It is a big challenge to find an effective treatment for conditions like chronic back and neck pain. These conditions at first are treated conservatively and if these measures are ineffective then surgery becomes an option. However, not all individuals with chronic pain conditions are suitable candidates for surgery. This may be because of their age or them having certain underlying medical conditions which prohibit them from undergoing any kind of surgical procedure. Certain medical conditions like CRPS, chronic back pain and neck pain are either not effective or partially effective to conservative treatments.
Spinal Cord Stimulation therapy is a therapeutic tool that is designed to control pain and improve the quality of life of individuals suffering from chronic pain syndrome.(1) This article gives a brief overview of whether spinal cord stimulator really works or not.
Do Spinal Cord Stimulators Really Work?
Spinal Cord Stimulator therapy is a method to improve the quality of life of the affected individual and relieve the pain which is making the affected individual disabled. Medical literature has proved that Spinal Cord Stimulation therapy has shown good efficacy against chronic pain conditions like back pain, neck pain, and even medical conditions like complex regional pain syndrome which in most of the cases either do not respond to conservative measures or are only partially effective.(1)
Spinal Cord Stimulation Therapy unlike other procedures is reversible meaning if the patient decides at any time to discontinue the therapy he or she can do it without any effect on the overall condition of the patient.
Some of the other advantages of Spinal Cord Stimulator therapy are:
Adjustable Pain Relief: The level of pain in an individual dealing with chronic pain syndrome varies significantly. Individuals may complain of severe pain first thing in the morning which may ease off during the day and then again exacerbate at night. There may also be cases where the patient may complain of less pain in the morning with exacerbation of pain as the day goes on and with activities. This is where spinal cord stimulator is extremely beneficial. The pain control that is given by the spinal cord stimulator can be adjusted according to the level of pain that the patient is experiencing. The new models that have been introduced to control the pain based on the body movements of the individual which make it a much more potent treatment.
Minimally Invasive: Spinal Cord Stimulator is implanted with minimally invasive procedure and does not require a major surgical process to implant the generator. The leads and the electrodes are placed with the help of needles rather than making incisions. This causes it to have very few side effects and allows it to be removed easily in case the patient desires to remove the stimulator.
Reduced Dependency on Opioids: By using the Spinal Cord Stimulator, the dependency of an individual on opioids for pain relief comes to a minimum to negligible. Studies conducted have proved that patients on spinal cord stimulator take fewer pain medications compared to patients who are not on the spinal cord stimulator.
Targeted Pain Relief: Another advantage of a spinal cord stimulator is that it provides pain relief in the area where it is required. This is unlike medications which affects the entire body and tends to cause side effects like sleep problems or problems with bowel movements which increase the patient’s problems rather than solving it.
Cost Effective: Studies have proved that spinal cord stimulator is far cheaper than most of the nonsurgical and surgical treatments provided for chronic pain syndromes.
In conclusion, based on the above statements it is quite clear that spinal cord stimulator works extremely well in not only controlling the pain symptoms of an individual but also improving the quality of life of the affected individual. It is a cost effective way of treating pain and also decreases the dependency on chronic medications which can have certain side effects which may cause more problems for the patient.