Spinal Cord Stimulation: Back Pain Treatment You Haven’t Heard About

Back pain is a major health problem striking 80% of people at some point in their lives. It can have a huge impact on your quality of life, interfering with your work, your family life, your hobbies, your ability to exercise, and your enjoyment of everyday activities.

Many people can manage their back pain with treatments, such as physical therapy or medication. But these treatments don’t always work. When conservative approaches fail to relieve your pain, you may want to consider a different kind of back pain treatment: spinal cord stimulation.

The back pain specialists here at the Carolinas Center for the Advanced Management of Pain have extensive experience with spinal cord stimulation, and can answer all of your questions about this innovative treatment strategy.

If you’re feeling frustrated by your stubborn back pain, we invite you to read the following information about spinal cord stimulation.

How it works

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) relieves pain by delivering low-voltage electrical current to the nerves along the spine. The electrical current helps reduce pain by interfering with pain signals from your brain and blocking the sensation of pain.

Although you may not have heard of spinal cord stimulation, it’s a widely used treatment. More than 50,000 spinal cord stimulation units are implanted worldwide every year.  

Recommended for various kinds of pain

SCS provides relief for pain with a range of causes, such as:

SCS can also treat cervical and lumbar radiculitis, which is pain caused by a pinched, irritated, or compressed nerve.

First, a trial

Your doctor at the Carolinas Center for the Advanced Management of Pain gives you a full exam to determine whether you might benefit from spinal cord stimulation. We may also order tests to learn more about your condition.

If you’re a good candidate for SCS, we start your treatment with a trial run using a temporary spinal cord stimulator.

To insert the temporary stimulator, your back is numbed with a local anesthetic, and a hollow needle is inserted through the skin into the space between the bone and the spinal cord. Wires, which are attached to an external spinal stimulator, are positioned over the affected nerves.

You wear the external stimulator for a trial period of 4-7 days to determine how effectively it manages your pain. You have full control over the frequency and intensity of the temporary stimulator’s electrical pulses.

An implanted stimulator

If your trial with the temporary spinal cord stimulator provides relief, you move on to a permanent implanted stimulator.

To insert the permanent stimulator, you’re put under general anesthesia, and your doctor inserts the stimulator just under your skin. Like the temporary stimulator, the implanted unit provides you with full control over the intensity and frequency of electrical current that’s delivered to your nerves.

Is spinal cord stimulation for you?

To find out if you’re a candidate for spinal cord stimulation to provide long-term relief from your back pain, call one of our six convenient locations in North and South Carolina, or book an appointment online. We have offices in Anderson, Greenville, Spartanburg, and West Columbia, South Carolina, as well as Asheville and Gastonia, North Carolina.

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