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SCS Recovery - Sooo Confused! How long will I be out?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Pain Management
I am so confused. The Doc called today to schedule my trial. I thought it was going to take longer to get approval so I haven't exactly figured things out with work yet. I asked the nurse how long I should expect to be out for the trial and the permanant procedure and she said I could go to work THE NEXT DAY! That is not at all what I have read. I have a desk job and work at the computer all day. Am I going to be able to wear normal clothes to work? What is up with the disparity between what they say and what I read? Has anyone been able to get back to it so quickly after the surgery? The nurse said they only dont want you to pick up heavy items. I don't know what to tell my employer or how to schedule this because I have so much going on. Help!


  • Hi,
    I had a trial last week. This trial was for occipital nerve pain. I already have a perm. SCS for arm pain. So, I have been through the trial twice. Both times I took off time from work until the leads were taken out. No way would I go to work during the trial. The tape bugs, tons of tape. The leads are positional during the trial. The leads are not stitched in or held in place by scar tissue so they float a bit. I needed to be sort of still to get a really good feel for the stimulation. Mine is for cervical issues, maybe lumbar is different. Also, you can't take a shower during the trial. How can you work without taking a full shower? I was taking sponge baths. That is not the same as a shower. If you have anymore questions I would be happy to answer them.

    Take care and good luck,
  • Thanks Melissa. Mine is for cervical also. That is very true.. I would not go to work without a shower. No way! What about after the permanant implant, would you say ride in a car for 4 hours a week after the perm? Or go to a wedding? Or be able to wear jeans? I guess I am most worried about the ipg implant. Thank you for the answers.
  • I was not able to wear jeans for several weeks after my permanent implant. Then I had to buy jeans a size larger just to be comfortable.

    My SCS is a cervical one and I was able to ride the subway, ride in a car and walk through museums on the 4th day post op. I had no narcotics and used only tylenol and celebrex. I have 2 percutaneous leads in my neck and the IPG is in my right upper "cheek". I made the flight back to Japan 3 weeks post op and that is 30 hours of travel between all domestic and international flights, layovers and car rides.
    I went back to work 2 days after returning to Japan.

    Everyone has different experiences. The key is to make your own. I felt so much better, that I had to be careful to not over do things while I was healing.

  • How soon you go back to work after your permanent implant will be up to your Doctor.
    I am sure you will not work during the trial. My trial was only for 4 days but again how long your trial will be will be up to your Doctor. Some trials are longer than 4 days. My pain comes from my Lumbar region L4 & L5. All my pain is in my legs and feet.
    Depending on the leads they use there is surgery pain and you will be sore. One kind of lead is more painful than the other but both are painful. You can't lift anything over 5 lbs, raise hands over your head and no bending or twisting.
    Everything has to scar into place so it will not shift on you. It takes time for scaring to heal over.
    Good luck with your trial. I hope it helps you as much as it has me.
    May the sun always shine on you.
    Patsy W
  • Hi,
    I had the permanent scs surgery two times. So I went through the same recovery twice. My leads migrated and that is why I had to have a second surgery. I was in a neck brace for 6 weeks both times. I did not drive the entire time(due to the brace)but I did ride in a car from time to time. I had to go the doctors office after a few days to have the incisions checked. They want to make sure nothing is infected. I did not feel like getting out much for two weeks. I went in for program adjustments after the swelling subsided. I think it was after 3 weeks. I was very swollen at the battery site and very, very bruised where the wires were tunneled under my skin. My battery is located on my side, under my arm and against my ribs. I wore comfotable clothing during the recovery.You might be able to go to a wedding but I would not dance. You really do not want to get bumped. My doctor is very strict and did not want me moving around too much. I was taking walks after a day or so but was not able to really exercise for 12 weeks. I am going to have another permanent implant done in a few weeks. This time the leads will be placed much higher and the coverage will be in the back of my head. My new battery will be implanted on my other side. (now I will be even)I am not looking forward to 6 weeks of recovery. I dread the brace. However, I depend on the SCS that I currently have so much. I never turn it off. I look forward to some relief
    for my head pain. It will be worth it.

    I wish you all the best!


  • I had an 8 day trial. It was placed on Wednesday morning. I stayed home till Monday and went in to work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and they pulled the lead on Thursday. I chose to do a little more than I should have the last 2 days of my trial. I did this for the simple reason I wanted to see what I could do.

    I guess maybe I don't understand why you all can not get clean with a sponge bath? My wife assited me with washing parts I could not wash, I did not attract flies and no-one wrinkled their nose when I walked by!!!

    I am at week 4 post permanent implant. It seems to be doing very well. It is a cervical placement, single lead. It is positionally variable but seems to be "stable" as movements in certain directions produce the same repeatable effect. I was told I can wean off the neck brace except for when I am riding in a car. I was originally told to wear the brace the full 6 weeks, but he expressed that they now don't want to risk muscle weakness? I give up, this stuff changes so often I can't figure it out at all!

    I return to a restricted desk job. Oh, my Pm asked if there were stairs at work. I said yes but I can use the elevator. He told me to do so and avoid repeated use of stairs. I had not heard that one before!

    Recovery from the permanent. I felt pretty miserable the first 2 weeks, between 2-3 things got a lot better. I feel pretty good now.
  • I am back home now after having my permanent SCS implant on June 4th. I spent a week at my sisters and perhaps should have stayed another week as I live alone.
    Stimulator is working great but i have pain at the surgery site and am still very weak and tire very easily. I can't wear slacks or shorts coz of the surgery site. It is at my waist. My leads and battery are very close togather in my lumbar region L4 & L5.
    My stimulator has to cover both legs from my knees down to my feet.
    Yesterday I had a lot of foot pain that the stimulator did not help at all. It turned out to be socks i had on that was to tight around my ankles and that was causing me pain!! I tossed them in the trash.LOL
    You are not going to feel ike doing much for a few weeks. Take your time recovering. You will need it.
    Best of luck to you.
    Patsy W
  • Thanks. I think I have finally come to the realization that I will not be able to do everything in a matter of days. it won't kill me to take it easy for awhile.

  • :? I have just had scs surgery on my L4L5 and I find that my back is very sore only had clips out on tuesday last. the system is working well but still on my patches and pain killers 3 times a day so when i get back up to the surgon on the 29ht july I will see what happens. my side where the battery is is not that bad with pain but my back is worse than I thought it would be. have to go to have an ultrasound on monday week and see what they are going to do with my tummy have had alot of surgery on that in the past few years so hopefully it wont affect my back going to a pain management clinic for 3 week course on how to manage pain that should be of intrest it will not be until the end of sept or begining of october that that will happen 5days a week for 3 weeks chat soon Misty.
    would like to here from someone that has had the same done
    have 2 leads in back.
  • I to have had a scs implanted on 7/2 and revised on 7/10 because the first on they had to put me completely under due to the fact they had to drill into old thoracic fusion and had to wait to test me in recovery. All my stim was directed on my left side and I needed it on the rightside. They went back in on 7/10 to move leads and I got better relief. I have had scoliosis since age 12 and have had 2 thoracic fusions. The dr. said when he looks at my spinal cord form the back he is actually looking at the front of my spinal cord thats haw bad my spine is twisted. I felt real good 3 days post-op then started feelin really crappy days 7 & 8 felt more like days 1-2 post-op again. Wonderin if I did too much or is this normal. I wish I could find someone in my area that is going through a similar ordeal just to talk with cuz noone knows what u go through unless uv'e been there. I am from northeast PA
  • That's how I felt after mine was implanted. I noticed the biggest improvement between weeks 2-3. I'm over two months past now and my ipg is almost a zero on the pain scale. I really would have to push and twist on it to bother me.

    My back is a whole other can of worms. It bothers me quite a bit during weather changes and when trying to do even light things. It seems to maybe be improving, but sometimes I doubt it is at all. I'm learning an hour doing something is better than nothing, so that is how I am trying to do things. frustrating to say the least.

    Give it time to heal, make sure to go for a tuneup whenever coverage changes as they can do a LOT with programmin, a LOT.

    I'm just about diagonally opposite you and just over the Pa line in WV. Lots of people around who are workign through the SCS experience. Just always remember, it is not a cure, just another form of treatment.

  • Hi all. I had a 3 level fusion L3-4 thru S1 done in Sept '09. I'm told the surgery was successful; fusion took place, and all is supposed to be good. WELL...permanent nerve damage; pain in legs and feet sometimes intolerable. I had the SCS done < 2 weeks ago. The surgeon had to remove more bone than expected due to scar tissue from the trial, so I believe I'm feeling a bit more pain than what is usual. Have NO pain in legs and feet; just the normal pain from the surgery. That will pass. I'm feeling good about this; hopefully will be able to report back with successful news. It would be the answer to my 15+ years of suffering and a very reduced quality of life.
  • kia155kkia155 Hedgesville, , WVPosts: 8
    I had my trial 2 weeks ago  thinking it was going to be a piece of cake.  I  asked the nurse before  what would I be able to do after permanent, even maybe swim?  Yes she said.  I wish I would have researched better. I see a lot now,none I like. I am the tightest 'muscle' person on earth so maybe this is truly an odd situation I am in...I knew immediately that it was going to help or eliminate hand and arm pain I suffer. I was happy and thrilled.  But....,
    When I sat up I was nauseated and had pinching ;in my shoulder which I expressed and the reply was "never Heard of that happening.It went from that  to shortness of breath and dizzy which again after two days when removing wire I told that doctor. It went from nausea to horrible acid in esophagus.  Pain spasms all over my spine and swelling in all the muscles especiallly the one going around to my stomach I got was you must of caught bug octor said symptons were not due to stimulator, this was becoming a pat answer. ice then heat helped.Called the offices next day, now shoulders and neck,They said must be I got a bug drs said not due to stimulator, this was becoming a pat answer.. So they said to go to Primary doc? I couldn't believe this,so tried one last time with spasms and said "Look I am not saying this was caused by stimulator I am saying I need someone to help me!  Maybe some muscle relaxers???   She would let doc know and call back.  Waited from 8am till 4pm no call back.  Next day on the way in to see Primary care doc I got call from WALGREENS My muscle relaxers were filled; asked PCdoc to give me something for nausea .  The meds helped but going into 3rd week and now noticed a raised place at chest sternum and sore bottom rib sore and  bone protruding out;also sore.  It feels like my whole spine has moved forward?  i am very scared as I have no doctor to listen to me.  the rep bothe docs at spine center and nurses all act like I am crazy??
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    Hello kia155 !
    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    This is a very old discussion so I am going to close it, the original poster is no longer a member
    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
This discussion has been closed.
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