Spinal cord stimulation may be considered when other nonoperative or surgical treatments fail to alleviate pain. SCS may be recommended to manage lower back pain, persistent extremity nerve pain, reflex sympathetic dystrophy or complex regional pain syndrome (I or II), chronic abdominal or pelvic pain, and certain types of headaches. The first step is a spinal cord stimulation trial period. Electronic leads, similar to slim catheters, are temporarily implanted through the skin similar to an epidural injection under light sedation. The lead(s) are passed into the pain-corresponding region of the spine’s epidural space.
You are awake enough to talk with the physician and let him know when a tingling sensation is felt in the appropriate area. The lead is secured by tape and left in place for 5 to 7 days while you resume normal daily activities. During your follow-up visit in our office, the leads are simply pulled out without the need for any procedure or surgery.
If your spinal cord stimulation trial period successfully managed your pain, you and the pain management physician can make a decision if implantation of the device is right for you.