When chronic pain is taking over your life, it might feel like you need to choose between experiencing constant pain and a pain relief management solution that’s inconvenient, invasive, or potentially addictive. Thankfully, with the ultra-modern pain relief offered by board-certified, fellowship-trained interventional pain management specialist Hasan Badday, MD, many easy and safe pain management solutions are now available.
For many types of chronic pain, Dr. Badday recommends the avant-garde spinal cord stimulation procedure at Pacific Pain & Regenerative Medicine’s offices in Irvine and Los Angeles, California. Keep reading to learn more about spinal cord stimulation and whether it might help you.
What is spinal cord stimulation?
Spinal cord stimulation relieves your pain by blocking the pain signals from reaching your brain. This happens by stopping or otherwise modifying the activity in the appropriate pain-signaling nerves.
The mechanism for this type of pain relief is a small, implanted device that is inserted in your back, near your spinal cord through a minimally invasive procedure. Once inserted, the device uses electrical signals to block your brain from hearing messages that would cause you to feel pain.
You can fully control the signals, which means you can adjust their level and intensity when needed. This makes the experience of controlling your pain with spinal cord stimulation highly personalized and customizable.
Is spinal cord stimulation right for me?
Dr. Badday recommends spinal cord stimulation for a number of different conditions that cause chronic pain. These include:
- Spinal stenosis
- Bulging discs
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Failed back surgery syndrome
- Chronic back and neck pain
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Refractory angina
At your consultation, Dr. Badday determines if spinal cord stimulation offers the best type of pain relief for you using a two-step screening process. Often, spinal cord stimulation is a good solution if other pain relief hasn’t worked for you.
You might also be a good candidate if:
- You’re a non-smoker
- You don’t use recreational drugs
- Your pain isn’t caused by a psychiatric condition (such as depression)
You’ll also need to not have some types of cardiac pacemakers.
The process of implanting the spinal cord stimulation
Once Dr. Badday recommends spinal cord stimulation, you go through a trial period with the therapy before having the device permanently implanted. This ensures your pain is effectively relieved by spinal cord stimulation before you undergo the permanent procedure.
The spinal cord stimulation trial
The trial period for spinal cord stimulation lasts from 5-7 days. For the trial period, you have the wires that hold the implant inserted, but the implant remains external.
The trial wires are implanted in Dr. Badday’s office as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia. During the procedure, Dr. Badday asks you for feedback on placement of the wires to determine which wire placement offers effective pain relief.
During the trial period, Dr. Badday asks you to keep track of the level of pain relief the trial device provides at different times of day. If the trial period brings you successful pain relief, Dr. Badday implants the permanent device.
Getting your permanent spinal cord implant
The permanent device implantation is also outpatient and performed under local anesthesia. Dr. Badday inserts permanent wires using an epidural space needle, again asking for your feedback on the most effective placement.
After he places the wires, Dr. Badday makes a small incision to implant the electrical stimulator generator in your abdomen, upper chest, or upper buttocks.
Once the generator is placed, Dr. Badday connects the wires to it and then closes the incision. You should start to feel pain relief almost immediately as you recover from the procedure.