SPINAL CORD STIMULATION
What is Neuromodulation?
Medical Professionals define Neuromodulation as any technology that acts directly on a patients nerves or nervous system. While Specialists in many different fields take advantage of Neuromodulation technology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Doctors make the most use out of Neuromodulation for its chronic pain relief applications.
Examples of Neuromodulation include Spinal Cord Stimulators and Intrathecal Pumps. Spinal Cord Stimulation involves the surgical insertion of electrodes into the spinal canal. Spinal Specialists program these electrodes to project a specific electrical field that can neutralize chronic back pain caused by the nerves. Patients will first receive a trial version of the stimulator, which can be followed by a more permanent inserted device if the therapy proves successful for the patient.
Spinal Cord Stimulation
A Spinal cord stimulator consists of small, electrode-covered wires connected to a thin battery pack like the kind found in a pacemaker. Specialists may recommend spinal cord stimulators to patients who suffer from long standing chronic back pain that has not responded to more conservative measures. During the operation, the surgeon will insert the small electrodes into the epidural space between the spinal cord and the vertebrae, and attach a small generator. Before continuing, the surgeon wakes the patient up to test the stimulator in order to make sure Neuromodulation offers proper pain relief to the patient. If so, the patient goes under once more and the surgeon places the generator pack under the skin, usually near the buttocks or abdomen. Spinal cord stimulators allow patients in pain to manage their own electrical impulses using a remote control. Both the remote control and the antenna stay outside of the body. The electrodes emit a small electrical signal into the nerve endings in the spine, scrambling the pain signal from the brain and leaving only a slight warm tingling, called paresthesia. For patients who even find this uncomfortable, newer devices offer “sub-perception” stimulation that patients may find less noticeable. Spinal cord stimulation is used most often after nonsurgical pain treatment options have failed to provide sufficient relief.