Pain Relief via a Spinal Cord Stimulator

Chronic pain affects roughly 1.5 Billion people worldwide and is most commonly located in the back.  Chronic pain is a persistent, spinal columdebilitating pain that lasts for three months or longer.  It's different from acute pain which commonly results from injury or surgery and heals after time.

What is a Spinal Cord Stimulator?

A spinal cord stimulator is a non-opiate, implanted device indicated to treat chronic neuropathic pain of the trunk and limbs.  Neuropathic pain is the result of damaged or malfunctioning nerve fibers that send false pain messages to the brain.  Patients often describe a burning, shooting or dull ache that can last up to 24 hours per day. This type of pain is very difficult to treat effectively, potentially resulting in a long, frustrating journey to find relief.
How Does a Spinal Cord Stimulator Work?
Spinal Cord Stimulators deliver mild electrical pulses to the nerves, interrupting the pain signals to the brain, thus reducing pain.  Here at Reno Tahoe Pain Associates in Reno, NV, your Board Certified Pain Specialist physician, Dr. Ali Nairizi, often recommends spinal cord stimulation when other treatments for pain management have failed.  For patients that are good candidates there is a 7-day trial of the device that is temporary and totally reversible - basically a ‘test drive’ of the therapy.

These trials are simple in-office procedures. If the therapy provides 50% or more relief from pain and an increase in quality of life, such as better sleep and increased mobility and overall stamina, then the patient can move on to a permanent implant.  Studies show 9 out of 10 patients with chronic neuropathic pain achieve a successful trial.

A spinal cord stimulator consists of two thin leads that are the size and shape of spaghetti that connect to a tiny battery pack and are placed under the skin, similar to a pacemaker. The leads are placed in the spinal canal above your spinal cord, while the generator is placed underneath your skin near the belt line or buttocks. The device is rechargeable and is FDA approved to last at least ten years.  This is a minimally invasive procedure performed at a surgery center or hospital and no hospital stay is required.

 What Conditions Can Be Treated with Spinal Cord Stimulators?
Spinal cord stimulation is typically recommended for patients who aren't finding adequate relief from nonsurgical pain treatments. Your pain management physician recommends spinal cord stimulation for managing different kinds of chronic pain, including:

  • Post-surgery pain
  • Back pain, particularly pain that persists following a failed back surgery
  • Angina or heart pain that isn’t treatable with other options
  • Arachnoiditis, which occurs when the arachnoid, a super-thin membrane covering the spinal cord and brain, becomes inflamed
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS
  • Nerve-associated pain, as in diabetic neuropathy and neuropathy related to cancer treatments
  • Pain following amputation
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Perineal and visceral abdominal pain

Spinal cord stimulation has been shown to significantly improve a person’s quality of sleep and life, while decreasing the requirements for pain medications. For best results, it’s usually used alongside other treatments for pain management such as medicines, relaxation methods, physical therapy, and exercise.
For Questions and More Information on Spinal Cord Stimulation, We Can Help
Dial (775) 384-1127 to set up a consultation with our pain management physician, Dr. Ali Nairizi of Reno Tahoe Pain Associates here in Reno, NV.