What is a Spinal Cord Stimulator?
A spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is a small, implanted stimulator that is surgically placed under the skin to send electrical signals to specific areas of the spinal cord. A SCS stimulates the nerves where pain originates from and the electrical pulses mask pain signals from reaching the brain.
Though the source of pain is not eliminated, the way in which the brain perceives pain signals is altered.
Goal for a SCS is a 50-70% improvement in pain levels. It can also decrease dependency on pain medications and increase ability to perform activities of daily living.
Candidate for Spinal Cord Stimulator:
You may be a candidate for a spinal cord stimulator if:
- Failed conservative therapies (physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, massage, nerve pain medications, etc)
- Failed injection therapy
- Chronic pain from back surgery or complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
- Sciatica, arm pain, arachnoiditis, spinal cord injury, etc
- No depression or drug addiction
- Deferring a large, complex surgery
- Successful SCS trial