How a Spinal Cord Stimulator Can Help Relieve Chronic Back Pain

Spinal Cord Stimulator Chronic Back Pain

At some point or another, almost everyone experiences back pain. But if you’re among the 20% of people who develop chronic back pain after an injury, you know how difficult it is to find a treatment to help reduce pain so you can get back to doing the things you love.

At Ohio Institute for Comprehensive Pain Management, Dr. Mervet Saleh and her team offer many pain management options, including the spinal cord stimulator. This pain-reducing device not only provides relief from your chronic back pain, but also may help reduce your reliance on other methods of pain control, such as medication.

The device

Chronic back pain can affect every aspect of your life — from your ability to work and participate in social activities to your appetite. If pain medication, physical therapy, and injections fail to help you get the pain relief you need to improve your quality of life, you may be a candidate for a spinal cord stimulator.

The spinal cord stimulator is neuromodulation device that blocks pain signals to your brain. More than 50,000 devices are implanted worldwide every year, and this treatment is FDA-approved to help manage chronic back pain.

The device consists of:

The pulse generator and lead wires are surgically implanted in your body, and you control the device with the remote.

How it works

A spinal cord stimulator generates a low-voltage electric current to your spinal cord, altering the pain signals to your brain. The device doesn’t stop your pain, but it interferes with the pain signal to alleviate some of your discomfort. The goal is reduce your pain by as much as 50% to 80%, although any amount of relief is a win when you suffer from chronic, debilitating back pain.

Try it first

Because the spinal cord stimulator doesn’t stop the pain at its source, everyone’s response is a bit different. Before we implant the device, we always do a trial run. During your spinal cord stimulator trial, we place the leads in the epidural space of your spinal canal and have you wear an external pulse generator on your waistband or belt.

We provide instructions on how to use the pulse generator and request that you keep a pain diary to monitor the results. Typically, we have you trial the spinal cord stimulator for up to seven days. If you experience a reduction in pain of 50% or more, we can discuss permanent placement of a spinal cord stimulator.

For the permanent placement, the leads are secured in the epidural space in your spinal canal and tunneled under your skin to your abdominal area, where the pulse generator is implanted beneath your skin. Following the procedure, we may require you make a few modifications to your usual activities while you recover. We also provide you with a tapering schedule of your oral pain medications as your back pain improves.

Most people experience a 50% to 80% improvement in pain after placement of the permanent spinal cord stimulator, with many being able to get back to work and other activities that they had to give up due to chronic back pain. You may also no longer need pain medication.

If it turns out that your spinal cord stimulator isn’t providing the relief you need, or you can’t tolerate the tingling sensation, it can be removed.

Dr. Saleh and her team want you to live a full and happy life. Chronic back pain not only affects your physical health, but your emotional health, too. If your back pain is keeping you from your life, call the Ohio Institute for Comprehensive Pain Management today or book an appointment online to find out if a spinal cord stimulator can help.

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