Spinal Cord Stimulation With
Spinal Diagnostics & Regenerative Medicine
Spine pain can often be a mystery, but spinal cord stimulation (neuromodulation) is an advanced pain management technique used by Spinal Diagnostics & Regenerative Medicine’s pain management physicians in Colorado Springs. Conditions that can be treated with spinal cord stimulation include: diabetic neuropathy, chronic radiculopathy, failed back surgery syndrome, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, and phantom limb pain (to name a few).
The exact mechanism of how spinal cord stimulation works is largely unknown, however there are specialized cells in the spinal cord that are thought to be recruited with stimulation that can inhibit pain signals from reaching the brain. In order to stimulate the spinal cord, special leads/electrodes are placed in the epidural space and it is attached to a pulse generator (battery). Low voltage impulses are generated and transmitted into an area of the spinal cord called the dorsal column. By stimulating this region of the spinal cord, the pain signals are effectively scrambled and can’t ascend to the brain to be perceived. An analogy would be a car trying to enter the freeway in a traffic jam. You (the pain signal) can’t get on the freeway because of the continual stream of cars passing by (the stimulator signal). The simulator typically produces no noticeable sensation, but can be programmed to provide a pleasant tingling sensation.
Since spinal cord stimulation requires a permanent implant, patients must undergo a trial to be sure that this therapy is effective. During the trial, an IV is placed and the stimulator leads are advanced under live fluoroscopy to the appropriate level in the spinal cord. The leads are attached to an external battery pack and you are asked to trial the system for one week. It is firmly taped and the procedure is complete. Adjustments are made to the generator programming until proper coverage is achieved. The manufacturer representative will be in contact with you for seven days after the procedure. Regardless of your response, the leads will be pulled. If you have an excellent result, you may be a candidate for permanent implant.
The permanent implant is the same as the trial except a small pocket is made under the skin, usually over the right or left hip bone in the flank. A battery is placed, the leads are tunneled under the skin, and the system is connected and proper functioning is tested. The small incision sites are closed and the patient is discharged the same day.
This technology has proven to be one of the most effective treatments for intractable neuropathic conditions such as chronic radiculapathy, failed back surgery syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, and reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Patients with medical problems, who can’t have surgery, but have chronically pinched nerves do very well with spinal cord stimulation. It can truly change the lives of patients living with these debilitating problems, and that’s why we offer neuromodulation at Spinal Diagnostics & Regenerative Medicine. It’s a treatment our pain management physicians stand behind.
Thank you for visiting Spinal Diagnostics & Regenerative Medicine. We hope you’ve learned a bit more about spinal cord stimulation (neuromodulation), and we hope you’ll schedule a consult with our pain management physicians at our Colorado Springs location.
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