What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Spinal cord stimulation is the use of electricity to treat chronic pain. Small, thin wires are placed overtop the spinal cord that are connected to a small pacemaker-type battery delivering electric current to the nerve fibers of your spinal cord.

How Does It Work?

Spinal cord stimulation alters the way pain signals are sent between nerves and the spinal cord, producing a calming effect so the body does not feel as much pain. More recent evidence has shown that it may even change the way the pain is perceived in the brain.

Who is a Candidate?

Patients that are candidates typically have the following diagnoses:

  • Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
    • Cervical and Lumbar
    • Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome
    • Radiculopathy
    • Plexopathy
    • Arachnoiditis
    • Epidural fibrosis
    • Painful peripheral neuropathy

How Do I Know If This Could Help Me?

Patients undergo a consultation with a Northeastern Rehabilitation physician in which treatment records and previous imaging is reviewed. If you are deemed a good candidate, you will undergo a 5-7 day trial to see if this reduces your pain and allows you to be more active. This trial period involves no incisions or permanent changes in or around the spine. Patients who have a successful trial may then undergo permanent implantation, which is a same day, minor surgical procedure.

What Is The Goal of Spinal Cord Stimulation?

The goal of spinal cord stimulation is to decrease pain by at least 50% and to provide patients with an improved ability to perform daily activities. Furthermore, spinal cord stimulation has been shown to decrease the amount of daily pain medications needed.