Chronic pain can be debilitating and frustrating, holding you back from living the life you want. If you’re tired of sitting out on life, spinal cord stimulation may be able to help you manage your chronic pain when other treatments haven’t worked.

What is spinal cord stimulation?

Spinal cord stimulation is used to treat patients suffering from chronic back and limb pain, but have yet to find relief from other treatments. It does this by blocking the brain’s ability to perceive pain. Most people who receive spinal cord stimulation see a 50 to 70 percent overall reduction in the pain they feel. With this high success rate, patients can return to their normal lives and activities and minimize their dependence on pain medications.

How is spinal cord stimulation performed?

Spinal cord stimulation begins with the insertion of soft, thin wires equipped with electrical leads on the ends into the body near the spinal column, using a needle. A small, programmable generator is then inserted into the upper buttock or abdomen just under the skin through a tiny incision. The generator emits electrical currents to the spinal column, which will block the transmission of pain signals to the brain. The procedure takes around an hour to an hour and a half to perform.

Once the generator is in place, a device is used to control the intensity and location of the electrical current transmitted. The electrical currents can be adjusted and changed as necessary to relieve chronic back and limb pain. This allows the patient to control their own stimulation for optimal comfort.

Who is a candidate for spinal cord stimulation?

It’s important to understand that spinal cord stimulation only controls the transmission of pain signals to the brain and does not eliminate or cure the underlying cause of pain. Certain pain conditions that can be managed with spinal cord stimulation are:

  • Failed back surgery syndrome
  • Severe nerve-related pain or numbness
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Arachnoiditis

For more information on spinal cord stimulation, call the pain specialists at Cedar Rapids Pain Associates today at (319) 540-8251 to make an appointment.