Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a remarkable therapeutic approach designed to alleviate chronic pain and address various neurological conditions that significantly impact people’s daily lives. By targeting specific areas of the spinal cord associated with pain perception, SCS offers a non-invasive yet potent way to manage persistent pain that may not respond to conventional treatments like medications or surgeries.

The significance of spinal cord stimulation in chronic pain management cannot be overstated. For those living with debilitating pain conditions that have proven resistant to standard interventions, SCS emerges as a beacon of hope, offering relief and restoring mobility. Furthermore, beyond its role in pain management, spinal cord stimulation has shown promising results in addressing neurological disorders, showcasing its versatility and potential to enhance the well-being of patients facing a spectrum of medical challenges.

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What Is Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Spinal cord stimulation involves the implantation of a small device, often referred to as a neurostimulator, beneath the skin near the spinal cord. This device emits mild electrical impulses to the spinal cord, effectively interrupting or masking the pain signals that travel to the brain.

The process begins with a trial period where temporary leads are placed near the spinal cord to assess the individual’s response to stimulation. If successful, a permanent implant is then positioned, allowing for ongoing pain relief and management.

One of the key reasons why spinal cord stimulation is highly effective in relieving pain and enhancing flexibility lies in its ability to modulate the transmission of pain signals within the nervous system.

By delivering targeted electrical pulses to the spinal cord, SCS can disrupt the signals responsible for conveying pain sensations, thereby reducing the perception of pain experienced by the individual. This interference with pain pathways not only alleviates discomfort but also promotes increased mobility and flexibility, enabling patients to engage in activities they may have previously found challenging due to pain limitations.

Beyond simply masking pain, spinal cord stimulation has demonstrated the capacity to induce physiological changes within the nervous system that contribute to long-lasting pain relief and improved functionality. The electrical stimulation provided by the neurostimulator can trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals, leading to a natural analgesic effect.

Additionally, by targeting specific regions of the spinal cord involved in pain processing, SCS can help rewire neural circuits over time, fostering a reduction in pain sensitivity and a restoration of function, ultimately empowering individuals to lead more active and fulfilling lives.

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5 Conditions Treated by Spinal Cord Stimulation

Five of the many conditions that can be improved with spinal cord stimulation include:

Degenerative Disc Disease

Living with degenerative disc disease can be a challenging ordeal marked by persistent back pain, reduced mobility, and a diminished quality of life. However, spinal cord stimulation emerges as a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of degenerative disc disease. By harnessing the power of electrical impulses delivered to the spinal cord, this innovative treatment modality offers a non-invasive yet effective means of managing the debilitating pain associated with the degeneration of spinal discs.

Failed Back Surgery Pain

Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) is a complex condition characterized by persistent pain and discomfort following one or multiple spinal surgeries. Those afflicted by FBSS often endure ongoing back pain, nerve-related issues, and limited mobility despite undergoing surgical interventions intended to alleviate their initial spinal problems. Spinal cord stimulation emerges as an effective treatment method for failed back surgery syndrome due to its unique ability to target the specific areas of the spinal cord responsible for pain processing, providing relief, and improving function.

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Lumbar spinal stenosis refers to a condition where there is a narrowing of the spaces within the spine, leading to compression of nerves and resulting in chronic back pain and numbness in the legs. As a non-invasive alternative to surgery, spinal cord stimulation has been found to significantly reduce pain associated with lumbar spinal stenosis, improving daily functioning and quality of life for those affected.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a debilitating chronic pain condition that can affect any part of the body, often triggered by an injury or trauma. The excruciating pain caused by CRPS can be challenging to manage with traditional treatments, leading many individuals to turn to spinal cord stimulation as a solution. By interrupting pain signals and promoting natural analgesia, SCS has shown to be highly effective in reducing the severity of symptoms associated with CRPS.

Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a condition that affects individuals with diabetes, causing nerve damage and resulting in pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in the hands and feet. Spinal cord stimulation can be beneficial for patients living with diabetic peripheral neuropathy by reducing pain and improving the function of their extremities.

A man grabs his hand in pain due to neuropathy

Benefits of Spinal Cord Stimulation

But, why choose spinal cord stimulation to treat these conditions and more?

  • Pain Relief: Spinal cord stimulation effectively alleviates chronic pain by interrupting the transmission of pain signals to the brain, offering individuals significant relief from conditions like neuropathic pain and failed back surgery syndrome. By targeting specific areas of the spinal cord, this treatment modality provides a customizable and adjustable pain management solution tailored to each patient’s needs.
  • Improved Functionality: Through the modulation of pain pathways and the promotion of endorphin release, spinal cord stimulation not only reduces pain but also enhances mobility and functionality, empowering individuals to engage in activities that were previously hindered by debilitating pain. This improved functionality leads to increased independence for those undergoing spinal cord stimulation therapy.
  • Non-Invasive Approach: Unlike invasive surgical procedures, spinal cord stimulation is minimally invasive and reversible, making it a safer and more conservative option for individuals seeking long-term pain relief without the risks associated with major surgeries. This non-invasive nature allows for quicker recovery times and reduced post-operative complications, creating a smoother treatment experience for patients.
  • Customizable Pain Management: With the ability to adjust the stimulation as needed, SCS offers a personalized approach to pain management, ensuring that patients receive optimal pain relief tailored to their unique pain patterns and preferences. This customization allows for fine-tuning of the treatment to address changing pain levels and evolving patient needs over time.
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Choose The SCS Institute to Relieve Painful Conditions

With a team of experienced and compassionate physicians, The SCS Institute is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care for individuals seeking relief from chronic pain conditions. Our mission is to empower patients by offering advanced spinal cord stimulation therapy and support throughout their treatment journey. Trust in our expertise and commitment to improving your well-being. Schedule an appointment at The SCS Institute online today or call our main office at (301) 703-8767.

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