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Spinal Cord Stimulators good or bad need opinions

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
Had alif fusion w/bmp on l5 s1 last year. Just had facet blocks which did nothing and still in pain. Having a hard time walking now doctor wants me to have spinal cord stimulator hearing good and bad things. I need some people to write me and let me know there experiences so i can make a informed choice.


  • if you are in pain and the scs is an option for you then the only mistake you can make is to not try it. it works for some and not others but the good thing is you get a trial before it's inserted. :H it didnt work for me but at least i tried. nothing ventured nothing gained. i say go for it!
    by the way this is a great site with tons of info on the scs. :H type scs in search and you will learn a lot. i hope you stay with us and share your experiences as you wind along this crazy painful road. :-C

  • Welcome to Spine Health. While there is a lot of information here about the good, the bad and the ugly of Spinal Cord Stimulation, the first thing to ask, is have you ruled out all other possible treatment options? Have you been back to see a different surgeon for a new evaluation? What kind of imaging studies have you had done since your surgery? There are some people who have had issues with BMP, so that might be something else to add to your research.

    I have an SCS and it does a lot in helping me manage the pain and spaticity issues I experience. There are many others who have not had as positive of an experience with spinal cord stimulation. A trial is one of the best ways to know if it will potentially work for you. A trial is generally mandatory prior to any SCS implant.

    Do a bunch of reading and write down the questions that it generates. Take those questions to your doc and see what kind of response you get.

    Any implant is a heavy responsibility and contrary to the fluffy marketing stuff that all the different companies put out about spinal cord stimulation, it's not all glamor and glitz. It does work and can work for many, it's just something you want to do your homework on before making any decisions.

  • Ditto on what C said. If you have any questions feel free to ask publicly or through a PM. I'm about 1 month out from having my permanent implant. The road has been a little bumpy but getting better. My problem areas are similar to yours.


  • "C" has given you some very good advice.(as usual)
    I too have problems walking. My pain is in both feet and legs up to my knees.
    What pain medications are you on? Do they help any? In my opinion, a person should not consider an SCS if your pain is being controlled by medication. Even with an SCS implant you will still have to take pain medication. An SCS is considered a success IF it reduces your pain by 50%.
    I just had my SCS removed. It was doing nothing for my pain. The constant tingling on TOP of my pain drove me bonkers. The SCS also caused me bladder problems and made me itch like crazy. Both of those problems cleared up with the removal. I also feel much better now that the SCS has been removed. These problems are rare so do not let my experiance scare you.
    Best of luck to you. Please keep us updated.
    Patsy W :H
  • I've had my Medtronics SCS (2 percutaneous leads, lumbar spine area, battery pack placed in lower left abdominal area) in since 10/20/09 now and it has been effective in reducing my chronic pain levels (leg pain due to failed back syndrome). I've gone back once recently for some reprogramming and now have 16 different programs which I can choose from and the options are nice depending on what I'm doing at the time. I can't honestly say that at times it's not troublesome and annoying, but nothing is perfect and it does work as advertised...just takes some getting used to since what's normal about having a device implanted under your skin??

    So in summary, I would say that going the SCS route with the understanding that it's a "pain management" device ONLY is worth a try...I'm glad that I did and so far it's working out for me.

  • I agree with a lot of the others in this post. You should definately make sure that you have tried all other possible routes first and ensure that there is nothing else surgically that can be fixed with your back. Make sure that you get all of your questions answered so you are fully informed going into things. The trial will really tell you a lot.

    I am now 7 weeks out and very glad that I had the SCS implant. I have been able to reduce my pain meds by about half so far and my family has told me that they have seen a dramatic positive impant on my mood and personailty. I consider the SCS as another tool that helps me to deal with the pain. It isn't a total solution.

    As far as whether you should have the SCS when the medication is relatively controling your pain, I think that is a personal decision. The strongest med I was on at the time of my SCS was norco. I didn't want to go on anything stronger because I have a very mentally challenging job that I love and a very active 5 yr old. Plus I didn't want to be on long-acting opiates for the long term. So the SCS was the right choice for me.

    The SCS does come with its own challenges and burdens so the decision shouldn't be made lightly. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.
  • I just had one put in after deaing with touc pain fo 2 years. I have a fusion done on L4-L5 and the pain was only in my right leg and after the surgery I was in way more pain. I now have pain in my lower back down both legs and their have been times I wish I couldn't feel my legs. I finally thought about the stimulator or the pump and drugs are not the answer so I had the stimulator put in and it seems to help. But sence I turn it up as far as it can go which i was told i am the first paient they have ever had that has to turn it up as high as it can go. which is making the system fail and am going to have another surgery to change the battery because I have to charge it every 10-12hrs or it just dies. I am only 29 and have been through hell and would say I would try this before the pump because the morphine pump is really bad for your body and health. Feel free to ask me anything about the stimulator. I have heard gd things from other paitence about it. I have been told by a doc that if it starts causing more pain get it taken out asap before it causes more damage.
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