Chronic back and neck pain can affect your daily life and even become debilitating if left untreated. There are several treatment options for back and neck pain, ranging from physical therapy to surgery. However, in cases where surgery or other treatments don’t successfully relieve the pain, spinal cord stimulation may be a good option.
What is spinal cord stimulation?
This treatment option delivers mild electrical pulses to nerves in the spinal column, blocking or interfering with nerve activity to minimize the sensation of pain that reaches the brain. A small spinal cord stimulator device (similar to a pacemaker) is implanted near the spine that generates an electrical current.
After the device is implanted, a doctor will determine the pulse strength and the patient is shown how to operate the device at home.
Who is a good candidate?
- Patients who do not respond to conservative therapies
- Patients whose pain does not go away with surgery
- Patients who have chronic pain syndromes
In order to determine if you are a good candidate, it’s likely you will be evaluated by a neurosurgeon and a pain specialist.
Potential benefits of spinal cord stimulation
- Pain signal replaced with a mild tingling sensation
- Reduces the amount of pain medication needed
- Chronic pain can become much more manageable
- Increase ability to enjoy day-to-day activities
- Overall positive effect on mental health, stress and quality of life