A Spinal Stimulation System
Neurostimulator:This is the entire device that is implanted and sends out electrical impulses through a lead wire to the nerves in the spine.
Lead:The thin wire that delivers the electrical impulses from the neurostimulator.
Remote control:This turns on/off the stimulator and increases or decreases the amount of stimulation.
Charger:Stimulators are rechargeable and normally require recharging about one hour every two weeks.
Spinal Stimulator Types:
Traditional stimulatorsThese produce a gentle ringing/tingling sensation that masks the pain.
Burst stimulatorsThese send out random interval bursts of electrical impulses designed to copy the way the body sends out nerve impulses.
High-frequency stimulatorsThese reduce pain without generating tingling sensations.
Types of Pain Spinal Stimulation TreatsSpinal stimulation is approved by the U.S. FDA to treat chronic back and leg pain, including pain that doesn’t go away after back surgery known as failed back surgery syndrome. Chronic neuropathic back and leg pain are the most common types that stimulation treats. This means back or leg pain caused by nerve damage from:
- Auto accident
- Injury – personal, sports, work
- Other unknown causes
Appropriate TreatmentSpinal cord stimulation should not be used in patients that are pregnant, unable to operate the stimulation system, went through a failed trial of spinal stimulation, and are at risk for surgical complications. The decision to use spinal stimulation is based on an individual’s needs and risks. Talk to a doctor, spine specialist, chiropractor to see if spinal stimulation could be an option.
Benefits and RisksThe effects of stimulation are different for everyone. Therefore, it is important to understand that spinal stimulation can help reduce pain, but not completely eliminate it.
The Benefits of Spinal Cord StimulationIn addition to reducing pain, other benefits of spinal stimulation include:
- Better sleep
- Improved body function
- Increased activity
- Improved mobility
- Reduced opioid medication/s use
- Less need for other types of pain meds
- Reduced dependence on braces/bracing
RisksDuring the implantation, there is a risk for:
- Pain at the site of incision
- Nerve damage
- Rarely paralysis
Take PrecautionsDiscuss with a doctor, spine specialist, or chiropractor what you can and can’t do after the stimulator is implanted and activated. Here are a few precautions:
- Do not drive or operate heavy equipment when the stimulator is active.
- Stimulation systems could set off metal detectors, which could require manual screening.