Spinal Cord Stimulator

A spinal cord stimulator prevents you from feeling the chronic pain that affects you every day by interfering with the nerve signals to your brain. At Foothill Pain Management in Glendale and the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, pain management specialist Christopher Charbonnet, MD, implants spinal cord stimulators for patients whose chronic pain doesn’t respond to more conservative treatments. To find out if you’re a candidate for a spinal cord stimulator, call Foothill Pain Management, or book an appointment online today.

Spinal Cord Stimulator Q & A

What is a spinal cord stimulator?

A spinal cord stimulator is a device that sits beneath your skin on your back and delivers mild electrical impulses to your spinal cord. A small wire connects the device to the nerves within your spinal cord. The electrical currents prevent pain signals from traveling to your brain, offering a safer alternative to opioid medications.

Using a spinal cord stimulator to treat chronic pain can help you manage your discomfort and avoid complications like depression and weight gain. It’s important to realize that a spinal cord stimulator doesn’t treat the condition or injury causing your pain. Instead, it helps ease your symptoms so you can live more comfortably and be productive despite your ongoing pain.

What does a spinal cord stimulator treat?

Foothill Pain Management offers spinal cord stimulators to patients struggling with various types of chronic pain that has lasted for a year or longer and persisted beyond other nonsurgical treatments. They might recommend a spinal cord stimulator as part of your treatment for:

  • Sciatica
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Failed back surgery syndrome
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuropathy

Conditions like these can cause widespread pain that isn’t just limited to your back. You might feel pain in your arms or legs too. Your spinal cord stimulator treats sharp pain, burning, and other symptoms that might not find relief from other conservative treatments like over-the-counter pain relievers and physical therapy alone.

What is the procedure for getting a spinal cord stimulator?

Before you get your permanent spinal cord stimulator, you must go through a trial period with a temporary device.

Your provider at Foothill Pain Management inserts the electrodes into the epidural space around your spinal cord using fluoroscopy, an X-ray guided procedure. They carefully place the electrodes near the origin area of your pain. They can perform this procedure with just one small incision in your back, and you’ll wear the trial generator on a belt.

If the trial is successful, you can get a more permanent spinal cord stimulator. Your provider places the permanent generator beneath your skin on your lower abdomen or buttocks and replaces the trial electrodes with permanent electrodes.

They might ask for your feedback while placing the electrodes to make sure they’re in the right spot to relieve your pain. Your provider tells you how often to charge or replace the battery.

For more information on spinal cord stimulators for chronic pain, call Foothill Pain Management, or book an appointment online today.