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Spinal Cord Stimulator Trials

Neurostimulation for Chronic Pain Management

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What is Neurostimulation?

Neurostimulation, also known as spinal cord stimulation (SCS), is an FDA-approved therapy used to manage chronic pain in the back, neck, arms, and legs. This therapy involves attaching a power source, called the pulse generator, to electrical leads that stimulate the nerves transmitting pain signals. By doing so, neurostimulation alters the pain messages, replacing them with more pleasant sensations. According to the "Gate-Control Theory," stimulating large, myelinated afferent nerve fibers inhibits the transmission of pain signals in small unmyelinated afferent nerves.

Recent studies have revealed additional benefits of neurostimulation, including increased blood flow, release of natural endorphins, and positive changes at the cellular level of the nerves and spinal cord.

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How Does It Work?

Neurostimulation procedures for SCS and peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) are minimally invasive. Electrodes can be placed during an outpatient procedure with local anesthesia and sedation.

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The First Step: Trial Period

Before opting for permanent placement, patients undergo a trial period to assess the effectiveness of the neurostimulation system. During this trial, percutaneous lead placement is used, avoiding the need for incisions and relying solely on local anesthesia. If the trial period demonstrates greater than 50 percent pain relief and improved quality of life, permanent placement of the neurostimulation system may be recommended.

What Types of Pain Do Neuro-stimulators Help?

Low Back Pain and Sciatica

Neck Pain and Cervical Radiculopathy

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD/CRPS)

Occipital Neuralgia and Migraine Headaches

Peripheral Neuropathies

Postherpetic Neuralgia

Abdominal Pelvic Pain, such as Chronic Pancreatitis and Interstitial Cystitis

Peripheral Vascular Disease and Raynaud’s Phenomenon

Advantages of Neurostimulation

Neurostimulation provides several advantages over traditional pain management methods:

Effective when other treatments fail: Neurostimulation can offer pain relief when other conventional methods have not been successful.

Reversible: The procedure is reversible, and if necessary, the neurostimulator can be removed.

Medication-free: Unlike many pain management techniques, neurostimulation does not rely on medications, reducing the risk of systemic side effects.

Minimally invasive trial: The trial period is no more invasive than a typical spinal or peripheral injection.

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What Are the Risks?

While neurostimulators are generally safe, like any medical procedure, there are potential risks to consider:

Bleeding: Minimal risk of bleeding at the implantation site.

Infection: The possibility of infection, although rare, is present.

Nerve damage: Potential for nerve damage during the procedure.

Spinal Fluid Leaks: A slight risk of spinal fluid leaks.

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Headache: Headache may occur after the implantation procedure.

Scar tissue formation: Formation of scar tissue around the electrode may lead to complications.

Pain beyond the reach of the stimulator: Complete pain relief may not be achievable in all cases.

Hardware failure: Breakage of the electrode or hardware failure might occur over time.

Development of tolerance: Some individuals may develop tolerance to the stimulation, reducing its effectiveness.

If you are struggling with chronic pain, neurostimulation may be a promising option for you! At Pain Solutions, our team of experts is dedicated to providing personalized care and exploring the most effective treatments to improve your well-being. Don't let pain control your life;
book a consult today!

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