Spinal cord stimulation is a way of hacking into your nervous system to disable the pain signals coming from your spine. If your back or neck pain is severe and not responding to other treatments, Dr. Barry F. Faust, Jr. of Faust Interventional Pain in Metairie, Louisiana, performs spinal cord stimulation trials to make sure the treatment works for you. To find out more about spinal cord stimulation and how it could relieve your pain, schedule a consultation online or call Dr. Faust's office today to book an appointment. Dr. Faust is proud to provide care to patients throughout New Orleans, Slidell, Metairie, and the surrounding areas.
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a treatment that could benefit you if your chronic back or neck pain isn't improving despite undergoing extensive rehabilitation.
A spinal cord stimulator device consists of an implantable generator attached to leads that Dr. Faust attaches to your spine.
The stimulator sends electrical impulses into the nerve tissue that's sending pain signals to your brain. These impulses scramble the signals to produce a soothing, tingling sensation or, with newer devices, no sensation at all.
You control the spinal cord stimulator with a remote programmer that adjusts the frequency and intensity of the electrical impulses in line with the severity of your pain.
Spinal cord stimulation isn't a frontline treatment, as it requires several minimally invasive surgical procedures. Most patients don't reach the stage where spinal cord stimulation is necessary because there are many less invasive treatments, from physical therapy and medication to epidural steroid injections and radiofrequency ablation.
However, if your back or neck pain is severe or disabling and you aren't getting relief from these other therapies, you could be a candidate for spinal cord stimulation.
The patients who benefit most from this treatment tend to be those with nerve-related spinal pain — cervical radiculopathy in the neck or lumbar radiculopathy in the lower back.
These conditions occur when pressure on the spinal nerves causes pain and problems like tingling, numbness, and weakness in the limbs. The pressure often arises from conditions like osteoarthritis and bone spurs, spinal stenosis, and herniated discs.
If Dr. Faust believes you're a good candidate for spinal cord stimulation, he arranges a trial for you to make certain the treatment will help.
A spinal cord stimulation trial involves having a minor surgical procedure to insert temporary leads into your back. Dr. Faust anesthetizes your skin before passing the leads into your spine via a needle or small incision. This creates an access point to the epidural space surrounding your spinal cord.
To ensure the accurate placement of the leads, you need to be awake for this procedure. Dr. Faust can then check with you about what lead position offers optimal pain relief.
When the leads are in the right place, Dr. Faust connects them to your trial stimulator, an external device you use for the trial period.
If the spinal cord stimulation trial produces worthwhile results, you can proceed with full implantation. This requires another minimally invasive procedure to implant your permanent spinal cord stimulator.
When nothing else is helping with your pain, talk to Dr. Faust about spinal cord stimulation. Call Faust Interventional Pain today or book an appointment online.