What is spinal cord stimulation?
Spinal cord stimulation therapy is an advanced technique for treating chronic pain. The therapy relies on a device named a spinal cord stimulator. The device emits mild electrical pulses to stimulate nerves and interrupt pain signals from reaching the brain.
Spinal cord stimulation has been used to treat chronic pain since 1967. Over the years, these devices have increased in effectiveness while decreasing in size. Current models measure only a few inches in diameter. The leads can also be placed more accurately than ever, resulting in more precise and effective pain control.
With neuropathic pain, the nerve fibers themselves may be damaged, dysfunctional or injured. This causes them to send incorrect signals to other pain centers. Spinal cord stimulators help treat neuropathy by replacing pain with a mild tingling sensation. Some devices can even eliminate pain sensations entirely.
What are the advantages of spinal cord stimulation?
Spinal cord stimulation therapy has many advantages over other pain treatment options.
For one thing, it’s a drug-free therapy, using electrical impulses to relieve pain. Spinal cord stimulation avoids the negative side effects of pain medication, like addiction and tolerance.
It is also a completely reversible procedure. The entire system can be removed at any time if the patient chooses.
Patients can “test drive” the therapy. A trial run takes place before the permanent implant is placed, to ensure the treatment is effective.
What’s involved in a spinal cord stimulation trial?
During a spinal cord stimulation trial, the physician places temporary leads in your back. The leads connect to an external device that you carry around in a belt pack. The temporary system performs all the same functions as the permanent device, so you can experience what spinal cord stimulation feels like.
Placing the lead is done using a needle and does not involve surgery. The physician will program different settings and ask you what feels best. You will receive specific instructions on how to care for your temporary spinal cord stimulation system.
For the next 3 to 10 days, you will have the opportunity to try the system in your daily life. During this trial period, you will be able to walk around and do most of the things you usually do. Following the trial period, you and your physician will determine if a permanent spinal cord stimulator is right for you.
Does my insurance cover spinal cord stimulation therapy?
Most likely, yes. While the situation may vary case by case, most insurance does cover spinal cord stimulation therapy.
Is spinal cord stimulation therapy safe?
Spinal cord stimulation therapy has been tested in hundreds of clinical studies worldwide and has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a safe and effective pain management therapy.
The device implantation is a minimally invasive, outpatient surgical procedure that can take only a couple hours.
Spinal Cord Stimulation at Twin Cities Pain Clinic
Twin Cities Pain Clinic is one of the metro area’s leading specialists in spinal cord stimulation therapy. We offer all the top stimulator brands and participate with all insurance plans.
Contact us today to learn more about spinal cord stimulation or schedule a consultation.