Treatments We Provide

Spinal Cord Stimulator

A spinal cord stimulator is an implantable device. It sends low levels of electricity directly into the spinal cord to alleviate pain. Spinal cord stimulation is frequently used when non-surgical pain treatment methods have failed to offer enough relief. Two procedures are required to test and implant a spinal cord stimulator: the trial and the implantation. It can improve the quality of life. It also decreases the need for pain medications. It is usually used in conjunction with other pain management treatments.

physiotherapist pointing at back bones on human skeleton

What is a Spinal Cord Stimulator

A spinal cord stimulator is a device that stimulates the spinal cord, through implanted thin wires (electrodes) and a compact battery pack (generator), allowing the patient to generate electrical impulses via remote control, to control their pain. The electrodes are implanted between the spinal cord and vertebrae and the generator provides a tingling sensation to replace the pain. Spinal cord stimulation has been used for decades and is recommended for several conditions.

There are different types of spinal cord stimulators, including:

  • Traditional Implantable Pulse Generator: battery needs to be replaced surgically when it runs out.
  • Rechargeable Implantable Pulse Generator: battery is rechargeable, electrical signal can travel deeper
  • Radiofrequency Stimulator: Powered by external battery (rarely used today)

Why is Spinal Cord Stimulation performed?

There are various conditions that can be treated by spinal cord stimulation, such as:

  • Nerve root compression
  • Scoliosis
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Sciatica
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Peripheral neuropathy, Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Central sensitization
  • To reduce pain levels and the amount of pain medication taken
  • Failed back syndrome

How is a Spinal Cord Stimulator Performed?

After undergoing preliminary testing, you will be scheduled for the spinal cord stimulator trial. This may be performed in the office or in the hospital under local anesthesia. Using fluoroscopic guidance, the trial leads (electrodes) will be implanted using a needle. The generator (battery pack) will be worn externally during this trial period of five to seven days. If the trial is successful, and your pain is relieved, you will have the trial leads removed and the permanent implant surgery will be scheduled.

The permanent implant surgery will take place in the hospital, where new, permanent leads will be inserted and the generator will be implanted through a different incision. This generator is approximately the size of a matchbook. After the surgery, you will be given a handheld remote, allowing you to adjust the amount of stimulation you are receiving to help control the pain you may be experiencing.

What should I expect after my Spinal Cord Stimulator implant?

You will need to take the day off to recover and rest. Keep the surgical site clean and dry until you are cleared by your doctor to shower. You may take pain medications and use ice.
There is a risk for possible side effects, such as bruising, scar tissue formation, electrode malfunction, device failure, infection, damage to the device, detachment of the device, bleeding.

Improving Patients’ Quality of Life Through Personalized Care

If you’re struggling with neck, back, or hip pain or any other spine related issues, schedule an appointment with us today to get back to living your life the way you’d like to.

Common Conditions We Treat