What is Spinal Cord Stimulation And How Does It Work

spinal cordFor patients who have tried all possible treatment for pain relief caused due to chronic pain in their back or limbs without any success, Spinal Cord Stimulation could be the best possible option. It is however observed that this treatment may not work for all. For those who undergo this procedure generally report 50-70% reduction in pain. With reduced pain, these patients can resume normal life without any hindrances in daily activities.

After undergoing spinal cord stimulation, many patients feel a drastic reduction in pain and can reduce the amount of pain killers they take.

What exactly is spinal cord stimulation and how does it work?

The basic concept behind this is to apply electrical current to the very source of chronic pain. This blocks the brain’s ability to sense the pain. There are two ways in which this medical technology can be used.

Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS)

SCS or spinal cord stimulation is a procedure where in a soft and thin wires with electrical leads at the tips are placed in the back near the spinal cord. This is generally done with the help of needles. After that is done, a small incision is made in the abdomen and a programmable generator is placed. This generator emits electrical current to the spinal cord, thus blocking the source of the pain.

Peripheral Nerve Field Stimulation (PNFS)

This involves placing the leads just below the skin near the nerves involved in the pain sensation. The technique used is very similar to the spinal cord stimulation.

While both the above mentioned techniques are great when it comes to pain relief, they do not have the capacity to eliminate the source of the problem itself. They are unable to treat the source of the chronic pain. In fact, they interfere with the transmission of pain signals and the source of the pain may remain undetected and untreated.

Here are some of the causes of pain that can be treated with spinal cord stimulation:

  • Chronic pain after surgeries involving the back and the neck, lower back pain or leg pain.
  • A complex regional pain syndrome that includes a constant burning pain. This disease affects the nervous system.
  • Peripheral nerve injury that causes burning sensation along with pain.
  • Inflammation of the protective layers of the spinal nerves.
  • Burning pain caused in the legs due to the dying of distant nerves.

Another important point to mention here is that spinal cord or peripheral nervous system stimulation has different effects on different people. The pain relief experienced will be different for each individual. The good part is that you can observe the pain relief and change the stimulation accordingly.

As mentioned earlier. These are effective ways of getting pain relief. These are not treatments to cure a disease. These are means to reduce the pain caused by the after effects of a surgery or pain that is uncontrollable. These techniques enable you to resume your duties of routine life painlessly!

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