Is Spinal Cord Stimulation Right For Your Back Pain?

Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: June 5, 2018

Spinal Cord Stimulation

Spinal cord stimulation is a technique used to treat and resolve chronic spine pain. It involves the surgical implantation of a tiny device that sends electrical impulses to nerves along the spinal column. These sensations modify, disrupt or block out pain signals that are trying to travel to the brain, putting a stop to certain chronic pain sensations. But who is the ideal candidate for a spinal cord stimulation device, and should you ask your doctor about it for your back pain? We explain below.

Who Can Benefit From A Spinal Cord Stimulator?

Determining if a patient is an ideal candidate for a spinal cord stimulator is a two-step screening process. First, the doctor will take a look at the patient’s medical history to determine if they believe the pain sensations could be calmed with electrical stimulation, and the second step involves a consultation with a doctor to undergo an in-person assessment and talk about the device.

Spinal cord stimulation does not help to address all forms on spine pain, but in general, individuals with the following conditions may be ideal candidates to begin the screening process:

  • Failed Spine Surgery
  • Arachnoiditis
  • Chronic Back Pain
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Refractory Angina

This is far from a comprehensive list, but these are some of the more common conditions that may be addressed with a spinal cord stimulator if conservative care doesn’t resolve pain.

What Conditions Aren’t Treated By Spinal Cord Stimulation?

On the flip side, there are a number of spine pain conditions that are best treated with other options and won’t respond well to spinal cord stimulation. For example, individuals with spinal infections, individuals with a cardiac pacemaker, people with bleeding disorders and individuals with depression or other mental health issues that could be contributing to their spinal condition are not advised to pursue spinal cord stimulation.

Also, although it is not a dealbreaker, research has shown that individuals who use tobacco are less likely to achieve the best results with spinal cord stimulation. Smokers or other tobacco users are encouraged to give up the habit before beginning therapy. This also applies to any recreational drugs the patient may be using at the time.

Spinal Surgeon in Minneapolis

So if you are dealing with a spine condition that is causing problems with spinal nerve impulses and conservative care has failed to provide a solution, consider asking your doctor if spinal cord stimulation may be right for you. For more information about the device, or to set up a consultation with Dr. Sinicropi, reach out to his clinic today.

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