The Southeastern Spine Institute

Chronic back pain is always there, forcing you to make concessions in your lifestyle, stopping you from fully enjoying your life. When no therapeutic treatment and no surgical procedure can stop the pain you feel, then it may be time to try a spinal cord stimulator implant.

A spinal cord stimulator stops the pain signals from reaching your brain, so you never feel them. Best of all, the implant sits below the surface of your skin, where it works every day, all day. But not everyone is a suitable candidate for the implant.

Who Are the Best Candidates for a Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant?

While chronic back pain sufferers often make the best candidates, not all qualify for the implant. The device eliminates pain that’s primarily caused by nerve damage and has no other viable treatment. Examples of conditions that may benefit from a spinal cord stimulator implant include:

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Failed low back syndrome from a surgery
  • Complex regional pain syndromes after a stroke or back surgery
  • Similar painful disorders that stem from nerve damage

Only a spinal medicine expert like those at the Southeastern Spine Institute in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina can successfully diagnose and treat your persistent back pain. This spine-focused medical practice has state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to discover exactly where your pain originates. Then you and your doctor can review treatment options.

Can You Pass the Test?

Before you qualify for a spinal cord stimulator implant, you’re given a test to determine if the implant will work for you. Your doctor performs a minimally invasive procedure to place stimulating electrodes under your skin near your spinal cord next to the nerve causing your pain. The other end of the wire is connected to an electric device that you wear on a belt.

The device emits an electrical pulse that interferes with the pain signals. You wear this external device for a set trial period, such as two weeks. For you to pass the test, the device and the electrodes have to stop your chronic pain by at least 50 percent. If the device works, your spinal doctor replaces the external device with a spinal cord stimulator implant.

What’s Involved in Getting the Implant?

During the implant procedure, which may take several hours, your doctor first applies general anesthesia or sedation to put you to sleep. You don’t feel a thing during the procedure. The wires attached to the electrodes are run under your skin to your waist. A pulse generator is implanted either above your buttocks or in your abdomen, where it’s out of the way and invisible.

The implanted device sends out bursts of electrical impulses to your spinal cord, masking your chronic pain. The new devices can even be recharged remotely, through your skin. You can also adjust the pulses for optimum pain relief. A rechargeable implant lasts for 10 years.

There’s no reason to suffer from chronic back pain if you qualify for a spinal cord stimulator implant. Trust your spinal specialists at the Southeastern Spine Institute to diagnose your pain and conduct a test properly.