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Spinal Cord Stimulation

Chronic back pain is an incredibly common condition affecting millions of Americans every year. Back pain is so persistent that it often returns after back pain surgeries, as well. Remedy Pain Solutions provides spinal cord stimulation as the most effective procedure for back pain relief after all other methods fail. Please schedule a consultation with the interventional pain specialists at our offices in Marina del Rey or Manhattan Beach to discuss your candidacy for spinal cord stimulation.

What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Spinal cord stimulation is a procedure wherein a medical device is inserted near the spinal cord. The spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is positioned strategically based on the true locus of chronic pain. When activated, the device delivers a low level of pulsed electrical signals to the affected parts of the spinal cord to block the pain signals from reaching the brain. As such, it interrupts the usual pathway of the electrical signals, desensitizing the patient.

The History Behind Spinal Cord Stimulation

The use of electrical stimulation for medical purposes dates back over 4,500 years. It’s assumed that ancient Egyptians often used electrogenic fish and eels to reduce the pain in various parts of the body. They’d place the fish at the site of pain, and the electrical discharge was supposed to reduce pain. Modern neurostimulation was first formulated in the 1960s, but it gained steam and came into widespread usage in 1989.

What Does Spinal Cord Stimulation Treat?

Spinal cord stimulation is mostly associated with chronic back pain relief, especially after all other pain relief techniques, including back surgery, fail. In the US, spinal cord stimulation is most commonly used after back surgery fails to yield the desired results. It’s estimated that approximately 40% of the patients continue experiencing chronic back pain to various degrees even after back surgery. And that’s precisely where spinal cord stimulation comes in.

The following is an overview of the conditions that spinal cord stimulation treatments:

  • Failed or previous back surgeries with continued pain symptoms
  • Arachnoiditis — inflammation of the membranes that protect the nerves
  • Chronic neck pain and back pain
  • Chronic burning sensation in the legs
  • Chronic stinging sensation in the back
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Inoperable ischemic limb pain
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Post-herpetic neuralgia (shingles)
  • Intercostal neuralgia
  • Phantom limb pain

Benefits of Spinal Cord Stimulation

  • Liberates patients from the need for painkillers.
  • Totally reversible procedure because the spinal cord stimulator can be removed.
  • Reduces chronic pain without narcotics, so there’s no risk of addiction.
  • Minimal side effects and negligible risk of complications.
  • Addresses the root cause of chronic pain.
  • Provides long-term and lasting relief.
  • Works when all other treatments, including surgeries, fail.

Candidates for Spinal Cord Stimulation

Remedy Pain Solutions is led by interventional pain specialists who diagnose and identify the root cause of your chronic pain to recommend the ideal treatment options. We review your health history, discuss your symptoms, and perform physical examinations to identify the source of your chronic pain. We also perform imaging tests, such as CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays, to visualize the damaged joints, cartilages, discs, or vertebrae. This allows us to curate treatments that provide lasting relief from chronic back pain.

Our interventional pain specialists favor conservative treatments, so we start the treatments with physical therapy, epidural injections, facet injections, or regenerative medicines, such as PRP therapy and stem cell therapy. In most cases, our interventional and regenerative treatments yield significant results, providing immediate results while encouraging your body to heal the damaged regions causing the pain. We only recommend spinal cord stimulation if the other treatments fail to yield significant results. When all else fails, spinal cord stimulation is sure to work.

The Spinal Cord Stimulation Procedure

Spinal cord stimulation is performed as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia. You’ll have to lie face-down on a table, letting our pain specialists work on your spine. Local anesthesia will be injected into the treatment areas to numb the region. The pain specialist will insert a hollow needle into the epidural space around the spinal cord under fluoroscopic guidance and deliver electrical energy. If the targeted area is correct, they’ll insert permanent leads on either side of the epidural space.

After the procedure, you’ll have to spend about 5 to 7 days with the medical device, and an external battery will be used to communicate with the leads. The small battery will generate electrical impulses to interfere with the pain signals. If the device works, you might receive another procedure wherein the battery will be placed underneath the skin of the lower back or buttocks. Every part of the medical device remains underneath the skin, with no wires or external components.

If you suffer from chronic neck pain, chronic back pain, chronic burning or stinging sensations, complex regional pain syndrome, or any other symptoms of spinal pain, please consult our pain specialists to discuss your treatment options.