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Nerve Stimulator for Thoraic Spine

DegenerativeShellyDDegenerativeShelly Posts: 279
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
~X( My Pain Specialist wants to trial a stimulator for my thoracic region..
Im really interested to hear from anyone got one for the area


  • I've read of people on here who have nerve stimulators, but I don't think I've read of one being used in the thoracic area.

    Just wanted to let you know that I hope they manage to find a way to control your pain, without having to resort to surgery.

    Hope someone will answer your post with some helpful information.

    How are you doing with your fusion recovery?
  • Hi, Shelly. I'm with you. Now that I had my lumbar surgery, I'm going to have a stimulator to take care of cervical and thoracic pain. (Surgery at either of these areas is not something I choose to consider at this point.)
  • I'm an L-spiney and I'm about to have my SCS trial, but when I was first discussing it with my doctor a few months ago we were tossing around the idea of trying to get thoracic coverage in addition to lumbar coverage because I have an anterior herniation at T12. My thoracic pain was minimal relative to the lumbar pain and responded well to an ESI so we're not trying to get thoracic coverage, but what my doctor told me in our discussions is that it can be very difficult, but still possible, to get thoracic coverage with a SCS.

    There are technical reasons that have to do with the thickness of the spinal cord and the CSF volume where they place the leads for thoracic coverage which makes it hard. One issue my doctor said is that there is a tendency to get extraneous stimulation of other areas (ribs, abdomen) which is uncomfortable.

    Everyone's anatomy is different, and the only way to find out whether it will work is to do the trial. You may want to ask your doctor how much success he has had in covering thoracic pain, and if you're interested just ask him about what the challenges are in covering thoracic pain.
  • Part of the biggest problems with an SCS once the leads are properly placed, is the programming. Especially for a non-cervical placement, the company reps tend to force as much signal at the specific nerve roots to provide comfort. As Lala pointed out, dura thickness plays a big role, because the thicker it is the stronger the signal has to be. So many times, by boosting the signal enough to get certain coverage, it will wind up stimulating the chest wall or ribs. Also pulse width plays into this.

    So if you have a good trial, then the key is to work with the rep to ensure your programming is done correctly to meet your needs, and not just some "text book" settings that are recommended.
  • THank you for all yor help...I have many ??? to ask my Specialist regarding the procedure now.

    Take care all and try to have a pain free day..
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