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So A SCS Will Probably Not Help With Back Pain??????

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Pain Management
From everything I have read on here, an scs will probably not help with the back pain????? I have lower back pain, legs, hips, groin area, and butt pain! I have an appt. on the 3rd to discuss my latest tests and the scs. I would hate to think that I have to live like this for the rest of my life! To tell you the truth, I can't really tell what hurts worse. :/


  • I'm not sure a SCS helps with backpain. I have both leg and backpain but don't qualify for a SCS. There are members here that have an SCS and could help you better. Take care and good luck. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I think that's one of those experiential statements that has gotten taken out of context and turned into a "fact" when it's not necessarily true. A lot of those coverage issues will depend on the skill and experience of your surgeon, to know what lead configurations will best address your pain.

    I have a pain pattern that sounds very similar to yours. My pain starts at my waist (sometimes a bit above) and goes through both of my hips, buttocks, both legs, and to the bottoms of both feet. In my lower back, I have a lot of pain related to muscular/skeletal issues, whereas my legs are 100% nerve pain.

    I have the RestoreUltra stimulator with the Specify 5-6-5 Tripolar paddle lead. During my trial, my low back wasn't covered very well, but my doctor told me that he wasn't trying to cover that area at that time. With my permanent implant and programming, I have 100% coverage from my bra line to the bottoms of my feet - and if I need to, I can cover a larger area (up into my ribs and shoulders) by changing my programs a bit.

    The SCS isn't like drugs, where they know the drug acts as an agonist or antagonist to certain receptors in the brain. Researchers don't have an absolutely clear understanding of the mechanism behind why the SCS works the way it does. With the SCS, there are actually more psychological predictors of success than physical ones.

    There's really nobody that can say with certainty that an SCS will or won't impact one type of pain or another; if they could, there would be no need for the trial and you can bet the insurance companies would be the first to jump on that wagon. The only way to know if the SCS will cover your pain for sure is to go through the process and have the trial. :)))
  • BionicWoman said:
    I think that's one of those experiential statements that has gotten taken out of context and turned into a "fact" when it's not necessarily true...............

    ..............There's really nobody that can say with certainty that an SCS will or won't impact one type of pain or another; if they could, there would be no need for the trial and you can bet the insurance companies would be the first to jump on that wagon. The
    only way to know if the SCS will cover your pain for sure is to go through the process and have the trial. :)))
  • pain, my legs and arms are very weak but the pain is in my neck and shoulder blades. My Doctor has talked with me about doing a SCS trial, not sure if it will help with my pain. What are your guys opinion? I know, it can only be an opinion, but those that have one seem to know more than anyone else.
  • can only repeat what I've been told by my docs and ANS/St Jude programmer/representative. Had I complained of more back pain (I have barely any at all), the doctor would have used the Advanced Bionics brand as his experience is that unit covers more back pain.

    My former neurosurgeon in my previous state only used the Medtronics brand, and he had given me a big speech on how the SCS really doesn't treat back pain very well at all, and he hesitates to use them on people who don't have majority nerve pain. He did not move forward recommending the SCS to me until my EMG showed how bad my nerve pain was. I had asked about it occasionally in the year prior to my EMG. He has over 20 years experience and is excellent, so I don't know if that was his personal experience, a limitation of the brand he prefers or simply opinion.

    Since I have almost 100% radiating leg nerve pain, they used the ANS/St. Jude Eon Mini. I have 2 percutaneous leads with 16 nodes and have no back coverage at all. (Having 2 leads is supposed to increase the possibility of back coverage). I have had some back pain since getting the permanent placement 3.5 weeks ago because I am doing more and more with my new "life"!! Luckily for me, if I just take it easy, the back pain goes away quickly.

    Also, something my programmer told me seems very pertinent. She said it happens often that people present with mostly nerve pain, let's say, so they get the SCS and it takes away a majority of the nerve pain. Then guess what?? Some other pain, usually back pain, is able to come to to the forefront of the mind in terms of pain. The nerve pain, being so horrible and constant, overrode the back pain. She sees that frequently as a programmer, and she works with multiple docs in a regional area.

    In fact, I mostly have left leg nerve pain. But in the past and occasionally now, I will have some right leg nerve pain. BUT, because I have had it in the past, they made sure to put in 2 leads, so they can be ready if the right leg nerve pain "turns back on". They didn't know if once they helped my left leg, if my right leg pain would become more prominent.

    When you are able to completely take it easy - no lifting, bending or twisting, no working, no housework, are you not able to differentiate between the pain? Do you have the back pain no matter what you do, even if you follow all the "rules"? That would be tough.

    Take care,

  • I've been reading a lot about this subject. My doctors first choice is a neurostimulator but the problem is that I have 60% mechanical back pain and 40% nerve pain now that I have gone through 2 surgeries and started on cymbalta. They still want to implant something this year and I'm unsure as to what makes sense. If I am going to incur this debt, it better be the right device (stim or pump). I have even read of accounts of people having both put in - stim for nerve, pump for back. Can you imagine going through all that? :?
  • Cheri
    I usually wake at night with my legs, hips, and butt hurting. During the day my lower back likes to join in the little party. I don't have anything else to lose by going ahead with the scs trial, so I probably will. I stay home most of the time. Sometimes I will go to the store or out to eat, but I go straight home afterwards and sometimes I pay for those little trips the next day and sometimes I don't...strange huh?
    If you have exhausted everything else and you are in pain all the time and your doc has suggested the scs AND if I were you I would go ahead with the trial.
    Having both implanted? Wow! I would be willing to do that if I knew it would work! And Bionicwoman has great coverage with hers, so I am going to definitely go ahead with the trial...I am actually excited and looking forward to it!
    Thanks everyone.
  • Just one other thing I think is worth pointing out..

    The SCS is a piece of the puzzle, not a "cure all," even though it appears to be for a lot of us. Some people don't get relief from the SCS for certain types of pain, BUT take a look at those percentages meydey gave up there - 60% mechanical pain, 40% nerve pain.

    If the SCS doesn't do a single thing for the mechanical pain directly and only covers the nerve pain, you still have 40% of the pain covered. That's almost half the problem!

    With half the pain addressed, think of how many more interventions that address mechanical pain - like PT, aquatic therapy, stretching, strengthening - become possible!

    Sometimes it's not about finding the thing, but rather finding the right combination of things. Even things that haven't worked in the past (like PT, for so many of us) will work when it's part of a larger approach. image

  • I think expectations is the key, and most likely why my doc requires the psych evaluation. I knew going in that the goal was 50% reduction in pain, and as "C" said in a former post on another thread, if I ever have a day where I wonder how much the SCS is working, I just turn it off for a few hours and then I'm good to go! lol I turn that puppy right back on and go back to my thankful disposition!!

    I wish luck to anyone considering the SCS and hope they achieve a significant reduction in pain as well.

  • you're right you'll have nothing to lose by doing a trial. I said that to my pain mgmt doc so I tried it. It was floppy and never had "regular" coverage with the percutaneous lead but I still wished they wouldn't take it out.

    You might research all the brands I have a 16 contact paddle lead w/Advanced Bionics Precision Plus and it does give both back and leg pain coverage. It covers them separate or at the same time. My back hurts if I'm doing nothing but becomes severe with activity so some mechanical issues too.

    The doc will discuss what he thinks is best for you.
    good luck
  • I agree, When I did my trial for my csc, It was akward, but the relief was great. I hadn't realized how much my life has changed since having my scs until my battery died last week. I am scheduled for surgery on Tuesday to replace the battery with the rechargeable battery, and I can't wait. I'm already tired of constantly having to take pain medicine, and still not getting enough relief to be able to do the things I had gotten used to doing in the past 2.5 years of having my scs. I am lucky to have a great amount of coverage from my hips all the way down to my feet. My pain is 100% nerve, so the coverage has been perfect. I am also lucky to not have back pain. If I overdo it, I will still have a little more pain the next day, but I can just adjust my scs and usually that takes care of it. Its not a cure all, but a pain score of 2 or 3 is a whole lot better than a 5 or 6.

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    I just wrote a comment that Ive been going to write for a long time. actually about 1 hrs. worth of writing. Was finished and doing my spell check and POOF... gone. I can't believe it. Screw it! I'm done!!!
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!

  • Hello,
    When I first read your message from 30 jan 09, about having 100% coverage from your scs, also that you have stimulation from your shoulders to your buttocks, all I could say is woow & I had to re-read it to make sure that I'd got it right.

    I'm currently having a nightmare with my scs trial. I'm on my 2nd scs trial to help to treat my chonic back pain that I have had for nearly 11 years now, after brakeing my back in 4 places. During the 1st & 2nd trials the leads wheren't placed correctly so instead of stimulating my back area it stimulates my boobs & armpits instead. So I'd love to hear your story & perhaps find out more about your lead placement?
    I'm due back to see my pain management doctor tomorrow who did both of my scs trials, this is to discuss my options & what is going to happen next, I don't know if he'll want to take it out & give up on me or if he'll ask a neurosurgeon to do it for him.

    Thank for reading & I would love to hear back from you, I hope your scs is still hitting all the right spots for you & that it continues to do so in the future, take care x
  • I decided to go through a pump trial only, not both devices. My NS said the pump would help me better because the pain may rise above to the upper levels and the stim wouldn't cover it. He said it's also best because of all the back pain I have and it should also help with my permanently damaged right S1 nerve. I also have nerve pain on the opposite leg and it is made worse by scar tissue pressing on it.

    I didn't like the stim trial. First of all I had a horrible spinal headache from it. The vibrations weren't "soothing" to me and the bottom of my feet felt like they were blown out. I couldn't lay on my back because it would intensify those sensation. I just didn't like it period. I rather have something in me in which I'm not aware of it constantly working. I am looking forward to my pump trial where I'll be hospitalized for a day and will be injected with morphine. I will be monitored the whole time to see if it is effective and if I tolerate the effects. I'm glad it's not a week long trial where I'd go without showering the whole time- one injection works for me.

    I understand there is a lot of confusion regarding if the SCS/ANS/Restore Ultra covers mechanical back pain. I know different models are better suited, but I still believe the pump might be better if you have a lot of back pain. Mine is constant, severe, and persistant; it never lets down and I live lying down on an icepack. 40% of my troubles lie with bilateral nerve pain and I get painful muscle spasms all the time. I hope this works out for me. Excuse the Star Wars pun, but it's my only hope.(for now- I'm not a surgical candidate anymore)
  • I hate it when that happens ~X(
  • i am a 42 year old mom of 5. I have had trouble with my legs for about 5 years now. i have gone to dozens of doctors and finally one did surgery on my spine. it worked for about 1 month than I started hurting worse. I have had 3 steroid injectins and now my back is killing me and no relief at all in my legs. My doctor refered me to a pain specialist who suggested SCS. I am scared but am soo tired of hurting! Thanks for all the advice!!

  • I have had a lot of problems with the Medtronic Neurostimulator that I have implanted with the rechargable battery. I had thought I would be able to get off pain meds with it. Instead it causes more pain than I had before. It has been a nightmare! Has anyone else had problems?
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    Hello South Texan,
    Below this part of the post is a link to our Spinal cord stimulation forum. It might be better to post your questions in that forum since it is geared specifically toward the SCS portion of pain management.

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