Spinal Cord Stimulation

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a neuromodulation procedure that manages pain signals through the insertion of a small device into the spine. It aims to interrupt pain signals caused by chronic pain conditions, such as failed back surgery syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), and peripheral neuropathy.

This procedure involves the placement of thin wires, known as leads, near your spinal cord, which are connected to a small generator device implanted under your skin. By doing so, electrical pulses can be delivered into the spinal cord, interrupting the pain signals sent to the brain.

Compared to other pain management procedures, SCS does not alter the anatomy of the spine and is entirely reversible. Besides, its non-invasive approach reduces the potential side effects and the need for opioid medication.

If you’d like to learn more about spinal cord stimulation and all the other neuromodulation procedures available at Spinal Diagnostics, don’t hesitate to contact us

Conditions that Benefit from Spinal Cord Stimulation

Spinal cord stimulation significantly helps manage multiple chronic pain conditions, including:

  • Failed back surgery syndrome: Some of the causes that could lead to its development include nerve damage during the surgery, post-procedure infections, or pre-existing conditions. 
  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS): It is a chronic condition usually caused by an injury followed by abnormal and prolonged pain that may also include other signs like swelling, mobility limitations, sweating, and skin color or temperature changes.
  • Peripheral neuropathy: Peripheral neuropathy affects the peripheral nerves located in the brain and spinal cord. These are in charge of transmitting signals from the nervous system to the body, allowing your limbs to have proper movement and balance.

Advantages of Spinal Cord Stimulation

These are some of the benefits spinal cord stimulation poses over traditional surgical procedures:

  • Non-destructive: Unlike surgical procedures that permanently alter the anatomy, SCS is reversible and adjustable. 
  • Drug-free approach: SCS offers a drug-free alternative to manage chronic pain. This helps reduce potential side effects or risks. 
  • Customizable: Depending on your specific case and your needs, the electrical pulses' intensity and location can be adjusted.
  • Minimally invasive: The implantation of SCS devices disrupts the nerves and your spinal anatomy only minimally, leading to a faster recovery from the procedure.

Ideal Candidates for Spinal Cord Stimulation

To start a spinal cord stimulation procedure, you must undergo a trial process to determine whether this is the best treatment for your chronic pain case. Your doctor will recommend a trial if:

  • You have suffered from debilitating pain for more than three months
  • You have tried conservative treatments without successful results
  • You are looking for an alternative to surgical procedures
  • You don’t have a medical condition that could interfere with the implantation of the spinal cord stimulation device

If you are interested in knowing more about the trial process and if the procedure is  suitable for you, contact us or schedule an appointment online.

The Trial Period

The trial period helps to determine if your pain is relieved with spinal cord stimulation. During your trial, your doctor places the wires along your spine, but you’ll wear the generator around your waist.

After a week of using the spinal cord stimulator, you’ll know if it provides enough relief to implant the generator. If it doesn’t help, your doctor at Spinal Diagnostics can easily remove the wires and assess you to find the best treatment plan for your case. 

Spinal Cord Stimulation Procedure

Before the Procedure

Before your spinal cord stimulation procedure, you must provide your doctor with relevant information regarding your medical history, including any medications you may be taking, allergies, or medical conditions. This helps to ensure safety and optimal recovery during the treatment process.

The trial will be performed after assessing your information and symptoms.

During the Procedure

The spinal cord stimulation procedure follows these steps:

  • Anesthesia: Your doctor will apply local anesthesia to numb the area where the incision will be made and the leads placed. 
  • Digital guidance: By using X-rays, your doctor will ensure the leads are carefully inserted through the made incision. 
  • Generator implantation: Once the leads are in place, a small generator device will be implanted under your skin, usually in the buttock or abdomen area. This generator powers the electrical pulses delivered to the spinal cord.
  • Incision closure: After correctly placing the leads and generator, the incision will be closed with sutures or medical adhesive.  

Procedure Recovery and Follow-Up

The SCS device implantation is usually performed in under an hour. It is performed as an outpatient procedure, so you can return home on the same day. Your doctor will provide post-operative instructions on cleaning and caring for the incision site and managing any mild discomfort that may appear over the following days.

It is recommended you avoid extenuating activities during recovery since this could alter the functioning of your SCS. Besides, regular follow-up appointments will be scheduled to monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments.

Risks and Potential Side Effects of Spinal Cord Stimulation

The side effects that may arise due to spinal cord stimulation are usually temporary and do not need medical attention. This may include mild soreness, bruising, or a temporary increase in pain.

It is also possible that stimulation-related effects appear, such as a buzzing sensation or muscle twitches. These can be easily managed by adjusting the device with the help of your doctor.

Although rare, some potential risks and side effects associated with facet joint injections can include the following:

  • Injection site infection: Some of the most common signs of this side effect include redness, swelling, or constant drainage.
  • Nerve damage: Some symptoms of this complication include numbness, tingling, and weakness in the legs or spine.
  • Allergic reactions: Difficulty breathing and swelling may indicate an allergic reaction.

ReActiv8 Neurostimulation System

ReActiv8 is a restorative neurostimulation system implanted in your lower back to address chronic low back pain. This small electronic device stimulates the nerves of the multifidus muscle, which is responsible for stabilizing the lumbar spine.

The treatment focuses on activating muscle function by inducing the contraction and relaxation of the multifidus muscle in your lower back. Through this activation, ReActiv8 therapy can disrupt the cycle of chronic pain, degeneration, and loss of function in your lower back.

ReActiv8 provides effective relief from mechanical chronic low back pain stemming from multifidus muscle dysfunction. Multifidus muscle dysfunction can occur due to a loss of neuromuscular control and contribute to chronic low back pain.

ReActiv8 targets the underlying cause of your pain and utilizes the body’s restorative mechanisms to restore neuromuscular control between the brain and spine.

Sacral Nerve Stimulation

Sacral Nerve Stimulation (SNS) or Sacral Neuromodulation (SNM) involves the electrical stimulation of the sacral nerves in your lower back region. 

During this procedure, a small device similar to a pacemaker is implanted surgically in the lower back area to stimulate the nerves. The sacral nerves, which originate from the lower spine, are crucial for controlling bladder, bowel, and pelvic floor muscles.

Approved by the US FDA in 1997, sacral nerve stimulation is used to treat conditions like urinary incontinence, urinary retention, and bowel incontinence. The implanted device sends gentle electrical signals to help regulate your bladder and bowel function.

Before undergoing sacral nerve stimulation, you will undergo a trial period where a temporary electrode is placed externally near the sacral nerves to assess its effectiveness. If successful, a permanent implantation of the device is considered.

Peripheral Nerve Stimulation

Peripheral Nerve Stimulation (PNS) is a commonly used procedure to manage chronic pain by targeting your peripheral nerves. Located outside of your brain and spinal cord, peripheral nerves relay information between your brain and the rest of your body. 

During the procedure, a small electric device, similar to a wire-like electrode, is implanted under the skin near the pain-causing nerve. This device delivers mild electrical impulses to the peripheral nerve, interrupting or masking the pain signals traveling to the brain. Before the permanent implantation, a trial is conducted to assess the treatment's effectiveness in alleviating pain.

Peripheral nerve stimulation can be used to treat various types of chronic pain conditions, such as neuropathic pain, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), and peripheral neuropathy.

Spinal Cord Stimulation in Tualatin and Newberg in Oregon

The team at Spinal Diagnostics is a recognized leader in clinical research and offers you updated diagnostic processes and treatment options. 

We have dedicated our practice to improving our patient’s quality of life without using opiate medications or traditional spine surgery. Over ten years of experience makes us the top choice for those with back and neck pain

If you want to learn more about Spinal Cord Stimulation or other neuromodulation procedures, call us, schedule an appointment online, or visit our locations in Tualatin and Newberg, Oregon. 

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