How You May Benefit from Spinal Cord Stimulation

Chronic back pain can prevent you from accomplishing everyday tasks, such as walking your dog, vacuuming, or driving a car. If more conservative treatment methods are not relieving your back or neck pain, our expert team here at Cutting Edge Integrative Pain Centers recommends checking to see if you’re a good candidate for a spinal cord stimulator. Spinal cord stimulators relieve pain for the long term, so you can enjoy a better quality of life.

If you struggle to manage back or neck pain, read on to learn how you may benefit from spinal cord stimulation.

SCS provides long-term pain relief with less medication

If you’ve become dependent on pain medication to “take the edge off” your back or neck pain so you can get through several hours of your day, you may benefit from a spinal cord stimulator (SCS). In one study, more than a third of individuals experienced enough pain relief with a spinal cord stimulator that it allowed them to reduce dependence on opioid medications. Even if you’ve been taking prescription painkillers for more than 10 years, it’s possible to take them less frequently, or even not at all, with a spinal cord stimulator.

The first step is a trial run with an external SCS to help determine if you’re a suitable candidate for an implanted unit. If the trial is successful, Dr. Landrum performs a minimally invasive procedure to install an internal SCS system.

The spinal cord stimulator typically goes in the epidural space above your spinal cord. Dr. Landrum implants the electrical leads according to where you’ll benefit from them most, and the SCS generator usually goes in your abdominal or buttock region – wherever you and Dr. Landrum determine is most comfortable.

Once installed, the spinal cord stimulator can be adjusted and customized to alleviate your pain. It works by masking the signals that travel from the source of your pain to the pain receptors in your brain. A safe, electrical current runs to the specific nerves that cause pain and prevents the signals from reaching your brain. As a result, you get long-lasting pain relief without medications or harmful side effects.

It’s effective for a number of chronic conditions

Spinal cord stimulation was FDA-approved to treat chronic pain in 1989 and now accounts for nearly 90% of all treatments for pain related to nerve damage in the torso, arms, and legs. If you have any of the following chronic conditions, you may benefit from SCS therapy:

If you’ve been dependent on pain medications or have tried other pain-relief methods to no avail, Dr. Landrum can work with you to determine if a spinal cord stimulator is a viable therapy.

Pain relief for even the most challenging cases

Dr. Landrum is the only physician the the greater Elkhart, Indiana area that also offers state-of-the-art dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation. DRG is effective for treating chronic pain in areas that are more challenging to address with traditional spinal cord stimulation, including your:

One recent study of patients who underwent this highly specialized form of spinal cord stimulation reported consistent pain relief, improved mood, and a better quality of life over a 12-month period with their DRG spinal cord stimulation device.

A spinal cord stimulator is a minimally invasive procedure, not major back surgery

To implant a spinal cord stimulator – a procedure which Dr. Landrum is highly skilled and experienced at doing – it typically takes just one small incision. And he can usually place the leads with electrodes using a hollow needle. There are very few potential side effects with this minimally invasive procedure, although you may experience bruising or swelling at the incision site.

In many cases, you can go home the same day, or perhaps spend just one night in the hospital. As you recover, you’ll limit strenuous activity and heavy lifting, but it’s usually beneficial to take walks and keep moving per Dr. Landrum’s instructions, as you allow your body time to heal.

A spinal cord stimulator is often an excellent alternative for people who want to avoid invasive spinal surgeries because of the higher risks involved with them.

Unlike spinal surgeries, this procedure can be reversed

Although it’s considered a permanent solution for pain relief, if at any time you decide you want to remove the spinal cord stimulator implant and electrodes, the procedure is completely reversible. The SCS and the implantation procedure don’t cause permanent damage or alterations to your spinal cord, as more invasive spinal surgeries do.

Whether you’re hoping to reduce dependence on medication, use a targeted, highly customizable method of pain relief, or want to save money on pain therapies, a spinal cord stimulator may be beneficial for your chronic condition. And you can experience a better quality of life with less worry for years to come.

To explore interventional pain management therapies and to learn if you’re a good candidate for a spinal cord stimulator, call our office in Elkhart, Indiana, or request the next available appointment online. Living a life without pain may be easier than you ever thought possible.

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