Studies show that spinal cord stimulation brings good to excellent pain relief that lasts in 50-80% of chronic pain sufferers.
While those results are promising, getting an implanted device before knowing whether the device will work well for you isn’t an ideal scenario. That’s why we provide a spinal cord stimulation trial first.
Our expert team at Houston Pain Specialists, led by board-certified pain management specialist Hui Kang, MD, offers spinal cord stimulation to pave the way for lasting, medication-free pain relief and to help you avoid more invasive surgery.
Here’s a closer look at spinal cord stimulation, including what to expect from your trial.
How spinal cord stimulation works
Spinal cord stimulation uses mild electrical impulses to block pain signals brought on by nerve damage. The generator, which we implant beneath your skin, sends these currents to your spine through a wire electrode.
Conditions we treat with spinal cord stimulators include:
- Chronic sciatica
- Failed back surgery syndrome
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
- Other nerve-related pain conditions
While the general goal of spinal cord stimulation is to reduce your pain by 50-70%, smaller reductions may bring significant benefits, too. If you were to end up with 25% less pain, for example, you may find that exercise, daily chores, and restful sleep come easier.
What to expect from your spinal cord stimulation trial
If you seem like a good candidate for spinal cord stimulation, our team at Houston Pain Specialists takes you through a trial phase.
During this stage, we use an X-ray known as fluoroscopy to place a temporary electrode near the problematic nerves in the epidural space of your spine. We then attach the wire to a small generator, which you wear on a belt.
Spinal cord stimulation trials typically last for about a week. During that time, you track your symptoms and discuss them with us. We may also adjust the programming of your temporary device if needed until you experience more relief.
If by the trial’s end, your pain has sufficiently eased and you’re pleased with the results, you can schedule surgery for permanent placement of the device under your skin. While you may have some tenderness after the procedure, you’ll likely experience immediate nerve pain relief.
If you don’t have satisfactory results during your trial, we will talk to you about other pain management options.
To learn more about spinal cord stimulation or find out if you’re a good candidate for a trial, contact our Houston, Texas, office today to schedule an appointment.