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Second Day of trial questions

suegreessuegree Posts: 13
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
I'm on the second day of my trial. I'm being distracted by the pain from the procedure.
I"m finding it difficult to adjust to the extreme changes in level of stimulation when ever I change any position. Even sitting in a chair varies according to how much my entire back contacts the back of the chair.

Also, to get the stim high enough I get pounding in anal area.
I will call the rep tomorrow (Monday) to see about re-programming but I'm not sure what to due since it's Sunday.
It definitely helps the pain.

The other question I have is about pain meds during the trial. I'm already on the Fentanyl Patch 50McG and Tramadol. The PM added hydromethodone for the pain from the procedure. I worried that all this is masking my pain too much to tell how much the SCS works.


  • Hi Sue,

    Having just completed my trial hopefully I can help:

    1) My rep recommended that I ice my back where the wires came out the first few days. I used a lot of ice the first two days of my trial and it seemed to help with the pain. For me, I found the pain from the procedure was greatly diminished after 48 hours, so hopefully by tomorrow your pain will be calmed down so you can better evaluate how the SCS is working.

    2) The only thing I can think of to decrease the change in stim with position changes is to just turn down the intensity before you move and then turn it back up once you're in the new position. My rep assured me that the permanent implants don't change quite as much as the trial since the scar tissue helps hold things in place. I think no matter what, though, when you change positions it will change the intensity of the stimulation.

    3) Reprogramming, which you mentioned, is the only thing I can think of to help decrease the painful anal stimulation you're getting. It might also help you get even better coverage since you won't be in as much pain from the procedure and can better direct them as far as where the stimulation feels best for your usual pain.

    4) I would definitely talk to your PM doc about the meds.

    Best of luck!! Hopefully you can meet with your rep tomorrow and he/she can address these questions with respect to your specific case.
  • The best way to tell if its working is to turn it off for a couple of hours and see how you fair. As far as being positional, that's typical for a trial. My suggestion would be to lay down rather than trying to sit in a chair when relaxing.

    Good Luck.

  • One thing that you will find that varies from doctor to doctor, is whether or not they recommend continuing with normal pain meds or stopping/decreasing them for the trial.

    When I decided to go through the trial, it was because the pain meds and other therapies I used, were not effectively controlling my pain. So stopping pain meds for the trial would have given me the wrong idea as to whether or not the SCS was effective. Most patients with an SCS, still require other meds in order to effectively manage their pain. Having someone stop taking pain meds before a trial can really skew the results (in my opinion) because now that individual is thrown into a pain flare that is not indicative of their normal daily pain.

    Here's another way to look at it. If pain meds are effectively controlling an individual's pain, then why even consider a medical implant. Unless that person has some sort of horrible side effects from the medication, why not just continue along with what works. Why put someone through surgery to implant some device that still won't completely control their pain? (again just my opinion)

    Dave is right, shutting the trial stimulator down for a few hours, will do a great job of letting you know if it's helping or not. I did just that and was stunned by how much the stimulator was helping.

    Trial stim leads are only stitched to your skin and move around a lot. Permanent leads are either surgically sewn into the epidural space, or anchored to the deep fascia. Once they scar in, then the "positional" issues are not as dramatic. If you also look at the thread started by BionicWoman, there's research and trials going on for a sensor that automatically adjust stimulators based on the change in body position.

    Hope this helps. Good luck with the rest of your trial.

  • I'm doing better. I went in for reprogramming today which helped. I was able to concentrate more as I was sleepy after the procedure. The ANS rep spent more time with me and explained the process more. I didn't realize the speed of the cycles could be reduced. I can't stand the stabbing feeling. I'm still having trouble covering the one area that's worse on the right side just below the waist. Also, I'm having trouble getting it to work on sciatica.

    I realize that the permanent one will cover better.

    Thanks for everyone's support.
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