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SCS or Pain Pump ??

tcb294ttcb294 Posts: 20
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Pain Management
OK, I confused now.

I had ALIF l5-S1 a year ago, L2-3-4 are bulged, DDD, moderate facet disease. It kills me to sit more than 15 minutes with pain into my right buttocks. I've had RFA's that didn't change anything. I'm on opana ER and nurotin right now, lortab for break through. It's not doing very good right now.

PM sent me to NS. NS said he could do more fusion and said there was only a 30% chance of any improvement and recommend a SCS or pain pump. I was leaning toward the pump until I was talking to my OS today about my knee problems. He also specializes in back surgery. He said he's only done one pump and uses SCS. PM gave me my choice as to which I wanted. I didn't think SCS was for me if,,it's based on the same theory as TENS since I've got my TENS maxed out. I see the shrink Thursday.

Could you guys give me some feed back,,please,,,thanks

Would it be possbile to fish offshore with either? Or would the pounding be to much on the leads/caths. I'm about to give up this sport anyway. I fish one day and stay in bed the next day paying for it. Just a sport I've enjoyed with my kids. I probably should take up something a little easier on the back.




  • I would definitely seek out another opinion. If your ortho has only done one pump, then obviously he is going to favor the SCS over the pump. What you need is someone to make a recommendation based off of your condition and not their personal experience.

    If I had a surgeon tell me there was a 30% chance of improvement via a surgical procedure, I would take it. That's just me personally. Once you are "strapped" to an SCS or pain pump, life as you knew it changes forever. I would take the 30% chance and if that doesn't work then I would consider the alternatives. That's me speaking as to what I personally would do. I'm not a doc, just someone who has been there done that got the t-shirt and SCS.

    Now, to address your question on whether or not you could still fish offshore. I can only speak to that in respect to the SCS. I do a lot of time in boats off shore in rough water and calm. I dive, do underwater film making, lift weights, cook, clean, wash and wax the truck ... I do basically everything I did before, only with less pain. I can even go camping and live without electricity for about 3 weeks before I need to find a power source to recharge my SCS and charging assembly. MY back and neck aren't the prettiest, but I refuse to give up doing all that I love. I have even discovered I can garden and do yard work once again.

    I hope this helps answer a few of your questions. Keep talking to your docs and get as many "no kidding" opinions from them in regards to your condition and their recommended method of helping you. Let us know what happens.

  • From my experience, doctors opt for trying you out with a neurostimulator before considering putting in a pain pump. If the stim trial doesn't help, then the pump trial is the next option. This is what happened with me after my fusion didn't relieve my pain. I felt worse than I did pre op. Currently I'm hoping to have my pain pump surgery soon so I can have a chance at a better quality of life. I think you should read everything you can about either procedures and the risks involved. More importantly you need to know how life will be like after implantation. Once you have a pain pump put in, they say you are married to your pain doctor from now on. You have to commit to keeping all your appts and taking care of your implant by abiding to certain restrictions. You can try searching on the Medtronic website for more info. Whatever you chose to do, I hope it works out. Take care
  • Thanks. I've been on medtronics web site and done alot of reading.

    C I was thinking along the same lines as to the surgery. I had a buddy and a few more fusions did the trick for him.

    If the 40's are like this, I can't wait till the 50's,,,LOL

  • Yup my 40's have been a heck of a bumpy ride. If it weren't for having a surgeon who refused to be intimidated by his peers, I'd probably never see my 50's and on. Now I'm knocking on the door and looking forward to the rest of the journey.

    Keep us posted on your progress.

  • I had a long sit down with my PM today. I'm going to do a SCS trail as soon as my ins approves. Hopefully next week. It will be a week trail, No showers? What?

    I'll have to go to my NS for the permanant SCS. I'll have a long talk with him before doing it permanantly.
  • i turn down both the scs and the pain pump.this is just me, but after reading the ones that it didn't work for was enought for me to say no.
  • OK, I'm clear for my SCS trail but I put it on hold for a couple of weeks.

    I had a buddy a couple of hours away hook me up with his NS. I sent him copies of my surgury reports/mri's and he looked at them to see if he might be of help before giving me an appointment.

    Great Doc, I was impressed with him and his office. He recomended a mylogram and EMG nerve study before proceeeding with the scs. He said that if a nerve is pinched the scs wouldn't help?? I peeked at my last MRI w/contrast CD that I took to him and I have to agree it was a bad MRI the quality was very bad.

    I read in another post tonight that scs work best for extermity pain and not for localized pain say in your lumbar region?? Is that correct?

    I'm really hoping he might find something to fix so I can forgo the scs. I've really gotten cold feet about it.

  • That is awesome that your buddy's NS was willing to take a look at your reports and MRI. If there is something that can be done surgically to correct the problem, that would be awesome! Yes, no need to put a rag in the opening to the gas tank when you can just go buy a new gas cap!

    You read correctly that most people (patients and docs) will tell you that the SCS works for radicular pain a greater percentage of the time than it does for lower back or generalized pain. However, there are some of us who do get pain relief for more than just the radicular pain. It is a very individualized result.

    If there is even a glimmer of hope at finding a fix, wow, go for it!

    Keep us up to date.

  • I am also waiting for the SCS trial. Right now I have to do the psych appointment before they will schedule me. My pain management Dr. has told me that he has been successful in helping the pain in both the back and legs, which is my problem. So, if you go through the tests and find out you are an SCS candidate I would try to find a Dr. who has had more sucess in this area.

    Good luck.
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