When chronic pain is at its worst, normalcy can seem unattainable. Pain that rarely ceases can interrupt lives, kickstart depression, and prove a barrier in the way of living a normal life. Although medication and non-medication treatments are available, they are sometimes not enough. For those who suffer the most from chronic pain, long-term relief can be achieved through surgical procedures.
One such procedure is spinal cord stimulation. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is defined as;
...a pain relief technique that delivers a low-voltage electrical current continuously to the spinal cord to block the sensation of pain. SCS is the most commonly used implantable neurostimulation technology for management of pain syndromes. As many as 50,000 neurostimulators are implanted worldwide every year. SCS is a widely accepted FDA-approved medical treatment for chronic pain of the trunk and limbs (back, legs and arms).
This technique is FDA approved as an effective method of pain control for the treatment of chronic pain of the arms, legs and trunk. Patients participate in a trial run of the system to ensure that the system is a good lifestyle choice for them. Trial runs for around five days, and is intended to help the patient make an informed decision in their treatment.
When compared with conventional medical management, SCS improved pain relief, quality of life, functional capacity, and patient satisfaction. In a 2007 study, results showed that at 6 months 48% of SCS patients had had most of their pain reduced or removed compared to only 9% of the conventional patients.
Although this technique does not eliminate chronic pain entirely or treat the direct source of pain, it is a common and reliable way to lessen pain that would otherwise negatively impact a patient’s daily life. If a patient’s pain is too overwhelming to go about normal routine, SCS is a viable long-term solution.
Before beginning any significant change to your health plan, be sure to speak with a licensed physician to find a treatment plan right for you. For more information about pain treatment and pain doctors in the Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Olympia and Edmonds area, contact the Washington Center for Pain Management.