August 7, 2020
If you suffer from FBSS (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome), Neurostimulation therapy may be recommended to help reduce your back pain. FBSS affects approximately 40% of patients who have had previous spinal surgery that resulted in new or persistent pain after the procedure.
Here are some of the symptoms that people suffering with FBSS may experience:
- Back or leg pain that increases over time (due to the building up of scar tissue around spinal nerve roots)
- Persistent tissue pain
- Muscle spasm
- Worsening condition with repeated back surgery
Neurostimulation therapy is most often recommended when more conservative pain management therapies have failed.
What is Neurostimulation Therapy?
Also known as spinal cord stimulation (SCS), neurostimulation therapy is a minimally invasive procedure that utilizes an implantable device to “intercept” pain signals before they reach the brain, replacing those signals with a more pleasant, soothing sensation (aka paresthesia) where the pain is experienced.
The treatment delivers safe, low-voltage electrical pulses to the dorsal column or peripheral nerves of the patient.
The Spinal Cord Stimulator consists of:
- Stimulating electrodes
- An electrical pulse generator that conducts wires, or leads, from the electrodes to the generator
- A remote control that allows the patient to modify how the stimulation feels.
How It Works
Before permanently implanting the device, a temporary or “trial stimulator” is tested to determine the appropriate level in the spine to implant the electrodes, and whether it will be helpful in controlling your pain. This is done on an outpatient basis in 1 to 2 hours, with light sedation.
The trial period typically lasts between 5 to 7 days, during which one or more leads with small electrical contacts are positioned near the nerves, (such as the spine or the peripheral nerves beyond the spine along the lower back,) and an external generator (worn on a belt around the patient’s waist) acts as a programmer that allows the patient to control the feel of the stimulation.
If the trial device is successful in reducing the patient’s pain, the neurostimulator will then be permanently implanted. (The permanent device may be removed at any time, usually on an outpatient basis, with no harm to the patient.)
What to expect during the SCS procedure:
- Permanent leads are positioned in the epidural space at the level that provides maximum pain relief for the patient.
- The physician makes a small incision to implant the electrical pulse generator below the skin, usually in the abdomen or lower back area.
- The leads are tunneled under the skin to the generator, (programmed by an external control unit,) which will adjust the amount or intensity of the stimulation.
Clinical trials have shown spinal cord stimulation to have remarkable results, and at a lower cost than repeat back surgery for the treatment of FBSS. Although a Spinal Cord Stimulator will not cure the condition causing the pain, it has helped thousands of people significantly reduce their back pain so they could return to their normal everyday activities.
Do you suffer from back pain?
At Riverside Pain Physicians, we are committed to helping our patients live a more pain-free quality of life. Our highly skilled physicians are dedicated to relieving your suffering and ensuring your comfort with compassionate, individualized care and state-of-the-art technologies for pain relief.
If you live with chronic back pain, let us help to alleviate your suffering — reach out to us at Riverside Pain Physicians today at 800.215.0029, or click here to make an appointment online.
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