Who is a Good Candidate for Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS)?
Advances in pain management technology and treatments now offer hope for those with chronic pain. One treatment that has had outstanding success for many of chronic pain patients at Medici Spine & Pain is spinal cord stimulation, or SCS. This innovative therapy can reduce chronic pain and improve the quality of life for many people who have not responded well to other pain management treatments. If you have chronic back or limb pain and are looking for alternative treatments for relief, SCS may be right for you.
How Does SCS Work?
In simple terms, spinal cord stimulation helps control pain by interrupting pain signals to the brain in the spinal cord. Electrical pulses are used on targeted nerves to interrupt or block pain signals. Electrodes are placed on the nerves that are responsible for signaling pain in the affected area, which are connected to an electrical stimulator. The patient can control the level of impulses, increasing it when there is more pain and decreasing it when the pain subsides.
For implanting the SCS device, there are two stages. Once a patient is determined to be a good candidate, a trial of a temporary SCS device is performed. This is a quick outpatient procedure to connect a temporary stimulator to determine the effectiveness for the patient. If the trial is successful, a long-term stimulator can be implanted that is controlled by a remote device by the patient.
Chronic Pain Conditions Managed with SCS
Not all types of chronic pain are suitable for SCS treatment. This method of chronic pain management is best for chronic pain in the torso or limbs that is physiological in origin, including neuropathic pain. Some of the common chronic pain conditions that are managed successfully with SCS include:
- Complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS
- Radicular pain caused by a herniated or bulging disc
- Failed back syndrome, or FBS
- Post-laminectomy pain
- Degenerative disc disease, or DDD
- Arachnoiditis or lumbar adhesive arachnoiditis
- Peripheral causalgia
Patients that have these and other types of chronic pain may be good candidates for SCS. We perform extensive evaluations to determine whether SCS is the right fit for our patients. Some qualifying factors include:
- The patient has chronic pain in the torso or limbs not effectively managed by other treatments
- Surgery is low risk for the patient
- The patient can operate the SCS device
- Successful results from SCS trial
- The patient is over 18, passes a psychological evaluation and understands the risk of surgery
Our patients at Medici Spine & Pain have had excellent results with spinal cord stimulation to reduce their chronic pain. If you are interested in learning more about this innovative treatment, contact us to schedule a consultation.
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