Over 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. That’s 20.5% of the U.S. population. To put that into perspective, that’s more than the entire population of Spain.
Chronic pain impacts every single aspect of your life. It can even rewire your brain and change your personality. Living with chronic pain makes those who suffer less able to process emotions, resulting in feeling more pessimistic, overwhelmed, and anxious.
This leads many into wondering – how effective is spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain?
Living with chronic pain is no way to live. Those who live with enduring types of pain are looking for any pain relief and pain solutions they can find. Spinal cord stimulation is likely to come up when those who suffer look up something like a San Marcos pain specialist.
So what is spinal cord stimulation? What does a spinal cord stimulation specialist do? And, most importantly, how effective is spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain?
What Is Spinal Cord Stimulation?
A short definition of spinal cord stimulation is “a mild electric current applied to the spinal cord through small leads.” The premise behind spinal cord stimulation is that it masks the pain signals before it reaches your brain.
Spinal cord stimulation works when a spinal cord stimulation specialist places a lead near the epidural space that supplies nerves to the area suffering from chronic pain.
Patients can first do a “trial” or a “test drive” of this amazing technology using temporary leads and a external battery to see if it is effective for their pain. If this proves to be effective, the patient can receive an implanted system as a more permanent solution.
How Spinal Cord Stimulation Works
Spinal cord stimulation, or SCS, works by interrupting the connection between the spinal cord and the brain. It uses a device called a neurostimulator, which functions similarly to a pacemaker and is sometimes implanted under the skin.
The neurostimulator works by connecting the device to an area near the spine via a series of fine insulated wires known as leads. These leads deliver a mild electrical current to the area near the spine, which interrupts the pain signals between your spine and your brain.
This offers the patient suffering from chronic pain relief from incessant suffering. It’s a way to get back to your life and the things you love without running the risk of addiction to dangerous prescription medications.
Benefits of Spinal Cord Stimulation
SCS is showing great potential as a long-term solution for living with chronic pain. Those wondering “how effective is spinal cord stimulation?” will not be disappointed with this promising new technology.
Here are some reasons you should consider seeing a San Marcos pain specialist and finding out if SCS is right for you.
Personalized Pain Relief
It’s notoriously difficult to get a pain treatment program perfected for each individual patient. If relying on prescription medication like painkillers or tranquilizers to deal with chronic pain, it’s far too easy to leave the patient feeling groggy and unable to concentrate or focus. This can have a negative effect on someone’s life almost equal to the chronic pain.
Relying on less extreme treatment options like massage might not be nearly enough for someone living with chronic pain, though. It might not happen nearly often enough, either.
One of the big reasons SCS is so revolutionary is how customizable it is for each individual patient. First of all, it’s far easier for a trained spinal cord stimulation specialist to adjust the signal to find the perfect level of stimulation for each patient.
Beyond that, some SCS solutions respond to the patient’s movements and adjust accordingly. This promises to usher in a whole new era of responsive, intelligent medical technologies.
Target Pain Relief
Generalized pain reduction spreads throughout your entire system, by its very nature. This means that even if you’re experiencing chronic pain in a very specific area, like your hands, for instance, you’ll still have to douse your entire body with painkillers to experience any relief.
This means that even if your chronic pain is localized to an area that doesn’t derail your entire quality of life, you’ll still be completely incapacitated due to the medication.
SCS targets to the specific area of your spinal cord that connects to the area where you experience chronic pain. This is as close to targeted pain relief as modern medicine is capable of, so far.
SCS is also far more customizable than most other pain treatments you’ll find. If you find the SCS isn’t doing enough to disrupt your chronic pain, you can work with a spinal cord stimulation specialist to recalibrate the solution. They can increase or decrease the current or change the waveform of the SCS stimulation, for example.
Most solutions for chronic pain are ongoing. This means that managing chronic pain becomes yet another monthly expense. In some circumstances, it can be quite costly indeed.
The cost of prescription drugs has been skyrocketing for quite some time. Cost increases for more than half of prescription medications have exceeded inflation over the last few years.
Spinal cord stimulation removes that ongoing expense entirely. Instead, you simply have to have a one-time expenditure outlay, and you’ll have a pain treatment solution for as long as you have your SCS unit.
Treatment Is Reversible
Far too many potential treatments for chronic pain involve life-altering procedures from which there is no turning back. In some scenarios, the “solution” can end up being worse than the problem.
This is one of the big selling points of SCS treatments, which can be altered after the fact. They’re also far less invasive than most major spinal surgeries or procedures.
It’s far easier to remove an SCS unit should the treatment no longer be working for you.
Another of the great benefits of SCS is that you can try it out and see how it works before committing to a more permanent solution. You can work with your spinal cord stimulation specialist and discuss various treatments. Then you can try them out using non-invasive procedures so you can see which works best for you and your unique needs.
When you find a solution that works best for dealing with your chronic pain, you can work with an SCS specialist to work out a permanent solution after you’ve completed your trial.
Improved Mental Health
You won’t believe what you’ll be capable of once you’ve got your chronic pain under wraps. A feeling of optimism and possibility is common, once you’re no longer suffering all day, every day.
Living with chronic pain also makes it next to impossible to achieve your goals or live up to your full potential. This can have all sorts of effects on your self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. Not being able to live up to your own standards gradually eats away at your feeling of capability and self-confidence.
SCS helps you take control of your chronic pain. It’s the first step in regaining control of your life. Before you know it, you’ll be plowing through your to-do lists and exceeding your goals.
It takes surprisingly little time to turn your life around.
What Conditions Can SCS Treat?
Not all conditions can be treated equally by SCS. It is amazingly effective for treating a wide range of different conditions that can cause chronic pain.
SCS has been found to be remarkably effective in treating complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), for instance. SCS’ ability for highly targeted pain relief can send finely calibrated electrical impulses to the impacted areas, thus greatly reducing the pain and suffering.
SCS is also highly effective in treating chronic neck and back pain. This is excellent news, as the neck and back are some of the most common sources of chronic pain for a vast number of people.
SCS can help you keep neck and back pain to an absolute minimum, if not getting rid of it entirely. Your quality of life will vastly improve once you’re able to manage your chronic pain via spinal cord stimulation.
Cutting-edge technological tools such as spinal cord stimulation are helping us to usher in a whole new world of previously unimaginable new cures and solutions.
SCS offers a chance to help you manage your pain, giving you back your life in the process.
Now You Know: “How Effective Is Spinal Cord Stimulation for Chronic Pain?”
Chronic pain can rob your life of all joy, all purpose, and all direction. It can sometimes feel like you’re barely living at all.
Now you’ve answered, “how effective is spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain?”
Schedule an appointment today to reclaim your life!