Spinal Cord Stimulators

What are they and what conditions they treat.

Dr. Craig Best

What is a spinal cord stimulator?
A spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is a non-surgical treatment for chronic pain conditions that uses electrical signals to block nerves of the spine that transmit pain to greatly reduce overall pain sensation.
How is a spinal cord stimulator trial performed?
The epidural space is accessed using an introducer needle and x-ray (fluoroscopic) guidance just like an epidural steroid injection. However, rather than instilling steroid through the needle, a very small and thin wire (spinal cord stimulator lead) is inserted into the epidural space and then secured during the 5-7 day trial period. During the follow-up visit at the clinic, the SCS leads are removed and, if successful, the patient may choose to have the spinal cord stimulator permanently placed.

What conditions can be treated by SCS?
SCS is typically used for patients who have chronic pain conditions and have tried and failed more treatment options such as medications, physical therapy, chiropractic, injections, and even surgery. Indications for use of SCS include chronic nerve pain conditions such as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), peripheral polyneuropathy, or diabetic neuropathy or chronic neck or low back pain with or without limb pain such as failed back surgery syndrome. It may also be used for patients who may not be surgical candidates.
What are the goals of SCS?
Typical goals with the use of SCS include significantly decreasing pain, decreasing pain medication requirements, and improvement in overall function.
Conclusion
If you’ve been suffering from chronic intractable pain despite medications, physical therapy, chiropractic, injections, and surgery, you may be a candidate for a spinal cord stimulator trial. For an initial consultation and to discuss SCS, please contact OSNI to book an appointment with Dr. Craig Best.
Dr. Best utilizes thorough history and physical examination, imaging, electrodiagnostic studies, and diagnostic injections to identify specific pain generators and provides comprehensive treatment plans that may consist of medications, detailed physical/occupational therapy or exercise prescriptions, osteopathic manual medicine, or injections. Dr. Best’s ultimate goal for his patients is to provide them with the tools to live a healthier, more functional life.
After graduating from Lincoln Memorial University’s DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Best completed his Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (Physiatry) residency at Rush University Medical Center. He subsequently completed a fellowship in Interventional Pain Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital. He is board certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation as well as the subspecialty of Pain Medicine.

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