How Spinal Cord Stimulation Works to Manage Pain

Injuries to the spine are no joke. Besides any pain that you may feel while sitting or standing still, you could be hampered by pain in any or all of your daily activities. You may be feeling this pain due to an auto accident, an inherited or genetic disorder, a sports injury, or a fall. Dr. David Wu and our team at CurePain have seen countless patients living with spinal pain, and we’re equipped with the best medicinal and technological therapies to help you live a healthier, more comfortable life. 

Dr. Wu’s belief in patient-centered care is at the core of our practice. For severe cases of spinal pain, we offer spinal cord stimulation as an option for strong and long-lasting pain relief. Spinal cord stimulation isn’t the best option for everyone. Even severe cases of spinal pain may not necessitate this step. However, if you think you may be a candidate for this type of treatment, we feel you should know how it works and what it can potentially do for you.

How bad does my spinal pain have to be?

Spinal cord stimulation is specifically made for severe to extreme cases of spinal cord pain. You’ve been in a car accident, survived an assault, or sustained a bad injury while playing sports. You might have even had surgery previously to alleviate the pain. In any of these cases, your original physician undoubtedly prescribed pain medication for you. 

For better or worse, pain medication doesn’t always work, and you may not be a candidate for certain physical therapies due to your pain. No doctor is able to predict when or if your pain will get better, but you may get to the point where medications simply aren’t enough to give you a break from the incessant distress. If this is the case, you may be a candidate for spinal cord stimulation. 

How do I get a spinal cord stimulator?

The first thing you should do is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Wu. Dr. Wu takes this time to evaluate your pain levels and medical history, as well as other factors that can impact the success of a spinal cord stimulator. He will also offer other options that could alleviate your pain. If you and Dr. Wu decide that the spinal cord stimulator is the best way for you to get relief, your first surgery will be a trial run.

Before you have a permanent spinal cord stimulator implanted, you will receive a temporary stimulator. The purpose of this trial run is to evaluate whether or not the permanent option is a good fit for you. If the trial run is a success, we’ll schedule your permanent procedure for a date that works for you. If the trial run isn’t a success, either because the device doesn’t bring your pain to a manageable level, or because you don’t like it, the temporary device can easily be removed without exacerbating your current pain.

What happens after surgery for my spinal cord stimulator?

For your procedure, Dr. Wu will make an incision in your lower back or buttocks to insert the battery-operated device. Tiny electrodes go directly onto your spine. Through the electrodes, small amounts of electricity are transmitted to the nerves, stopping the pain signals from reaching your brain. This helps you to experience far less pain, and it gives you a chance to work and play normally. 

Dr. Wu will talk to you about maintaining your device, including how the device’s power source works. A permanent device will require another surgery to replace the battery when it runs out, but Dr. Wu will discuss this with you when you’re ready to move forward.

The risks of the spinal cord stimulator include, but are not limited to, infections, device malfunctions, and burns. It’s also possible that the device or the electrodes can migrate, which can affect your pain levels. Dr. Wu is more than happy to discuss all of the risks with you in detail. 

Don’t wait for your spinal pain to keep you away from enjoying time with friends and loved ones or living your life to the fullest. Call us at 424-235-6565 or use our online scheduling system to set up a consultation.

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