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Am I a Candidate for Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Chronic pain often can’t be effectively controlled with simple strategies like yoga, physical therapy, or anti-inflammatory diets or medications. You might need more direct solutions to break your cycle of chronic pain. 

With an implanted spinal cord stimulation (SCS) device, Nichelle C. Renk, MD, who is board certified both in interventional pain management and anesthesiology, can effectively block pain signals from reaching your brain, giving you lasting relief.

At Alpenglow Pain & Wellness in Anchorage, Alaska, Dr. Renk welcomes new and established patients who are dealing with complex and treatment-resistant pain conditions. 

Here’s what you need to know about this effective and long-lasting pain management technique, and how to tell if you could be a good candidate for spinal cord stimulation.

SCS treatment for lasting pain relief

When you suffer from chronic pain, abnormal pain signals regularly travel through your spinal cord to register with your brain. If other pain management strategies and interventional management techniques fail to reduce your pain, it might be time to go straight to the source of your pain with SCS.

With a low-voltage electrical current delivered consistently through your spinal cord, SCS blocks pain sensations, giving you lasting relief. You can use SCS treatment to address chronic pain in your neck, back, legs, and arms.

Trial phase

The first step of treatment with your Nevro HF10® spinal cord stimulation device is to have leads placed it on a trial basis. You use the Nevro HF10 for 7-8 days, allowing Dr. Renk to evaluate how effectively it treats your chronic pain condition.

To implant the device for your trial, Dr. Renk positions you on your stomach and uses a live video X-ray machine to guide her work. A local anesthetic keeps you free of discomfort during the procedure.

With a hollow needle, Dr. Renk pierces your skin and penetrates the epidural space between your spinal cord and bone, inserting temporary electrode wires through the needle. These can be exactly positioned to address specific nerves and potentially provide pain relief. 

The other ends of the wires attach to an external pulse generator (or battery pack) worn on a specialized belt. Dr. Renk uses this generator to check your body’s responses to SCS treatment.

Getting your implant

Once Dr. Renk has determined that this form of treatment will work for you, and you have your SCS device implanted and secured with sutures in the epidural space above your spinal cord, wires reach from your spine to your buttock. 

There, in a small pocket of space that Dr. Renk creates, she positions the compact battery-powered pulse generator and connects it up before closing her incisions.

You’ll be able to use your SCS device at any time of the day, and your implants can be turned off or removed at any time.

Could you be a candidate?

The best candidates for SCS treatment are patients who suffer from chronic back or neck pain that’s not related to movement. SCS can also benefit patients who have pain remaining after back surgery that is not due to movement, as well as patients with conditions including:

If you have a pacemaker or are pregnant, SCS might not be right for you.

To learn more about SCS, and determine if you could be a candidate, get in touch with Dr. Renk now. You can book your consultation by calling Alpenglow Pain & Wellness today at 907-313-2976.

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