Spinal Cord Stimulation
Chronic pain is how your brain interprets signals sent by the nerves in your body. Millions of nerve receptors and pathways connect to your brain. Most of these nerves use the spinal cord as the superhighway to direct signals to the brain. When chronic pain cannot be stopped through repairing the source, another option is interrupting the pain signals to the brain. One advanced treatment for chronic pain management is spinal cord stimulation, and it is available at Medici Medical Arts.
What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?
The concept behind spinal cord stimulation, or SCS, is to interfere with pain signals sent by the nerves to the brain. Using a low electrical current, the treatment interrupts pain signals by targeting the affected nerves. Instead of pain, the patient feels paresthesia from the electrical stimulus, a mild, tingling sensation that is not unpleasant. SCS can be used as a permanent therapy by implanting a device under the skin that targets the affected nerves. It is controlled by a remote that can turn it on, off or adjust the level of impulses.
Spinal cord stimulation can be used for several different types of chronic pain, helping minimize the use of pain medications and improve function. Neuropathic pain is the most common pain treated with this method, including complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), lumbar/cervical radiculopathy, diabetic neuropathy and other types of arm, leg or back pain.
How is SCS Performed?
To determine whether a patient is a good candidate for SCS, a temporary device is used. Probes are placed under the skin to target the affected nerves near the spinal or dorsal column for a trial period. If the trial period is successful and the patient and doctor determine it will be beneficial for pain management, a permanent device can be implanted. The procedure to implant the device and pair the remote to control the impulses takes about an hour under local anesthesia.
Spinal cord stimulation has been a successful pain management treatment for many people with chronic neuropathic pain. It is also covered by many insurance plans, including Medicare. If you are interested in learning more about SCS and whether it could help minimize pain and improve your quality of life, contact one of our clinics in the Atlanta area.