Spinal cord stimulators are one of today’s most progressive pain management treatments, and not just because they alleviate pain better than most medical therapies. At Spectrum Pain Clinics, Jeffrey Hall, MD, specializes in spinal cord stimulators because he can help patients get relief from pain that originates from virtually anywhere in their body. To learn how a spinal cord stimulator can help you enjoy life again, call the office in Jackson or Cordova, Tennessee, or book an appointment online.
A spinal cord stimulator is a medical device that uses mild electrical pulses to reduce your pain. This treatment, called spinal cord stimulation or neurostimulation, targets the nerves carrying pain signals to your brain.
As the electrical stimulation reaches the nerves, it alters the transmitted nerve signals. That masks the signal or blocks it from reaching your brain. When your brain doesn’t get the pain message, you get relief from the pain even though the underlying cause is still there.
At Spectrum Pain Clinics, Dr. Hall can target any nerve in your spinal cord. He also offers a type of neurostimulation called dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation. Ganglia are clusters of nerves that lie outside the spinal cord at each vertebra.
Multiple sensory nerves from specific areas of your body meet at the ganglia before going into the spinal cord. Then they travel as individual nerves to your brain.
Targeting a dorsal root ganglia blocks all the pain signals from all the nerves in that group. That gives you pain relief for a broad area of your body. For example, DRG stimulation works well for pain in your feet, hands, groin, chest, and abdomen.
You have sensory nerves throughout your body that pick up pain messages and send them through your spinal cord to your brain. Since a spinal cord stimulator blocks nerve signals at your spine, it can relieve pain anywhere in your body.
Dr. Hall may recommend spinal cord stimulation for pain many possible conditions cause, including:
A spinal cord stimulator may also help alleviate chest pain (angina) and pain after failed back surgery.
Spinal cord stimulators have three parts, a generator, lead wires, and a controller. Dr. Hall implants a small generator under the skin of your abdomen or upper buttock.
He attaches the lead wires to the generator. Then he uses a needle-like device to guide the leads through the epidural space along your spine, placing them next to the targeted nerves. As the generator produces electrical impulses, they go through the leads into the nerves.
Dr. Hall uses the controller to program the intensity and frequency of the pulses. You keep the controller and use it to adjust the pulse (within Dr. Hall’s programmed settings) and turn the generator on and off.
Spinal cord stimulation might be a good choice if you have no improvement with chronic pain with conservative treatment such as pain medication and physical therapy. If Dr. Hall determines you’re a good candidate, you have a trial period to see how well the device relieves your pain.
During the trial period, Dr. Hall places the leads along your spine, but you wear the generator around your waist. After a week of using the device, you know if it works. Then you can decide if you want to keep it and have the generator implanted or remove the leads.
Don’t keep struggling with pain; call Spectrum Pain Clinics, or book an appointment online to learn if a spinal cord stimulator can ease your pain.