SPINAL CORD STIMULATION
Chronic Pain Treatment
If you are suffering from chronic pain and have not found a therapy that works well, it may be time to see your pain management specialist about spinal cord stimulation, or SCS. Spinal cord stimulation offers hope for many of the estimated 75 million people who suffer from chronic pain.
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a safe and effective therapy that has been used for more than 40 years to help people take control of their chronic pain. SCS is the most commonly used implantable neurostimulation technology for management of pain syndromes—as many as 50,000 neurostimulators are implanted worldwide every year. SCS is a widely accepted FDA-approved medical treatment for chronic pain of the trunk and limbs (back, legs and arms).
SCS is prescribed for the treatment of chronic neuropathic pain of the back, trunk, or limbs. Many people with failed back surgeries, RSD/CRPS, phantom limb pain, and other types of neuropathic pain have had great success with SCS.
It is most commonly used to treat low back and lower extremity pain. Thousands of patients with severe chronic painful conditions have received relief with spinal cord stimulation.
To learn more, download What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?
Spinal cord stimulation sends electrical impulses that trigger nerve fibers selectively along the spinal cord, masking the pain message traveling to the brain. When this happens, the painful sensation is replaced with a soothing, tingling sensation.
This feeling is similar to the relief you might feel by rubbing or massaging an area after an injury occurs. The electrical impulses can be targeted to specific locations and, as pain changes or improves, stimulation can be adjusted when necessary.
Spinal cord stimulation may be an effective tool in reducing your chronic pain. However, it is important to understand that pain is unique to each individual—not everything works the same on everyone.
SCS is one of several therapies used to help control severe, ongoing neuropathic pain. Other options, which doctors usually try first, include physical therapy, different types of medications, injections, and sometimes surgery.
This helpful video, “Is SCS Right for You? Control Your Pain” provides more information about this procedure, and we encourage you to speak with your pain management specialist to find out how spinal cord stimulation (SCS) can help you take control of your pain. SCS is generally considered successful if:
- Your pain is significantly reduced
- You are able to get back to your daily activities
- You are able to relax and sleep better
The goal of SCS is to achieve significant or total relief from back pain and to be able to return to a happy, productive lifestyle.
With SCS, you can experience numerous benefits in addition to the relief of your pain. Some of the benefits of SCS therapy include:
- The ability to try the therapy before having a permanent system placed in your body. You can test drive the SCS system to see if it helps control your pain before committing to a permanent system.
- While many Level 3 therapies are permanent, even a permanent SCS procedure is reversible. Even though the device is surgically implanted, it can always be turned off or surgically removed by your pain specialist.
- SCS therapy may help control difficult pain in the low back and legs—even when other therapies have failed.
- SCS is approved by the FDA for the management of chronic intractable pain of the trunk (low back) and limbs (legs and arms).
- SCS is covered by most health insurance plans, including Medicare.
If you are a candidate for SCS, your pain specialist may:
- Need to receive authorization from your insurance provider to perform the procedure
- Order a psychological assessment to make sure you will be able to live with SCS successfully; insurance carriers often require these assessments
- Schedule a test drive procedure, or trial, to determine if SCS will help to control your pain
Patients considering SCS can undergo a “test drive” procedure to try SCS therapy before having a permanent system placed in the body. This allows you to see whether it helps control pain before committing to a permanent system.
After you have completed the “test drive,” you and your CPM Institute pain specialist will decide whether spinal cord stimulation is an effective therapy for you. If you decide to go forward, you will undergo another surgical procedure to surgically place the device.
The leads may be inserted in a procedure similar to an epidural. In some cases, you may remain awake during the procedure, which is done under local anesthesia and light sedation. In other cases, general anesthesia may be administered. You will receive a cordless remote control, a portable, cordless charger, and a base station for the charger.
Your pain management specialist will be happy to discuss SCS and other treatment options with you. It is important to note that while thousands of patients with severe chronic painful conditions have received relief with spinal cord stimulation, every case is unique, and there is no guarantee that spinal cord stimulation will alleviate all your discomfort.
For more information on SCS or other pain management treatments, or to schedule an appointment, call Chicagoland Pain Management Institute in Bolingbrook, IL at (630) 312-4505 or in Hinsdale, IL at (630) 856-6825 or use our convenient online appointment request form.
“I had an ankle replacement in Dec of 16, had severe pain issues afterward. My ortho doctor recommended I consult pain management. I was on a variety of different medications to control my pain, when in June of 17, Dr. Tubic did a trial with Dorsal Root Ganglion Spinal Cord Stimulation. It was amazing. I was pain free. In July, Dr. Tubic did the implant of the permanent DRG Spinal Cord Stimulator, and I have not taken a pain pill since!!
I am currently on 0 pain medication, back to a full life, my only limitation is the flexibility of my ankle. I am not dependent on drugs, I have freedom from taking pills and I am pain free. It is awesome!!”
– Dawn B
“There was a time in my life that I really thought I would not be able to ever go anywhere or do anything but sit around my house and sleep. But after having a spine stimulator put in by Dr. Tubic, it has reduced my lower back pain by at least 75% on most days. Of course I have flare ups, but I am SO happy I got it. I have never met anyone who has not been happy with their decision to get a spine stimulator. Dr. Tubic has given me my life back. It may not be the one I had when I was 30, but I can attend church now. I can meet a friend for lunch! I can sleep through the night! I would recommend a spine stimulator if Dr. Tubic suggests it for you. I promise you have nothing to lose…..except pain!”
“I had suffered from chronic foot pain, undergone 10 foot surgeries, and taken pain medications on and off for 10 years before receiving the Axium™ Neurostimulator System. It has changed my life, I could not clean my house before without being in pain, and I was so uncomfortable that just having a blanket on my foot at night required a pain pill to sleep and now I can walk barefoot. I am not limping anymore, and I can wear shoes that I could not wear in the past. Even better, I am no longer taking pain medications for my foot. It’s amazing to have severe pain one moment and be nearly free of it the next.”
– Rosemarie W