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What Is Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Back pain is a common condition, and many sufferers find relief through conservative treatments. Others aren’t so fortunate. If you’re among the many who struggle with back pain, we think it’s time to consider spinal cord stimulation (SCS). 

Dr. Raul Lopez, our pain management specialist at the West Texas Pain Institute in El Paso, Texas, specializes in identifying and treating a wide variety of back pain conditions. Here’s a closer look at one of his most effective treatments, so you can make informed decisions about your health. 

How spinal cord stimulation works

Spinal cord stimulation involves surgically implanting a small device connected to a thin wire under your skin near your spine. This device, which is similar to a pacemaker, sends electrical pulses to your spinal cord, disrupting pain signals traveling to your brain. 

This revolutionary pain management treatment allows you to manage your pain as well as achieve your other health and wellness goals. Spinal cord stimulation addresses your symptoms without the need for addictive medications or aggressive surgeries and it complements other treatments and therapies, such as physical therapy. 

Candidates for spinal cord stimulation

Spinal cord stimulation is a versatile treatment and a viable option for many causes of back and chronic pain. Candidates for SCS often have:

Dr. Lopez conducts a thorough review of your health history, symptoms, and pain relief goals to make sure that spinal cord stimulation is an option for you. 

What to expect from SCS implantation

If Dr. Lopez determines that you can benefit from spinal cord stimulation, we schedule your implantation appointment.

Spinal cord stimulator implantation happens in two phases: trial and permanent. 

During the trial phase, Dr. Lopez places temporary wires in your spine that lead to a small battery-operated generator that remains outside of your body. We require a trial phase to ensure that spinal cord stimulation is an effective treatment for your pain. 

If your condition improves, we schedule the next stage of your implantation, in which we surgically implant a permanent system of wires in your spine, as well as a small generator in your abdomen or upper buttock.

Life with a spinal cord stimulator

The incisions Dr. Lopez makes during your surgery are small and heal quickly. We recommend that you begin participating in light activity, such as moderate walking and driving during the first two weeks of your recovery. After the first 6-8 weeks, the surgery site should be completely healed, and you can return to your normal routine. 

Spinal cord stimulators are designed to get you back to the life you knew before back pain, but there are just a few rules of thumb to keep in mind to ensure a smooth transition. For example, it’s important that you report any device malfunctions immediately and keep up with your regular therapy appointments to make sure that you’re getting the most out of the treatment. 

Have more questions about spinal cord stimulation? Want to see if it’s right for you? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly staff online or over the phone today and request an appointment at either of our two El Paso locations. 

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