Neurostimulation can relieve chronic pain in the back, arms or legs. It electrically stimulates the nerves. Instead of pain, the patient feels a tingling or buzzing sensation. Substitution of one sensation for another is something that we do almost instinctively. For example, if we strike our hand on something, we rub it almost immediately, substituting the rubbing sensation for the pain sensation.
There are several different types of neurostimulation:
- Traditional Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS)
- High-frequency stimulation
- Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) stimulation
The spinal cord stimulation system consists of several component parts:
A battery-powered device called a pulse generator is implanted in the back or abdomen. It generates low-voltage electrical stimulation through an insulated wire lead. The pulse generator has to be replaced since there is a battery incorporated within it needs replacement.
A lead is implanted in the epidural space (the next to the sac that surrounds the spinal cord) near the nerves that correspond to the patient’s areas of pain.
An extension wire connects the electrode to the pulse generator.
An external programmer allows patients to fine-tune therapy within physician prescribed parameters to address changing pain relief needs.
Spinal Cord Stimulation has been offered for patients with a variety of pain condions who have not responded to more conservative therapies. Some of those conditions are noted below
- Chronic Lumbar Radiculopathy
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)/Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy(RSD)
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Peripheral Vascular Disease
- Nerve Damage
- Spinal Cord Damage
- Phantom Limb Pain
- Post-Laminectomy Pain/Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
- Post-Thoracotmy Pain
Neurostimulation involves a two-part process.
- Implantation of temporary spinal cord stimulator leads with trial period of several days.
- Permanent implantation of a spinal cord stimulator generator and permanent electrodes connected by an extension wire at a later date.
Additional information/sources regarding Neurostimulation: