Is Spinal Cord Stimulation a Viable Treatment for Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain, characterized as pain lasting longer than 12 weeks, is persistent and unpredictable. Millions of people suffer from chronic pain each year, with no end to their discomfort in sight. Chronic back pain, in particular, can be debilitating. Patients may find it difficult to perform everyday activities during intense flare-up periods and may experience severe discomfort during moderate and steady bouts of pain.
For many patients, chronic pain is linked to a chronic disorder but is not able to be cured. In these cases, the pain must be managed through treatment, often through physical therapy or medications. However, taking medication to treat chronic pain can be dangerous. Many anti-inflammatory drugs have consequences when being used long-term, and other prescription pain medications run the risk of addiction.
At Advanced Spine and Posture, we recommend chronic pain patients in Las Vegas, NV seek alternative forms of treatment such as chiropractic care. Additionally, another treatment method available to patients suffering from chronic back and neck pain may be spinal cord stimulation therapy. This therapy may help block pain signals to the brain to achieve a more comfortable lifestyle.
What is spinal cord stimulation?
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS), also known as neurostimulation, utilizes an implant and electrodes to deliver mild electrical pulses to the nerves around the spinal column. These pulses are designed to stimulate the nerves and block or lessen pain signals that are being sent to the brain.
The major benefit to SCS is that it may provide targeted pain relief, making it easier to pinpoint and treat the location of chronic back and neck pain. Patients using SCS may experience a moderate to significant reduction in their pain and may also have improved mobility, allowing them to return to their daily tasks.
SCS may be a good option for people who would otherwise need invasive surgery to correct their spinal condition, or for people who have run out of options when it comes to treating chronic back pain. The treatment has been moderately effective in nearly 60 percent of patients.
There have been many new SCS implant innovations released in recent years that have made the procedure ideal for treating a wider range of conditions. New SCS implant options also use higher-frequency stimulation signals that may provide greater relief than existing low-frequency stimulation.
How the treatment process works
Patients with chronic pain who are interested in SCS usually go through a screening process with their doctor to ensure they are eligible for treatment. Patients with chronic back or neck pain typically fit the criteria necessary to be given the implant.
Once the patient opts in, they will typically go through an SCS trial period that does not utilize an implant immediately. Instead, external electrodes and thin wires help deliver electrical stimulation to the spine for a short period to see if the treatment has any noticeable difference on the pain.
If treatment is effective for the patient, they can elect to receive the implant. Implantation for the permanent device requires more invasive surgery. During this procedure, electrodes and lead wires are implanted in the painful areas of the spine and connected to a generator device.
The implant uses a hand-held controller to begin or stop providing electrical pulses as needed. Many devices offer numerous pain adjustment options to suit the individual’s needs at different times.
Patients with SCS implants may see a reduction in their chronic pain after the procedure. However, using additional therapies may provide even greater relief. Patients may still want to work with a chiropractor to receive spinal manipulations, soft tissue massages, exercises, and stretches to potentially manage existing pain not treated by SCS.
If you suffer from chronic pain, contact Advanced Spine and Posture in Las Vegas, NV to learn more about our chiropractic services. Our team of spinal experts utilize an advanced Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach to potentially help patients experience symptom relief in a gentle and holistic way.
Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.