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Should You Consider a Spinal Cord Stimulator for Your Chronic Back Pain?

Dr. Dunson can evaluate your current health, review your pain history, and help devise a pain management plan that lets you g

Back pain is perhaps the biggest cause of disability in the United States today. Fully half of all working Americans suffer from back pain at some point each year, adding up to more than 264 million lost days from work. 

Occasional back pain is one issue. When it becomes chronic, that is, lasting more than 12 weeks, it’s a serious impediment to every aspect of life.

Chronic back pain can be difficult to treat. Your spine is a complex structure, and sometimes the sources of pain aren’t easy to pinpoint. For many chronic back pain sufferers, treatment consists of pain management, which itself can have side effects and diminishing effectiveness over time. 

When drug therapy no longer controls your pain, but you’re not ready for back surgery, an implanted spinal cord stimulator may be the answer.

How spinal cord stimulators work

Once your body generates pain signals, they travel as tiny electrical signals through nerve tissue to the brain, where they’re interpreted as the sensations you feel. Spinal cord stimulation therapy works by introducing another electrical signal along the same nerve pathways as your pain. While the pain signals remain, the artificial signal disrupts the way your brain interprets the information from the nerve.

This disruption masks pain, reducing or eliminating the pain you feel. Successful spinal cord stimulation occurs when your pain level drops about 50% or greater. This often reduces the amount or strength of the medications you need to control the remaining pain. 

Since this can reduce or prevent the need for opioid medications, spinal cord stimulation is potentially an important addition to a back-pain management plan.

The implantation process

Successful spinal cord stimulation is usually a two-part process. Because every patient can respond differently to the signals generated by the stimulator, a trial stimulation process is typically done first, before a permanent implant is placed.

If the trial is successful, a permanent signal generator is implanted in the hip and buttock area, with wire leads feeding to the target area around the nerves at the spine. There are different types of signal generators that can produce low-frequency waves that replace pain signals with a tingling sensation, or high-frequency signals and pulse burst units that produce no tingling.

Candidates for spinal cord stimulators

Spinal cord stimulators may be an effective option for your chronic back pain if you fall into one of the following categories:

When you’re ready to take the next step in your chronic back pain management, it’s time to contact a spinal cord stimulation expert, like Dr. Teddrick Dunson at Thrive Pain Management

Dr. Dunson can evaluate your current health, review your pain history, and help devise a pain management plan that lets you get on with your life without restriction or limitation. Call the office today at 469-294-3763, or use the online booking tool to arrange your personal consultation. You can also send a message to Dr. Dunson and the team here on the website.

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