Twin Cities Pain Management
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Spinal Cord Stimulators

The Pain Pathway

Pain messages travel over nerve pathways to the spine. The spine carries the messages to the brain. Constant pain messages can cause long-term pain that is hard to treat. This is known as chronic pain.

Spinal Cord Stimulation May Help

Spinal cord stimulation is one treatment for chronic pain. A small electric power source sends signals to your spinal cord. These signals prevent chronic pain messages from being sent to your brain. Instead, you may feel tingling from the electrical signals.

The Stimulator System

The stimulator has several parts. A power source makes the signals. The power source may be worn inside the body or implanted under the skin of your abdomen or buttocks. One or more leads (flexible, plastic-covered wires) are placed inside the body to carry the signals to your spinal cord. Your doctor can explain the system you’ll be using in more detail.

Stimulator Placement Procedures

Stimulator placement is done in two stages. A trial (test) stage is done to see how well spinal cord stimulation works for you. If the trial stage is a success, the permanent stimulator system is put into place.

Placing the Trial Lead

The trial lead is placed under the skin of your back through a small incision. One end of the lead is placed near the spinal cord. The other end is attached to the stimulator power source. The stimulator is then adjusted to the right level. For the trial stage, you wear the power source outside your body.

The Trial Stage

You will be instructed to keep a second pain log during the trial stage. This log can be compared with your first pain log to show well the stimulator system is working for you.

Placing the Permanent System

If the trial stimulator works well for you, a permanent system will be put into place at a surgery center or hospital.