Spinal cord stimulation is a neuromodulation technique that is used to treat neuropathic and sympathetically mediated chronic pain. It involves implanting electrodes in the epidural space, with power supplied by an implanted battery1. The electrodes send low levels of electricity directly into the spinal cord to relieve pain1. This technique is used most often after nonsurgical pain treatment options have failed to provide sufficient relief1. It can improve overall quality of life and sleep, and reduce the need for pain medicines1. The procedure requires two procedures to test and implant the device: the trial and the implantation1. Spinal cord stimulators may be used to treat or manage different types of chronic pain, including back pain, post-surgical pain, arachnoiditis, heart pain, injuries to the spinal cord, nerve-related pain, peripheral vascular disease, complex regional pain syndrome, pain after an amputation, visceral abdominal pain, and perineal pain2.
Spinal cord stimulation has been around since 1967 when Dr. Shealy first described it1. Since then, medicine has sought to improve SCS results through innovative technology. While traditional SCS (TSCS) relies on creating a paresthesia or tingling sensation at the area of pain, recent advancements have allowed patients to live paresthesia-free and potentially experience improved pain control3. One iteration of this new wave of technology is high frequency SCS (HFSCS), which has been approved for use in Australia and Europe since 2011 and the United States since 20154. It involves the use of a low energy impulse that the body cannot sense. Therefore, the pain signals are blocked and the patient doesn’t experience the tingling sensation commonly associated with TSCS4. This is important because most patients prefer a SCS system that avoids paresthesia creation4.
If you are considering Spinal Cord Stimulation as a treatment option, please contact us at 248-594-7900 to set up a consultation with Dr. Nadjarian. Dr. Nadjarian will take the time to discuss your treatment options.