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What Is Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Spinal cord stimulation uses groundbreaking technology that works by introducing an electrical current into the epidural space near the source of chronic pain impulses. Under a local anesthetic and minimal sedation, a doctor will first place the trial spinal cord stimulation lead into the epidural space. The spinal cord stimulation lead, a soft, thin wire with electrical leads on its tip, is inserted into the epidural space  through a needle in the patient’s back. The trial stimulator is typically worn for five to seven days as the lead is taped to the back and connected to a stimulating device. If the trial successfully relieves the pain, patients have the option to use the device on a permanent basis.

How does a spinal cord stimulator relieve my pain?

The implanted device near the area of pain produces a low-voltage current and creates a sensation that blocks the brain’s ability to sense the previously perceived pain. It interferes with the brain’s ability to sense the previously perceived pain, even replacing those sensations with pleasant ones. The intensity of the stimulator can be changed, and the system can be turned on and off as necessary to provide optimal pain relief as experienced by the patient.

What is the anticipated recovery from the procedure?

Recovery from the procedure is short. You may have minor discomfort at the procedure site, which usually resolves within 24 hours. While the procedure site is healing, it is important to keep it dry and clean to prevent infection. If there is any drainage or redness at the site, you may have developed an infection and should be see by your physician.