What’s causing your back to ache?
Most back pain is linked to conditions involving the spine. Several bones, called vertebrae, surround the spinal cord from the neck to the lower back. Between the vertebrae are fibrous discs that help with shock absorption. Sometimes, either the discs or bone can degenerate or become damaged. The damage can cause distress to the surrounding nerves, causing neck pain, lower back pain, and even leg pain. Most treatment options work to get the pain under control while addressing the root cause.
Consider a spinal cord stimulator
A spinal cord stimulator, sometimes called a neurostimulator, is a small device that can help with chronic pain. The device sends low electrical pulses to the area of the spine, causing pain. These impulses interfere with signals going to the brain, significantly reducing pain. For the device to work, a doctor will surgically insert thin wires called leads close to the spine. The wires connect to a small device with a generator, which will send the electrical signals. The batteries can last as long as 10 years, depending on use.
Installing your neurostimulator
If a doctor recommends a spinal cord stimulation device, the patient goes through a 2-step process. First, the leads are surgically implanted, with the generator on the outside of the body. The patient manages the device outside the body first and keeps a record of any improvement. If the patient agrees that there is significant pain reduction, the doctor surgically implants the generator. If not, the leads are removed. To install the generator, the doctor performs a simple surgery with the patient under anesthesia. Part of the lamina may be removed to facilitate the leads. After installation, the doctor will wake the patient to confirm if the device is working. There is a short recovery period of about 6-8 weeks, where the patient will feel some discomfort.
When should someone try a spinal cord stimulator?
Spinal cord stimulators aren’t for everyone. There are several options, like lifestyle changes and physical therapy, that are quite effective. However, there are some reasons to consider a spinal cord stimulator. A good example is if the patient had failed back surgery or tried other unsuccessful treatments in the past. These treatments include medication, physical therapy, and epidural injections. Some patients are not yet ready for spinal surgery and would like to try advanced options first. With a spinal cord stimulator, most patients feel at least a 50% reduction in pain. While the numbers sound small, cutting pain in half can significantly improve the quality of life.
Get chronic pain under control
Back pain continues to affect millions of people. In some cases, conventional treatment options, including surgery, do not bring the desired relief. A spinal cord stimulator can help by reducing the pain signals sent to the brain. As a non-invasive treatment option, neurostimulators can help get the pain under control. Speak with a doctor today to find out if a spinal cord stimulator is an option.