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How Spinal Cord Stimulators Offer Drug-Free Relief From Chronic Back Pain

Approximately 80 percent of adults will have lower back pain issues at some point during the course of their lives. Chronic back pain can be debilitating and can keep you from experiencing life to the fullest, but there are treatment options available.

At Apollo Pain Management, a veteran-owned practice in Sun City Center, Florida, we can provide you with the most comprehensive pain management care.

What is chronic back pain?

Chronic back pain is a type of pain that continues longer than 12 weeks, well after the initial cause of your injury has been treated. Because it is prolonged, it is treated as a separate condition (as opposed to just a symptom).

What causes chronic back pain?

Though the cause of chronic back pain can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint, common causes can include:

What is spinal cord stimulation?

Spinal cord stimulation is a method of pain relief where a small amount of electricity (i.e., a low-voltage electrical current) is sent into the spinal cord to interupt pain signals to the brain.

This is a safe, FDA-approved treatment with close to 50,000 neurostimulators implanted in men and women around the world each year.  

How does spinal cord stimulation work?

The initial step in spinal cord stimulation begins with a trial. Much like taking a car for a test drive before buying, the purpose of a stimulator trial is to make sure that this treatment is right for you. The procedure is safe and generally takes less than an hour to perform.

To begin, you will be taken to a procedure room where you will lie face down on a table. Monitors will be attached for added safety, and a trained anesthetist will administer sedation during the procedure. The skin along your spine will be numbed with a local anesthetic, then a wire electrode is positioned along the spinal cord through a needle that is placed in your back, very similar to the type of needle that is used to relieve pain during pregnancy. Once the wire is in position, the stimulator will be tested to ensure it covers your pain adequately. The needle is removed, but the wires will stay in place for about a week, during which time it will be tested to ensure that it will provide proper pain control. At the end of the week, the wires are removed (which can be done in the office), and you will be scheduled for placement of a permanent spinal cord stimulator.

You have complete control of the device and can turn it on or off, or change the strength of the signals. There are three types of spinal cord stimulation devices:

Conventional systems

Minimal effort is required to maintain this system, but you would need to undergo a procedure to replace the power source when it has been depleted, usually after 7-10 years.

Radiofrequency systems

With this type of system, you would wear an outer power source to trigger stimulation. The advantage is you would never need a procedure to replace the power source.

Rechargeable systems

These systems may last longer than conventional systems, but a procedure may be needed to replace the power source after 6-8 years.

If you suffer from chronic back pain, we can help you get some relief. Call Apollo Pain Management today at 813-279-1022 to learn more about how spinal cord stimulators can help you resolve your chronic back pain.

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