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Seeking electronic stimulator feedback

pete81241pete81241 Posts: 1,194
Hi....I have chronic leg pain from stenosis, degenerative disc disease and neural foramen narrowing. I experience numbness, aching pain, and cramping. I have had many surgeries with no pain relief. My PM Dr. tells me an electronic spine stimulator may help. May I please have some feedback from people who have undergone this treatment.
Thanks, pete


  • If you type "spinal cord stimulator" into the search box, you will see that there are several threads on this topic. I think several of them are under the "Pain Management" heading.

    There are a number of people on the board who have these devices implanted. Hopefully one of them will see your post. But, in the meantime, run a search and read others' comments.
  • hello,

    I underwent the trial stimulator that last for a week. I have to admit it did help my leg pain. It was pretty strange though. My legs basically felt as if they were vibrating, so much so that I would have thought that anyone looking would have been able to see them moving, or if they touched them they could feel, but of course that was not the case, because the sensation is coming from your brain. I was going to get the permanent implant done, but I herniated another disc, so now i went back to a surgeon, and will be undergoing a discogram and then back to the surgeo to discuss fuison. Now, the downside of having the stimulator, it that you cannot have another MRI of any part of your body, period. My pain doctor, of course, was all for it, the surgeon felt that in my case it should be used as a last resort because i am 34 years old, and the fact that you cannot have any real diagnostic testing done. I work in law doing disbility and comp and have heard good things about the stimulator. One person i know could barely get out of bed, but is now running three miles a day after the stimulator. Hope this helps. Haved you ever had a discogram done? what is that like? What about your fusion surgery was it a three level? What was that like for you, and how much time did you have to take off work? Thanks!

    L3-4 recent herniated disc compressing thecal sac
    L4-5 Herniated disc
    bilateral lumbar laminectomy performed at the wrong level, was supposed to be L4-5, instead apparently was done at L3-4, degenerative disc disease l3-5
    Spondylosis, hypertrophic facet joint, conservative management has failed thus far, currently taking, norco, valium, zanaflex, neurontin and cymbalta, still have severe low back and leg pain.
  • thanks so much for answering my quest for info... you and i seem to be in the same boat! Also we are both new to this web cite. i too had error in surgery. tri level fusion in neck failed because screws came loose from vertebrae. that's not supposed to happen at the mass. general in boston. i take it your old surgeon won't be doing your next procedure!
    i don't have knowledge of the discogram. there is a little write up by an MD on this web cite. It said there is some pain and you are awake. they want you to tell them if there's pain!
    recovery from fusion surgery is a bit longer than other spine surgeries. One concern is that the side suport that screws into the vertebrae has to grow into the bone. in fact i was given an electronic bone growth stimulator, similar to a tens unit, to speed up healing process. my recollection is that it took 3 months for bones and surgery to heal. I was up and walking within a few days of the surgery. I am retired but if i was working i would estimate i would have returned in a month. (i had desk job)
    By the way when i received my lumbar fusion i had to wear a stiff, hot back suport for a month.
    considering you work in law how is your concentration with all those meds?
    I used to be on lots of meds but i got very depressed and really didn' t get much pain relief so now i just take tylenol and a pill that's in the ibeprophen family. no more depression but plenty of pain!
    i was aware of the stimulator interfering with mri but my Dr. says the stimulator is my only hope for pain relief and if necessary stimulator can easily be removed to do mri. I have yet to meet the neurosurgeon that will do permanent insert of stimulator. believe it or not trail failed because there was no space in spine through which to insert lead. they felt around for two hours trying to find an opening.
    I'm running out of words now but feel free to contact me in the future. :))) pete b

  • I have done a lot of research on spinal cord stimulators and one thing they are not, is easy to remove just for the sake of an MRI. Most especially if it is a cervical SCS where more than likely percutaneous leads will/are used. The problem with MRI and neurostimulators, is that the leads will heat up from the MRI and will sear whatever they happen to be touching. Well that means searing nerves and spinal cord, not something I hope to ever experience or hear of happening.

    There are plenty of other good diagnostic tests available, that a skilled physician can utilize to determine a problem without the use of MRI. They may not b pleasant, but if necessary, who cares. I certainly wouldn't.

    When it comes down to it, if the SCS is necessary to control pain that nothing else can, then the benefit will outweigh the risk.

  • C is correct. The benefits from the SCS implant far outweigh the risks.
    I am sitting here now waiting for the Pain Doc to call back with my date for my permanent stimulator implant.
    I had a fusion at L4 & L5 and scar tissue is causing me severe pain in my legs and feet. The relief when I had the trial was wonderful. The tingling I can take any day over the constant pain I feel 24/7. The pain is savage!!
    I am on a lot of heavy duty pain meds that do not help much. I will be able to cut back on my doses after the implant and I am thankful for that.
    Good luck on what you decide to do.
    May the sun always shine on you.
    Patsy W
  • thanks you for good advice
    Patsy, you sound very optimistic about the stimulator. it's great that it works for you.
    sounds like we are both in the same shape pain wise.
    My situation is really strange. I had a trial attempt and because the bones of my spine are so tight they couldn't find a space through which to snake the lead. TWO HOURS ON THE TABLE AND NO TRIAL!
    The PM Dr feels that the stimulator will work for me. The plan is to insert the scs surgically then wake me up to see what the coverage is and if all is well, leave it in and sew me up!
    I'm a little aprehensive because after my last surgery I got a bad infection in the spine and had to be operated on again to fix infection.
    Patsy you've told scores of people here don't ever give up. that is soooo true. Thanks again for everyone's advice }:) }:) }:)
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