Relief for Intractable Pain
Intractable pain is a chronic pain that does not go away or subside with medical treatment. Spinal cord stimulation has been in use for over 20 years and the technology has substantially evolved over time. In the past, when a stimulator was placed, the patient would feel tingling in the affected part. The new generation of spinal cord stimulators are high-frequency devices that work to eliminate the pain without the numbness or “pins and needles” sensations early patients felt.
Who Can Benefit from Spinal Cord Stimulation?
This procedure is predominantly for people with intractable arm or leg pain. It does provide some benefit into the back or neck. At NJ Pain Care Specialists, we recommended it most frequently for patients who have undergone neck or back surgery and still have constant pain in their arms or legs. It can also be helpful for patients who have complex regional pain syndrome, crush injuries and phantom pain. It can also be used for patients with spinal stenosis who are not candidates for, or do not want, surgery.
How is the Procedure Performed?
Spinal cord stimulation is different from most other pain management procedures in that the patient gets a trial period to test out the device before deciding on final implantation:
- To prepare for spinal cord stimulation, patients are given reading material and an informational video
- After studying the material, patients who choose to proceed with the procedure undergo a mandatory neuropsychological evaluation to confirm they are appropriate candidates for spinal cord stimulation
- The trial period begins with a 20-30-minute procedure in a surgical center or hospital, where the patient spends one day
- After the patient is sedated, electrodes or wires are carefully guided into the epidural space using a fluoroscope
- The wires are left in place for several days while the patient evaluates the effectiveness of the device
- The desired goal is for the patient to experience at least a 50% reduction in pain while using the device
- Satisfied patients are sent to a spine surgeon for permanent implantation. The electrodes and battery, which supply power to the electrodes, are implanted in a day-stay procedure.
Please feel free to contact us at New Jersey Pain Care Specialists to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about your own situation. Dr. Bram and staff will give you the time and attention to properly understand and accurately diagnose your condition, and to recommend the most advanced, non-invasive, effective and efficient treatment to eliminate or relieve your pain.