What Are Spinal Cord Stimulators?
The use of Spinal Cord Stimulators as a treatment option have been in practice for decades. Spinal Cord Stimulators (also called SCS) use electrical impulses to relieve chronic pain. It is believed that electrical pulses prevent pain signals from being received by the brain.
The best candidates to receive Spinal Cord Stimulators include people who suffer from neuropathic pain who have not responded to conservative treatments or medications. The types of pain addressed by Spinal Cord Stimulators include the following types of chronic pain: back pain, heart pain, spinal cord pain, nerve pain, cancer pain, amputation pain, abdominal pain, and perineal pain.
What Are the Three Main Types of Spinal Cord Stimulators?
Conventional Implantable Pulse Generator
This version of Spinal Cord Stimulator is battery operated. Since the battery is implanted in the spine, a surgery is required to replace the battery when it no longer provides electricity. The power provided is lower than the other types of SCS so it best serves people with pain localized to one area of their body. They typically last 2-5 years before the battery requires replacement.
Rechargeable Implant Pulse Generator
This type of Spinal Cord Stimulator relies on a battery that can be recharged, so it can continuously provide power. The electricity is strong enough to help stimulate more than one area of pain such as the back and legs. With regular care, the rechargeable system can last up to 10 years.
Radiofrequency Stimulators rely on a battery outside of the body and have largely been replaced by newer technologies where the battery is under the skin or in the spine. This type of Spinal Cord Stimulator offers a great amount of power that serves people with both back and lower leg pain.
What Do the Different Types of Spinal Cord Stimulators Have in Common?
- Spinal Cord Stimulators (SCS) are a non-opioid option to treat chronic pain in the arms, back, and legs
- There are three main components of all Spinal Cord Stimulators: 1. Electrodes on a lead wire 2. Pulse Generator 3. Handheld remote used to control settings
- A Spinal Cord Stimulator requires a 'trial' period to help determine if SCS it is the correct form of therapy and if it provides adequate relief prior to committing permanent implantation
- The electrodes are inserted in the epidural space between vertebrae and spinal cord
- Surgery is necessary for a Spinal Cord Stimulator and it can range from less to more invasive
- By utilizing electronic pulses, Spinal Cord Stimulators help 'reset' the pain signals that are being sent to different areas of the body
- SCS do not solve the problem causing pain, but they do use electrical pulses to mask the pain signals being received by the brain
- SCS candidates include people who suffer from chronic pain and for whom conservative treatments have failed
Why Choose The Pain Center?
Experiencing pain and looking for a solution? A Medtronic Spinal Cord Stimulator or Abbot Spinal Cord Stimulator may bring you relief. At The Pain Center, we understand that people are individuals. We stay aware of the latest research to best understand individual causes for chronic pain, and then we treat every patient with a personalized approach to give them the best possible care. Dr. Sandra Thompson has 28+ years of experience as a pain specialist managing chronic pain for back, neck, and body. Contact us today to make an appointment for a consultation with our pain specialists at The Pain Center.