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Spinal Cord Stimulator

Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group

Neurological Surgery located in Birmingham, AL

If you suffer from chronic pain and medication, physical therapy, and other treatments haven’t successfully improved your condition, a spinal cord stimulator (SCS) may be the solution you need. The skilled team at Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group can evaluate you for spinal cord stimulation and safely implant your device. To end your struggles with ongoing pain, call the office in Birmingham, Alabama, today.

Spinal Cord Stimulator Q & A

What is a spinal cord stimulator?

A spinal cord stimulator, or SCS, is a device that uses low-intensity electric pulses to block pain signals in the nerves of the spinal cord. It’s most commonly used to address pain when nonsurgical treatments haven’t been successful. 

Which conditions can benefit from SCS?

Spinal cord stimulation can help manage chronic pain conditions, including:

  • Back pain
  • Post-surgical pain
  • Arthritis
  • Nerve impingement
  • Muscle injury
  • Joint injury
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Complex regional pain syndrome

SCS can also address chronic pain that hasn’t resolved after targeted surgery. And it can improve your sleep, reduce stress levels, and enhance your overall quality of life. 

How does spinal cord stimulation work?

An SCS device uses thin wires called electrodes and a small battery pack, similar to a pacemaker, to deliver mild electrical currents to the epidural space between the spinal cord and the vertebrae. The electrical pulses interrupt pain signals as they travel to your brain. 

What is the process of getting an SCS?

To determine if you’re a good candidate for an SCS, your experienced physician at Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group performs a physical exam, reviews your medical history, and discusses all of your pain symptoms with you in detail. They may also ask that you undergo a mental health evaluation to make sure you don’t have a psychiatric condition that could interfere with your SCS treatment.

If your doctor determines that SCS treatment is right for you, they begin with a one-week trial. Your doctor performs a simple procedure in which they insert the electrodes into your spinal column through the skin of your lower back; you then wear the battery pack externally, clipped to a belt or clothing. Whenever you feel pain, you use a remote control to activate the SCS and adjust the intensity of the electric current.

If the SCS doesn’t help to relieve your pain, your doctor can easily remove the electrodes. If you experience pain relief from the treatment, your doctor performs an outpatient surgical procedure to permanently implant the electrodes in the epidural space and the battery-pack underneath the skin of your waist. Some devices require you to charge the battery periodically; other devices have batteries that last several years before they need replacing.

If you’ve tried conservative treatments for chronic pain without success, schedule an SCS consultation at Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group. Call to book today.