There are nearly 50 million US adults living with chronic pain; 16 million of them have chronic back pain. Sadly, many of them struggle to find a solution or simply put up with their symptoms and never seek treatment.
Those living with untreated chronic pain usually experience other physical and even mental and emotional complications.
Fortunately, Dr. Raul Lopez and our team at the West Texas Pain Institute offer a variety of alternative pain management treatments, including spinal cord stimulation, that can supplement or oftentimes solve your chronic pain.
Where does chronic pain come from?
Whether your pain came out of nowhere or you’ve been nursing a hurt for years, it’s important to understand what’s at the source of your pain.
Most often, chronic pain stems from an injury or traumatic event, such as a back sprain or a pulled muscle. Nerve damage is another source of chronic pain. Damage to your nerves can make your pain feel much more intense and last much longer. In the worst-case (and most frustrating) scenario, chronic pain develops with no apparent cause or trigger.
Chronic pain can happen to anyone, but you’re most at risk if you:
- Have recently had surgery
- Have sustained an injury
- Are female
- Are overweight or obese
Typically, doctors treat chronic pain with a course of pain medication, or in the case of severe chronic pain, surgery. There are, however, many other options to help you deal with your symptoms. Some of the most popular alternative treatments for chronic pain range from acupuncture and tai chi to physical therapy and nerve blocks.
Here, we offer spinal cord stimulation — a minimally invasive option to chronic pain.
How can spinal cord stimulation help?
Spinal cord stimulation is a revolutionary treatment we recommend for many causes of chronic pain. It involves carefully placing a thin wire in your spine. The wire is connected to a small battery-operated generator that powers the electrical current.
The thought of inserting electrical currents into your body may sound counterintuitive to pain relief, but the current is mild and virtually undetectable. However, it’s powerful enough to disrupt the pain signals traveling to and from your brain and body. This not only relieves your pain, but it gives you the relief you need to focus on other treatments, including physical therapy.
You’re a good candidate for spinal cord stimulation if your chronic pain stems from the following:
- Back pain, especially postoperative back pain
- Post-surgical pain
- Arachnoiditis, inflammation in the spinal cord
- Angina (heart pain)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage-related pain, such as diabetic neuropathy
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Pain following an amputation
- Visceral abdominal pain
- Perineal pain
Spinal cord stimulation is also an option if you’re struggling with pain, numbness, or weakness in your arms caused by nerve damage.
What can I expect from spinal cord stimulation?
The spinal cord stimulation implantation process occurs in two stages: trial and permanent. Both of these procedures are minimally invasive.
During your trial phase, we place temporary wires into your spine. They lead to the generator, which at this point remains outside your body. Dr. Lopez closely monitors your progress, and, if it proves to be an effective treatment for you, he recommends a permanent stimulator.
The next stage involves placing permanent wires into your spine, as well as implanting the generator pack in either your lower back or upper buttock. You control the generator with a remote.
If you’re ready to see how spinal cord stimulation can help you, request an appointment at our El Paso, Texas, office by calling 915-229-5013 or by using our online booking tool.