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SCS Implant causing rib pain when turned on

CathieCCathie Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
I will once again see my surgeon as well as the reps to try for a 5th time to adjust the leads so I have no rib pain. Last time they turned off 1 back lead, but it didn't work. I had back surgery 3 years ago, which went well. The problem is when they took ALOT of donor bone from my rear pelvis nerves at the sight and down my leg were permanently damaged. The pain is incredible and accute. After many injections and lots of drugs the stim was implanted last August of '09. There is some relief in the leg, minimal at the donor sight. However when the device is on at an adaquate strength it feels like my ribs are being seized and battered. God, I don't know what to do. I'm on Lyrica, Norco, and just put on Zoloft...you guessed it, for depression. Is there anyone who had this happen? What did you do?


  • I'm a lot newer in the stimulator process than you, 7 weeks. I understand the problem with turning the stimulation up to high and causing other problems. I'm having my third programming session this morning and am optimistic that I'll be able to fine tune some things. I'm able to tweak a lot of settings myself, so you could say I'm adjusting the programming frequently.

    Is it possible that your leads have migrated? Keep plugging away with the programming sessions until you find some settings you can live with. If it takes a hundred tries, then so be it.

    I wish you all the best.

  • Generally when the signal is driven to the point of over stimulation of the chest wall, the pulse width is set incorrect. Which brand and model SCS do you have? This information can allow us to better steer the discussion. One of the most common issues with new SCS implants as well as the programming that many company reps do, is trying to drive the signal as deep as possible to really focus on the nerves causing the pain. So the signal gets cranked up as high as the individual can stand it, but then the side effects of chest wall stimulation and muscle spasm occur.

    I have found that instead of trying to drive the signal deep, a more diffused pattern with a longer pulse width is much more comfortable. This allows me to bring the amplitude down and yet still get great coverage without overstimulation problems elsewhere.

    Have you been working with the same rep for each reprogramming session or have you worked with other reps? It can pay to work with a different rep who has had different patients with different results. They too learn as they go, since the rep cannot feel what the patient is feeling, they rely heavily on patient feedback and experience.

    Just food for thought.

  • Welcome to Spine Health.
    I am so sorry you are in such pain. I am also sorry I can't give you any advice on your stimulator.
    "C" knows quite a bit about stimulators and I am sure she will give you good advice.
    Just wanted to wish you the best of luck and I do hope you get this problem worked out in your favor very soon.
    Cheers :H
    Patsy W
  • I am 6 wks post-op origional implantation, 10 days post-op new lead implantation and am having severe rib pain unrelated to the stimulation.

    What my surgeon told me is that if the rib pain is related to the stimulation many times the lead has migrated laterally and will need to be replaced since if you have the paddle leads they can't really just reposition them, have they done x-rays to check and be sure the leads have not moved?

    Good luck, I COMPLETELY understand your frustration!!
  • Your not alone, or depressed, its pain, i have it to, started about six months ago, family doctor sending me back to surgion, he said its coming from my leads in L 7, after scs inplant, ill let you know more when i found out, hang in, your not alone. Roxie
  • Hello,

    Sorry to hear you are having this rib pain. Rib pain with the stimulator turned on typically means one of two things.

    1. The system is in proper position and simply needs to be reprogrammed. Contact your rep.

    2. The lead has migrated. You will need an x-ray to determine this. See your physician.

    Also, check out EDITED

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    Dr. Wiederholz
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