re a Good Candidate for a Spinal Cord Stimulator

What if we said we could ease your pain just by implanting a small device near your spine? Does it sound too good to be true? Believe it or not, that’s exactly what can happen with a spinal cord stimulator.

Spinal cord stimulation involves implanting thin wires near the nerves that are causing you pain, and attaching those wires to a small battery pack that’s located near your lower back. The battery functions as a tiny generator, sending mild electrical impulses through the wires, and these impulses disrupt the pain signals that your problematic nerves are sending. The result? Instead of pain, you experience mild tingling or no pain at all. So, could it be right for you?

Our team at Elite Pain Management and Recovery Centers takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating chronic pain. We offer minimally invasive treatments, such as spinal cord stimulation, at each of our five locations, including at our newest site in Las Vegas. Here are a few indications that you could be a good candidate for this innovative device.

Conditions that respond to spinal cord stimulation

Spinal cord stimulation isn’t new. These devices were first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1989. Back then, they were used to manage chronic pain from nerve damage in the torso, arms, or legs, and we continue to use them for that. But, they’ve come a long way since then, and the technology continues getting better and better.

These days, we recommend spinal cord stimulation for a variety of conditions, especially chronic back pain. However, these devices can provide relief for a broad range of chronic pain issues, including:

And, since spinal cord stimulation doesn’t involve medication, it’s safe to use in combination with other therapies.

When to consider a spinal cord stimulator

In most cases, we recommend spinal cord stimulation when other treatments — such as nerve blocks or epidural injections — fail to control your pain. But, the best way to see if you’re a good candidate for a spinal cord stimulator is through testing.

We refer to this step as your trial period. It involves placing the wires inside your body to target the problematic nerves, but keeping the battery pack on the outside of your body. For a week, you wear the temporary device to test whether it manages your pain. If you experience at least a 50% reduction in pain, we consider your trial a success.

If your temporary spinal cord stimulator doesn’t reduce your pain, we can easily remove the wires without causing any damage to nearby nerves or your spinal cord. If your trial is a success, we can move forward with permanently implanting your device.

The permanent implantation procedure for a spinal cord stimulator usually takes 1-2 hours. During this time, we anchor the wires securely in place and make a small incision to insert the battery, usually near your buttocks or lower abdomen. We can perform this minimally invasive surgery at any of our five locations, including at our newest site in Las Vegas. 

After your surgery, you may have pain or tenderness at your incision site. In most cases, these areas heal within 2-4 weeks, and most people can resume normal activity within 1-2 weeks of their procedure.

Are you ready to see if a spinal cord stimulator is right for you? Book an appointment by phone or online at Elite Pain Management and Recovery Centers today. We have five locations, including a new office in Las Vegas.

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