Is Back Pain Affecting Your Day?

More than 80% of American adults experience back pain at some point. While for some, the pain is temporary, others suffer chronic, long-term pain. Back pain can severely impact mobility, which in turn affects quality of life. Although surgery can help, many people are reluctant to go under the knife. Another option the doctor may recommend is spinal cord stimulation, an effective form of pain relief that can help patients delay or avoid back surgery.

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Stimulate the spine

Most long-term back pain issues are spinal cord related. Conditions such as a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, or spinal cord stenosis can press on or compromise the nearby nerve that extends from the spinal cord. When the nerves are damaged, signals are sent to the brain, which translates to severe pain. A spinal cord stimulator uses electrical impulses to disrupt the signal to the brain. The pain is still there, but the nerves cannot inform the brain as much or as often as before. The spinal cord stimulator uses wires called electrodes connected to a pulse generator. The wires send continuous pulses to the area, interrupting the nerves and bringing near-immediate relief.

What happens during the procedure?

If the surgeon determines the patient is a suitable candidate, the next step is a trial run. The electrodes are surgically installed near the painful area. The pulse generator can be attached to the person’s torso or waist using straps. The patient is then sent home and must record the device's effectiveness. After a few days, the surgeon meets with the patient again to assess the device’s success. If the device provides immediate, sustained relief, the surgeon will recommend a permanent installation. The pulse generator is then surgically installed. The patient will have some control over the degree of impulses, and the device can last several years.

Avoiding surgery

Patients with spinal cord stimulators have high satisfaction rates and can usually avoid surgery. Studies show that spinal cord stimulators provide at least a 50% improvement in pain within the first few days. Combined with a healthy diet and sufficient exercise, the device can keep people out of the operating room. However, for patients with severe damage to the discs or spine, surgery is best. Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) involves smaller incisions, resulting in a quicker recovery time. For individuals requiring surgery, MIS is often a more appealing option.

Address back pain today

Anyone with chronic back pain will attest that reducing the pain makes a significant difference in the quality of life. A spinal cord stimulator is a quick, effective way to reduce pain and restore vitality. People who opt for the device can avoid surgery for years.