A spinal cord stimulator harnesses the properties of electricity to treat pain. It is the most rapidly improving therapy in all of pain management.
This is an option when other therapies have been tried such as the use of chemistry (medications, steroids), strength and conditioning the body (physical therapy, chiropractic care, exercise), mechanical intervention (surgery) or boosting your health (nutrition, behavioral therapy, lifestyle changes).
Electricity serves as an excellent option to treat pain because pain is carried by nerves through the nervous system. The body uses electrical impulses through the nerves, that function as a type of wiring to communicate pain signals to the brain. Spinal Cord Stimulation has proven particularly effective because it targets the pain centers of the spinal cord and selectively scrambles the unwanted and unpleasant signaling.
Spinal Cord Stimulation uses implanted wires that are placed using a needle in the spinal column. If this provides amazing relief, these wires are connected to an implantable battery (called an impulse generator) that is placed under the skin and soft tissue. It should not be confused with a TENS or EMS unit, which are external devices that send less sophisticated electrical signals to the skin and peripheral nerves and have a dramatically reduced effect in controlling severe pain symptoms.
A spinal cord stimulator will not electrocute you. It is a safe FDA approved therapy that has been used for decades and its technology has improved dramatically over the years. It is minimally invasive and the electrodes are placed in areas not directly impacted by the underlying physical problem, which means, it is will not directly worsen the underlying condition.
The providers at Philly Smart Pain have experienced the most dramatic results in the hardest to treat conditions with this spinal cord stimulation. With that said, not everyone benefits and many patients are nervous about a device implanted into the body. Understanding these common concerns, a patient considering this therapy will undergo a trial first to test out the therapy. The stimulator wires (also called leads) are placed and are attached outside the body on the skin. The therapy is tested for one week and then the wires are safely and gently removed in the office. This feature cannot be understated. Many of my patients wish they could have tested out surgery first before electing to undergone spine surgery. With a spinal cord stimulator, you get to test it out and determine if this technology can transform your life for the positive.
Spinal Cord Stimulator technology improves year after year and Philly Smart Pain serves as a center for excellence in providing this therapy.