You remember a time when you could get out of bed and get through your day without back or neck pain plaguing your every move. And you want that life back. It might be time to consider neuromodulation with a spinal cord stimulator.
As experts in musculoskeletal health, the team here at Genesis Orthopaedic and Spine understands how spinal pain can hijack your existence, and we want you to know that there are solutions.
Here, we explore one such solution — a spinal cord stimulator — and whether this approach is right for you.
What is spinal cord stimulation?
We mentioned the word neuromodulation, and we want to expand on this idea a little. When you have back or neck pain, it’s likely that a nerve or group of nerves along your spine is irritated, causing them to send pain signals to your brain.
With neuromodulation, our goal is to disrupt this signaling with mild electrical impulses so that the pain messages don’t reach your brain. To accomplish this, we use a spinal cord stimulator, which consists of:
- Electrodes in the epidural space along your spinal canal
- A battery unit that supplies the energy for the electrical impulses
- A remote control that allows you to control the electrical impulses
Once in place, a spinal cord stimulator is designed to garble the messaging that comes from your irritated nerve or nerve group.
The benefits of a spinal cord stimulator
There are many scenarios in which a spinal cord stimulator might make sense. First, if you’re wary of other treatments for back and neck pain, such as surgery or medications, a spinal cord stimulator can help you avoid both.
Or, perhaps you’ve already undergone surgery with little success, and you’re loath to try this invasive route again. In this case, a spinal cord stimulator might be a great option since it only involves a minimally invasive placement procedure.
Another benefit to consider is that we first conduct a trial run with spinal cord stimulation so that we’re sure this approach will be effective.
Finally, the technology behind spinal cord stimulators is more advanced and, because of their success in relieving pain, about 50,000 stimulators are implanted annually.
Good candidates for spinal cord stimulation
We’ve been mentioning back and neck pain, but we want to take a closer look at some of the conditions that might benefit from neuromodulation.
At our practice, we’ve used spinal cord stimulation to address:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated or slipped discs
- Osteoarthritis in the back or neck
- Radiculopathy — symptoms that develop in your limbs
- Spinal stenosis — a narrowing in your spinal canal that irritates nerves
- Neuropathy — nerve damage
This list is by no means comprehensive, and the best way to find out whether you’re a good candidate for neuromodulation is to come see us for a full evaluation.
To get started, contact one of our two offices in Westfield or West Orange, New Jersey, to set up an appointment.