Treatments like physical therapy and spinal injections are often highly successful in treating chronic pain, but for some people, they aren’t enough. If you have severe chronic pain and nothing else is working, the experienced team at California Pain Medicine Center in Santa Monica, California, can help. They perform spinal cord stimulator implantation to help you manage pain using electrical impulses. To benefit from the team’s expertise, call California Pain Medicine Center today or book an appointment online.
A spinal cord stimulator is a device that can treat severe, chronic pain when other treatments prove ineffective.
Your nervous system works by transmitting electrical impulses. These signals relay various sensations like pain, heat, and cold, allow your organs to communicate with each other, and enable your body to function normally.
Neuromodulation — the science behind spinal cord stimulation — involves altering (modulating) nerve communication to limit the activity of nerves that are causing unpleasant problems like pain.
A spinal cord stimulator is like a pacemaker, in that it’s a small device implanted under your skin. The unit sends out mild electrical pulses to your spine, changing the feelings of pain to a soothing, tingling sensation known as paresthesia. There are also newer types of spinal cord stimulators that don’t cause these feelings.
Before you undergo a permanent spinal cord stimulator implantation procedure, it’s important for the California Pain Medicine Center team to make sure the device is going to help you. They do this by running a trial for a week or so.
The trial involves having electrical contacts about the size of a rice grain in your spine that transmit signals to your spinal cord from an external device.
Over the trial period, you can assess how much of a difference the treatment is making and, together with your provider, decide if full implantation is worthwhile.
If you proceed with spinal cord stimulator implantation, your provider replaces the temporary unit with an implantable device. You can feel the implant under your skin, but it shouldn’t be visible when you’re clothed, and the device doesn’t make any sound.
When they first implant the spinal cord stimulator, your provider at California Pain Medicine Center programs the electrical stimulation pattern. The pattern is customizable and based on the feedback you provide, and your provider can adjust the spinal cord stimulator settings through their computer system.
You use a handheld controller to access your programs. You can alter the location and strength of the stimulation to fit with your pain levels and the activities you’re doing.
California Pain Medicine Center uses the cutting-edge Proclaim™ series of spinal cord stimulators. The Proclaim DRG (dorsal root ganglion) neurostimulation system is the first and only neurostimulation device approved for treating CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome).
To find out if a spinal cord stimulator could help you manage your chronic pain, call California Pain Medicine Center today or book an appointment online.