Spinal Cord Stimulation, also known as SCS, is a treatment that applies small electrical charges to nerves to reduce pain. The most frequent use of spinal cord stimulation is for the management of neuropathic pain, which can be brought on by several illnesses, including neuropathy in the peripheral nerve, complex regional pain syndrome, and failed back surgery syndrome. Although treatments such as SCS and other chronic pain relief methods have been developed to reduce pain and suffering, the effective timing of treatments is essential.
Research consistently shows that immediate action in the management of chronic pain is linked to superior outcomes and better quality of life for patients, in contrast to delayed treatment. The longer pain lasts, the more likely it is to become something more than just a physical illness; it can develop into a multifaceted, complicated issue that includes mental and psychological factors like stress, anxiety, and depression.
Is spinal cord stimulation suitable for my pain?
A pain specialist will do a thorough evaluation of the patient before proceeding. Those who have not responded well to other conventional treatments and suffer from chronic pain conditions such as complex regional pain syndrome, neuropathic pain disorders, or failed back surgery syndrome.
Trial Period: A short-term period known as a “trial” is frequently used to evaluate the efficacy of SCS before permanent implantation. One or two temporary electrodes are placed into the epidural space via a needle close to the spinal cord. The other end of the leads exits the skin and are attached to a small battery, which is then taped onto the back. Then patients return home and live with the device for the duration of the trial. This allows patients to test out the therapy and decide whether it relieves their pain properly and whether it helps them achieve their goals.
Permanent Implantation: The permanent Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) device will be placed under your skin: the leads are placed underneath an incision near the midline of the back and the battery is placed underneath an incision in the left or right flank. Lead placement involves precisely guiding thin wires, or leads, to the appropriate location on your spinal cord. The power source for the permanent SCS device is typically a small battery pack or generator. The battery, also known as the internal pulse generator, supplies the energy required to operate the SCS device.
Stimulation Parameters: The apparatus is set up for stimulation of the spinal cord with electrical pulses. To maximise pain relief, the patient can frequently modify the stimulation parameters, changing the electrical pulses frequency and intensity.
Customization Options: The SCS system can be created to meet the unique needs and pain patterns of the patient. Fewer side effects and better relief from pain are made possible by this personalised service.
Monitoring Device: To make sure the SCS device functions correctly and make any changes that are required, patients usually schedule regular follow-up appointments with their pain management specialists.
How to know you are the Right Candidate for Spinal Cord Stimulation?
To determine if you’re a good candidate for this treatment, doctors perform an evaluation. Patients must experience persistent, chronic pain, typically lasting several months, that significantly impacts the quality of life and/or daily activities. Patients have tried and have not improved with other modalities such as physical therapy, medications, and injections before attempting spinal cord stimulation. If those haven’t proven effective, you may qualify.
Spinal cord stimulation is most effective for pain in the leg and/or lower back. This treatment may not be suitable for you if you frequently get infections or if your body has trouble healing.
What are the Benefits of Spinal Cord Stimulation
People with chronic pain may observe significant improvements in their quality of life with SCS. This treatment lessens their pain, allowing them to engage in more of their favourite activities without experiencing as much discomfort. The best part is that Spinal Cord Stimulation works so well at easing pain that they might find they don’t need to take strong painkillers as frequently.
Anesthesia Considerations for Spinal Cord Stimulation:
You may be given some medication to help you feel comfortable during the trial and permanent implant of the SCS device. Once the anaesthesia wears off, patients are discharged home. The surgical incisions may hurt for a few days following the procedure. Avoid excessive overhead reaching, twirling, twisting, or stretching for the first 4-6 weeks as these actions could alter the location of the device electrodes. The incision sites will be covered with the dressings, which can be taken off after two days. After surgery, incisions usually heal in two to four weeks. You can resume driving and going to work (with movement restrictions) after 1-2 weeks after surgery.
Risks and Side Effects of Spinal Cord Stimulation
You should be aware of the risks and Side effects before you go for spinal cord stimulation treatment
Infection: Within a period of two to eight weeks following surgery, patients may rarely develop an infection in the surgical site. Fevers, pain, redness, drainage, and swelling around the incisions can all be symptoms of infections.
Bleeding: The surgical site may occasionally experience some bleeding.
Device Migration: over time, the electrode wires may shift from their original location. When this occurs, the stimulator’s ability to block pain may be compromised. In these situations, a second surgery might be needed to adjust the wires.
Device Damage: The stimulation device may sustain damage if you fall or engage in vigorous physical activity. This is rare.
Dural Puncture: The dura mater, which is a protective covering, envelops your spinal cord located slightly outside of this layer are the stimulator wires. But occasionally, a wire or needle used during the procedure could pierce the dura mater by going too deep. Cerebrospinal fluid may leak as a result, resulting in headaches.
Spinal Cord : Although extremely rare, there is a very small chance that the stimulator insertion will injure the spinal cord, which could result in paralysis and damage to the nerves. Although extremely rare, this is a serious complication. It is essential to realise that spinal cord stimulator surgery is typically regarded as safe and effective for managing chronic pain and that these complications are unusual. Throughout the procedure, your healthcare team will take steps to minimise these risks. Always remember to discuss any worries that you may have with your medical professional.
Spinal Cord Stimulation for Specific Conditions
Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) is a treatment for certain health problems like failed back surgery syndrome and complex regional pain syndrome.
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS): FBSS happens when people continue to have pain even after back surgery.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS): CRPS is a condition where you have severe pain in one of your limbs, typically a hand or a foot.
What are the associated costs of spinal cord stimulation treatment?
Understanding the financial aspect of Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) is essential
Insurance Coverage: SCS may be partly covered by your health insurance, but not always. To find out if your health insurance will cover the costs, you need to inquire with your health Insurance providers.
Out-of-Pocket Expenses: If your insurance doesn’t cover it, you might have to pay for SCS yourself. The cost can vary, but it is usually not cheap. It includes the device, surgery, and follow-up care.
Life after Spinal Cord Stimulation:
You can essentially maintain your routine, such as walking, sitting, or performing your daily tasks, while using the SCS device. There are many SCS device companies: please ask your physician about the MRI compatibility of your device if you anticipate needing MR imaging in the future.
Controlling the Device
There is a remote control on your SCS device, just like on a TV. It can be used to adjust the device so that your spine receives the proper number of signals. It helps you reduce your pain. For patients, medical professionals will work collaboratively to determine the most suitable parameters
Attending office visits with your care team on a regular basis is crucial. Similar to a physical checkup, your care team wants to make sure that the SCS device is functioning properly and that you are achieving your desired outcomes. To view treatment options for a better life free from pain, click the link for Spinal Cord Stimulation.
At Kansas Pain Management we provide a ray of hope in offering SCS in the Kansas Region. Now if you are someone looking for Spinal Cord Stimulation Treatment in Kansas City, We encourage you to reach out to our office at Kansas Pain Management for a consultation. Looking forward to serving you.