Life With a Spinal Cord Stimulator

Oct 09, 2023
Life With a Spinal Cord Stimulator
A spinal cord stimulator can be a godsend for those living with chronic pain that resists treatment. In the rush to find relief, you might not consider what changes living with a stimulator demands.

spinal cord stimulator (SCS) can be a godsend for those living with chronic pain that resists treatment. But in the rush to find relief, you might not consider the changes living with a stimulator may demand.

The good news is there are only a few situations where a SCS impacts your day-to-day living. Understanding what your device does, how it works, and how to use it will soon make you an expert. 

At Pain Management 360 in Huntington, Hurricane, and Charleston, West Virginia, we’re SCS specialistsDr. Rudy Malayil and our team are here to help you get accustomed to life with a spinal cord stimulator, including the fine-tuning of your device that makes it a custom, programmable addition to your pain-management plan. 

What is a spinal cord stimulator?

A spinal cord stimulator is an implanted electrical device that modulates the pain signals moving along targeted nerves so that your brain doesn’t interpret pain from these nerves. 

Before you get a permanent implant, you’ll receive a temporary probe and external signal generator to make sure the SCS concept provides you with suitable pain relief. Once we confirm you’re a good candidate, you’ll get your permanent, implanted probe and signal generator as well as the remote control for operating your system. 

Recovery from the implant procedure

Usually performed on an outpatient basis, you’ll likely be home the day of your implant. Your incisions may be sore or painful for a few days, and you should take it easy during this time, avoiding stretches, twisting, or lifting. Also, avoid strenuous work for about two weeks. 

The dressings over your incisions can be removed on about the third day after your implant procedure. You’ll come in for a checkup 7-10 days after your surgery. We’ll check your incisions and help you adjust your system to optimize pain relief while minimizing any sensations generated by the SCS. This is usually a buzzing or tingling sensation. 

Life with a spinal cord stimulator

With the pulse width, amplitude, and SCS frequencies set, you’ll have control over the strength and duration of the active stimulation period. Your remote control allows you to turn the system on and off as well as select programs and adjust strength. 

While your SCS can’t be damaged by smartphones, microwaves, electronic sensors, or security devices, some of these items can alter the signal your SCS produces. 

If you’re traveling and passing through security gates, don’t forget to carry your implanted device identification card. If any of these devices change the way your stimulator works, you may want to switch your SCS off until you’re clear of the device. 

The biggest impact your SCS has on your life is related to some health care treatments and tests. Chiropractic adjustments may move the implanted probe, and you may have conflicts with procedures like defibrillators, electrocautery, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or ultrasounds. We’ll let you know about the specific limitations of your SCS device. 

When you have difficulty with any chronic pain situation, contact Pain Management 360 by calling our location nearest you or clicking to request an appointment online. There’s no reason to live with pain, so plan your visit today.