If you suffer from a condition known as Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS), then Neurostimulation therapy may be recommended to help alleviate your back pain. FBSS affects approximately 40% of patients who have had previous spinal surgery, resulting in new or persistent pain subsequent to the procedure.
FBSS patients may experience:
- Back or leg pain that increases over time due to the building up of scar tissue around spinal nerve roots
- Persistent tissue pain
- Muscle spasm
- Worsening condition with repeated back surgery
Neurostimulation therapy is most often recommended when more conservative pain management therapies have failed.
What is Neurostimulation Therapy?
Also known as spinal cord stimulation, neurostimulation therapy involves an implantable device that interrupts pain signals before they reach the brain, replacing them with a more pleasant, soothing sensation (known as paresthesia) where pain is experienced. The treatment delivers safe, low-voltage electrical pulses to the dorsal column or peripheral nerves of the patient.
The Spinal Cord Stimulator consists of:
- Stimulating electrodes
- An electrical pulse generator that conducts wires or leads from the electrodes to the generator
- A remote control that enables the patient to modify how the stimulation feels.
Prior to permanent implantation, a temporary or “trial stimulator” will be tested to determine the appropriate level in the spine to implant the electrodes, and whether it will be helpful in controlling your pain. This is done on an outpatient basis in one to two hours, with light sedation.
The trial period will typically last between five to seven days, during which one or more leads with small electrical contacts are placed near the nerves, (such as the spine or the peripheral nerves beyond the spine along the lower back,) and an external generator, (worn on a belt around the patient’s waist,) acts as a programmer that allows the patient to control the feel of the stimulation.
If the device successfully reduces pain, the neurostimulator will be permanently implanted, but can be removed at any time, usually on an outpatient basis, with no harm to the patient.
During this procedure:
- Permanent leads will be positioned in the epidural space at the level that provides maximum pain relief for the patient.
- The physician makes a small incision to implant the electrical pulse generator below the skin, usually in the abdomen or lower back area.
- The leads are then tunneled under the skin to the generator, which will be programmed by an external control unit, which will adjust the amount or intensity of the stimulation.
Clinical trials have shown spinal cord stimulation to have remarkable results, and at a lower cost than repeat back surgery for the treatment of FBSS. Although a Spinal Cord Stimulator will not cure the condition causing the pain, it has helped thousands of people significantly reduce their pain and return to their normal activities.
For more information about neurostimulation therapy, (aka Spinal Cord Stimulation,) visit YourPainReliefCenters.com or call Pain Relief Centers at 1-800-215-0029 to set up a consultation at one of our clinic locations.
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