Chronic back pain is a misery without letup. It can prevent you from enjoying life, even from living a normal life. When other treatments have failed, a spinal cord stimulator (SCS) can provide relief from chronic back pain. Dr. Nichelle C. Renk and Alpenglow Pain & Wellness offer the Nevro HF10® spinal cord stimulation device that is a consistent and long-lasting pain solution.
What is a spinal cord stimulator?
Chronic pain, which doesn’t signal an acute disease or injury, is caused by health conditions that don’t seem to go away. This never-ending pain causes abnormal neurosignals to be sent through your spinal cord to your brain.
Spinal cord stimulation, an FDA-approved pain relief treatment, applies a continuous, low-voltage electrical current to your spinal cord. The current blocks pain sensations and brings relief to painful backs, arms, and legs.
SCS is an appropriate treatment for patients who meet these criteria:
- Your pain is not caused by a malignancy
- Your pain has not responded to other treatments for a minimum of 6 months
- You have no pacemaker or major psychiatric disorders
Mostly, SCS is used for patients with pain caused by inflamed spinal cord or brain linings, complex regional pain syndrome with burning pain to the extremities, and extreme or recurrent pain after a successful spinal operation.
What is the SCS procedure?
The first step is implanting the spinal cord stimulator on a trial, temporary basis. If the therapy effectively relieves your pain, Dr. Renk implants a permanent SCS. Permanent SCS implantation requires light sedation and takes about an hour to complete. Most patients go home the same day.
You lie on your stomach for the procedure, and Dr. Renk applies a local anesthetic so you feel no pain. Guided by a live video X-ray, she inserts electrode wires through a hollow needle into the epidural space above your spinal cord.
Dr. Renk then implants a small, battery-powered pulse generator into a pocket she makes under the skin of your buttocks, abdomen, or another place that seems more comfortable. You wear a charge belt when the device needs recharging.
You can use your SCS device 24 hours a day. And even though it’s called a permanent therapy, it is reversible: You can turn off the system anytime or have it removed.
As with any surgery, SCS implantation can result in bleeding, infection, or allergic reaction. The electrical device has some unique side effects. It can set off airport metal detectors, and the magnet on the stimulator control device might erase information on your credit cards. But overall, the risks are slight compared with the reward of living a life without chronic back pain.
Is back pain ruining your days? Call Dr. Renk’s office in Anchorage, Alaska, to find out more about whether a spinal cord stimulator is right for you: 907-313-2976.