If you have back or neck pain that isn't responding to other treatments, don't give up hope — spinal cord stimulation could help. Wadid Zaky, MD, of Delmarva Spine & Pain in Berlin, Maryland, and Ocean View, Delaware is an expert in implanting spinal cord stimulators, which use electrical signals to disrupt the pain nerves in your spine. Before you undergo implantation, Dr. Zaky runs a trial to ensure a spinal cord stimulator is right for you. To find out whether you could benefit from a trial, call Delmarva Spine & Pain or book an appointment online today.
A spinal cord stimulator is a device that can help patients with severe chronic pain that isn't responding to other therapies. It uses electrical impulses to relieve spinal pain and pain affecting your arms and legs.
The electrical impulses a spinal cord stimulator produces disrupt the communication between the nerve endings in your back and neck and your brain. This form of treatment involves having electrodes and a small generator implanted in your body that you control with a remote device.
Spinal cord stimulator implantation requires minimally invasive surgery, so it's typically used for the most severe, treatment-resistant forms of back and neck pain. Before full implantation, you have a trial with an external generator to ensure the treatment can offer you sufficient pain relief.
A spinal cord stimulator trial involves having a minor surgical procedure to insert the electrodes in your spine. Dr. Zaky anesthetizes your back, then inserts the wire leads using an epidural needle or by making a small incision into the epidural space that surrounds your spinal cord.
The electrodes on the ends of the leads must be in the right place to affect your nerves, so Dr. Zaky needs your feedback during the procedure. For optimal placement, he asks you to tell him when you feel the most significant reduction in pain as he moves the electrodes around.
The leads connect to the external stimulator that you use for about a week to assess how well spinal cord stimulation works for you. After your trial, you and Dr. Zaky discuss the effectiveness of spinal cord stimulation on your pain.
If you felt sufficient benefit from the trial, you can proceed with full implantation.
Spinal cord stimulator implantation requires IV sedation or sometimes a general anesthetic. Dr. Zaky removes the temporary leads and inserts permanent ones, carefully ensuring they're in the same position.
The implantable pulse generator (IPG) battery fits under your skin, usually on your buttocks or abdomen. The electrical leads connect to the IPG battery, and you control the spinal cord stimulator with a wireless programmer.
The programmer enables you to change the strength of the electrical impulses, so you can use different settings depending on the severity of your pain.
If your chronic back pain doesn't respond to other treatments, a spinal cord stimulator could be the answer. Find out more by calling Delmarva Spine & Pain today or booking an appointment online.