GP Information: Spinal Cord Stimulator Patients

Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) is an exciting development in the field of Pain Medicine. It provides a way to alter the experience of pain by modulating cell-to- cell communication of pain signals within the spinal cord. The overall effect is to reduce the experience of pain.

This treatment involves the insertion of small electrodes near the spinal cord that transmit electrical impulses. A small battery powered impulse pulse generator (IPG) that is secured beneath the skin provides energy to the electrodes. Various patterns or programmes of stimulation with electrical current are now available to optimise the pain relief each patient experiences. Each patient will work closely with their Pain Specialist and SCS device technician to individually tailor their most effective programme.

What conditions can SCS treat?

Spinal Cord Stimulation is most commonly used to treat back, leg (‘sciatica’) or arm pain that has not responded to spinal surgery. Spinal Cord Stimulation can also be effective in treating Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and persistent pain following injury or surgery. Research has also shown that it can be effective in other neuropathic pain conditions.

There are many different spinal cord stimulator devices available for the management of chronic pain.  At Northern Pain Centre, our interventional pain specialist determine the appropriate spinal cord stimulator for patients by assessing each patient independently and using up-to-date clinical research and current best practice.

Trial Phase

Patients will undergo a temporary trial for 7-10days to determine the effectiveness of the device.  A SCS trial involves temporary electrodes being placed within the epidural space and attached to an external trial device that is worn on a belt by the patient for the trial duration.  During the trial phase, our patients will complete a daily pain diary to record their progress.  At the completion of the trial, the leads will be removed, and a decision will be made whether to proceed to permanent implant.

Permanent Phase

A SCS permanent implant involves permanent electrodes being placed within the epidural space and attached to a small impulse generator/battery, which is implanted under the skin in a site chosen by the patient and pain specialist.

Ongoing management

Often patients will require ongoing support by their health care team to manage the device and any residual pain.  This health care team involves their GP, which is why we have compiled the following information to support our GPs.  Should you require any additional support or information please contact us.

Spinal Cord Stimulator Companies

Listed in alphabetical order.

 

Abbott Medical

 

Boston Scientific

 

Medtronic

 

Nevro Medical

 

Stimwave