Spinal Cord Stimulation:
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a procedure that uses an electrical current to treat chronic pain. A small device called a pulse generator is implanted in the back and sends electrical pulse signals to the spinal cord. These pulses act to disrupt the nerve signals that make you feel pain in your affected regions of the spine and limbs. It "replaces" the pain sensation with what most patients describe as a mild tingling sensation. While the treatment does not work for everyone, most patients who qualify for this stimulation therapy report a significant reduction in overall pain, as well as an increased ability to participate in normal family and work activities.
Many patients find that they can decrease or stop taking painkillers or other pain medications after undergoing spinal cord stimulation. Your doctor usually will first insert a temporary stimulator through the skin (percutaneously) to give the treatment a trial run for a period of about 5 to 7 days. If the trial is successful, your doctor can implant a more permanent stimulator. After this same-day outpatient procedure is complete, you and your doctor will determine the best pulse strength and usage schedule for long-term use. For more information, see the spinal cord stimulation video link.