Are you one of the millions of Americans who suffer from chronic back pain or other back problems? Up to 80% of Americans will have back pain at one time or another.
Whether you’re living with postsurgical pain or complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), spinal cord stimulation may be a good option for you when other pain management regimens fall short.
Dr. Hui Kang and the rest of our team at Houston Pain Specialists are experienced and equipped to help you say goodbye to chronic back pain.
How does spinal cord stimulation work?
Thin wires, called electrodes, are implanted in the epidural space of your spine and are controlled by a generator, which is implanted under your skin near your abdomen or buttocks.
When you feel pain, you use a remote control to send electrical impulses via the generator and electrodes, disrupting the discomfort.
There are two ways that spinal cord stimulators disrupt the pain you’re feeling: the traditional way, called paresthesia, which sends a light tingling sensation to replace the pain, and sub-perception, which is offered by newer spinal cord stimulators.
You can’t feel the latter stimulation, so both patients and doctors often prefer it over the traditional method.
Which conditions can be treated?
There are quite a few conditions that we can be treat with spinal cord stimulation, including:
- Postsurgical pain
- Visceral abdominal and perineal pain
- Nerve-related pain
- Chronic sciatica
- Post-amputation pain
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Angina that has been unsuccessfully treated by other means
What is the process like?
Dr. Kang and his team handle the spinal cord stimulation process in two phases:
In the trial phase, a temporary electrode is placed in the epidural space of your spinal cord, close to the area that’s causing the pain. The generator, which you wear on a belt, sends electrical impulses to that electrode.
The trial phase lasts approximately seven days, and its purpose is to ensure that the spinal cord stimulation is effective in eliminating your pain.
If the trial phase is effective, you get a permanent spinal cord stimulator during surgery under general anesthesia. The electrode is placed in your spine via a small incision in your back and attaches it to the generator, which is implanted under your skin toward your buttocks.
What to expect after surgery
After your procedure, you may feel some tenderness and discomfort around the incision site, but you should experience immediate relief of your previous chronic pain. Once anesthesia has worn off, our staff goes over your recovery plan with you.
You are likely able to go home that same day. Typical healing time for your incision is two to four weeks, and we recommend lighter activity so you don’t pull or stretch your incision.
Follow Dr. Kang’s recommendations to reduce the risk of infection, bleeding, device damage, or device migration.
Living with chronic back pain can be a thing of the past. If you’re ready to take the next steps toward a pain-free life, call us at Houston Pain Specialists today.