Spinal Cord Stimulation

Spinal Cord Stimulation

Pain messages travel over nerve pathways to the spinal cord, inside the spine. The spinal cord carries the messages to the brain. Constant pain messages can cause long-term pain that is hard to treat. This is known as chronic pain. Spinal cord stimulation uses a medical device to send signals to your spine. These signals help block the pain.


Keeping a Pain Log

Your doctor may ask you to keep a pain log for a certain amount of time. In it, you may answer certain questions: When do you feel pain? What does it feel like? What makes it better or worse? Your answers help show how well spinal cord stimulation may work for you. Your doctor will give you guidelines for your pain log. During the time you write the log, you may not be able to take pain medications. Be sure to discuss this with your doctor.


Spinal Cord Stimulation May Help

Spinal cord stimulation is one treatment for chronic pain. A small medical device sends signals to your spinal cord. These signals keep the chronic pain messages from being sent to your brain. Instead, you may feel tingling from the electrical signals.

The Stimulator System

The stimulator system has several parts. A power source makes the signals. This power source may be worn outside the body or implanted under the skin on your abdomen or buttocks. One or more leads (flexible, plastic-covered wires) are placed inside the body to carry the signals to the spinal cord. Your doctor can explain the system you’ll be using in more detail.

Risks and Possible Complications

  • Infection

  • Bleeding

  • Nerve damage

  • Failure to relieve pain