The spinal cord stimulator is a device that’s implanted into your body via a spinal surgery. It offers chronic back pain sufferers a chance to live without pain. The spinal cord stimulator doesn’t remove the problem causing the pain, but rather uses low levels of electricity to stimulate the pain receptors in the nerves to block the pain.
Back pain affects about 80 percent of Americans, and nearly 16 million people suffer from chronic back pain due to various spinal conditions. The top spine specialists at Premier Brain & Spine have the tools and expertise to successfully diagnose the cause of your back pain and provide you with the most effective treatment, which may include use of a spinal cord stimulator through permanent spinal cord stimulator surgery.
Relief from persistent, unresolved back pain is the main reason your New Jersey orthopedics doctor may recommend a spinal cord stimulator. Regardless where your crippling pain originates, it may cause your back to stiffen up and limit your ability to move without pain. You may not qualify for the device if you have a pacemaker or are pregnant.
If your condition hasn’t responded to conservative treatments, like medication and physical therapy, you may be a candidate for spinal cord stimulation. Conditions it treats include:
You may also be a good candidate if you have failed back syndrome after undergoing multiple low back surgeries. A stimulator can help if you had revision surgery that didn’t completely eliminate your back pain from procedures such as:
The type of spinal cord simulator you need depends on where the simulator is going to be positioned near your spine. Another factor is whether the pain is located in one area or multiple areas. When pain persistently affects your legs, your spine pain center physician may suggest a stronger electrical stimulation device. Your NJ spine center specialist has a number of options available, such as:
You’re in charge of the stimulator, changing the intensity of the electrical signals as and when you need some pain relief. You may need different stimulator settings for different body positions like walking versus sitting. Your New Jersey orthopedics team presets certain programs for you to use immediately. Newer models even have settings for burst or high-density stimulation.
The spinal cord stimulator consists of the electrodes, which are thin wires, and a generator that holds the battery. The electrodes are placed between your spinal cord and the vertebrae. The generator is placed underneath the skin near your buttocks or abdomen. You receive a wireless remote.
The battery life for a conventional stimulator lasts about three to five years before it needs to be replaced. The rechargeable spinal cord stimulator device lasts for an average of 10 to 15 years. Expect to get a local anesthesia for these surgical procedures. The surgery for a spinal cord stimulator takes place in phases that include:
Your surgery lasts anywhere from one to two hours. Once your anesthesia wears off, you’re allowed to go home the same day. Healing takes about two to four weeks after the surgery. Your neurosurgery and spine specialist provide you with a list of warnings while you’re recovering that include:
Keep moving your body for faster recovery. Frequently change your position from sitting to standing to walking throughout the day. Walking is the best exercise as it puts little strain on the spine. You may be referred to a physical therapist. Take it slow initially, but do increase the time to a minimum of one hour a day as this helps strengthen the back and leg muscles, while preventing blood clots.
Life after getting a spinal cord stimulator surgery does change. You can’t swim or even take a bath or shower while wearing the temporary stimulator. Only after you get the permanent spinal cord stimulator surgery can you soak in water without worry. Driving or using heavy machinery requires you to turn off the stimulator as any sudden changes in stimulation levels can distract you.
If you’re traveling, the spinal cord stimulator may set off alarms at the airport. You also can’t get MRIs with the stimulator powered on. Your doctor explains the full range of precautionary measures attached to your spinal cord stimulator.
A top spine specialist at Premier Brain & Spine resorts to spinal cord stimulator surgery only after all other avenues of pain relief have been exhausted. Don’t continue to live with chronic pain when relief is so close. Contact your nearest spine surgery center today for an evaluation to determine if you’re a candidate for a spinal cord stimulator.
Premier Brain & Spine
10 Parsonage Rd, Suite 208A
Edison, NJ 08837