Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) is a medical therapy for people who suffer from certain types of chronic pain in their back, legs and arms. SCS uses a small implanted device to generate tiny electrical pulses that replace the feeling of pain with a tingling or massaging sensation. These electrical impulses around the spinal cord can modify the way the brain receives pain signals. Approved by the FDA in 1989, Spinal Cord Stimulation is a widely accepted medical treatment. Most patients who qualify for SCS report a 50-70% reduction in overall pain, as well as an increased ability to participate in normal family and work activities. Prior to the procedure, a trial implant is attached outside the skin and worn for 5-7 days. For the final procedure, a small incision is done under general anesthesia in order to permanently implant the device under the skin. The final procedure generally takes about one hour. Each year as many as 50,000 neurostimulators are implanted worldwide.
How well do they work?
A study of chronic pain sufferers who used neurostimulators revealed the following:
- 84% of people who received the spinal cord stimulator reported that their quality of life was greatly improved
- 77% had good or excellent pain relief
- 83% decreased their use of pain medications