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SCS and leg locking up

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Pain Management
I was just wondering if anyone else with a stim. has experienced this? On higher settings, I will be walking and all of a sudden, my leg will lock up or my knee will give out on me. It's on with certain programs and also on higher settings.



  • That happens when you create too much of a "bottle neck" in your spinal column and instead of just blocking out the pain signals, the basic functional messages can't get through either.

    I just decrease the amplitude when that happens. If the lower amplitude doesn't mask the pain well enough, I increase the rate instead and it usually solves the problem.

    Since you're recently post-op, you might want to work with your programmer on your next visit and have him/her try to set up a program that you can use specifically at the higher amplitudes with less of a muscular effect.
  • Thanks for your response, Bionic. That's quite interesting. I emailed my Medtronic Rep. about it to see what she has to say...
  • Spinal cord stimulation is based on the gate control theory, which was first published back in 1965.

    In a nutshell, the basic theory behind SCS says:

    "...by electrically stimulating large fibers of the spinal cord, painful small fiber information would be shut down at that spinal segment and all other information downstream from that segment would be shut down as well."

    At the lower amplitude, the gate has more open space for signals to flow though; as the amplitude increases, the SCS takes up more and more space through the "gate" and creates that "bottle neck."

    It's kind of like chattering on a CB radio, so that two people can't understand each other. If two people are communicating and just one person is chattering, the 2 people can usually put together enough to understand the message. If 20 people get on the band and start chattering, those 2 people don't stand a chance of communicating with each other.
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