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SCS questions

atwitsendaatwitsend Posts: 33
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
Hey all,

I'm awaiting my insurance to approve a trial for an SCS. Which I hope to hear back soon.

I was reading through the posts and have a few questions.

What kind of limitations, if any, come with an SCS?
Can you resume normal activities?

I am shifted off to the left side and can't stand longer than a few minutes unless I'm on my meds.

Will the SCS help with this?

I would really like to hear from people who have one implanted and how it limits or doesn't limit your life. I feel like I am going into this blind.
Can someone tell me how it helps you??

Really all I want to do is get some function back so I can go back to work.

Its hard to be hopeful even though that's all we have to hold on to.


  • Lets see how the best way to answer this.For me I can walk longer work in my garden, fish,stand a lot longer. I will say I can do about half of what I use to do before SCS. As I said before you will never be the way you was. But you be alot better then you was.If the trial work for you.

  • Thanks Jim!

    I just don't feel like the doctors have done enough....maybe that's where my frustrations lie. They just tell me I'm not a candidate for fusion and brush me off to a pain clinic. This would be the 3rd surgeon to do this.

    Am I some kind of liability or something? I just don't get it.
  • In and of itself only really limits you for the first 6-8 weeks depending on doctors orders and where implanted.

    After that first scarring the limitations are more to prevent over stressing leads and anchors and some doctors just say go do what you want.

    An SCS can be anything from a non functional (for pain relief) irritant to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or somewhere in between.

    Eventually, if it is successful you will get to a place where you know what is to much. In all honesty the only way to find out what an SCS will do for you is to try it.

    We can't really guess as to why the doctors do not consider you a surgery candidate. Wouldn't be within the rules to do that here. The same thing goes for having an SCS implanted. There are lots of percentages and info scattered everywhere on the web. But each case is different, the only way to know if one may work is to go through the steps if offered a trial and see where it leads you personally. You can also refuse and seek other treatment. It is a very personal choice with the same basic risks as injections for the trial and surgery for the final implant.

    For me it seemed the only rational choice at that point in my life. Was it a pot of gold? no, not really, nor is it non functional for pain coverage. It sits somewhere in that middle ground and some days that's good enough, some days not so great.

    Would I do it again? yes, I had no other real option, so it seemed logical to me.
  • Let's see if I can remember what life was like before my implant. You'd think it wouldn't be all that hard, since I just got it in April, but to be honest it really is.

    Before my implant, I could barely go to the store - half the time I'd have to get someone to push me around in a wheelchair or use one of those scooters. There were days when getting out of my truck hurt so bad that I'd start to black out. I had to get forearm crutches, and I kept them in my truck because I needed them about half the time. I had a handicapped parking tag. I couldn't walk my dog, or play outside with him. I couldn't sleep without prescription drugs. I went from 10mg of morphine a day to 100mg, with no relief.

    And then I got my implant.

    I'm one of those people who found the pot of gold. I got 100% relief, which is unheard of. I haven't touched my crutches since my surgery, except to bring them in the house to put them away. My handicapped parking tag expired, and I didn't get it renewed. I went off all of my painkillers. No more fentanyl, nothing. Not only can I go to the store, I can walk a couple of miles to get there and then walk all the way back home. I only have to take my sleeping meds once or twice a month.

    I got my life back. It's a weird feeling, seeing as how I never really had a life without pain - I was only 7 when all of this started. I can do dishes, I can load the dishwasher. To look at me, nobody would ever know that I'm 'bionic', as we joke. My life is totally normal - the only thing that I don't do is regularly carry heavy stuff - no helping someone move for me. But when my 5 year old niece comes running up to me yelling "Tia! Tia!" and throws her arms around me, I can pick her up... something that I hadn't been able to do in a very long time.

    It's different for everyone, for some people it just helps enough to keep them going. For other people, it's like a miracle. It's one case where you can't tell how deep the water is without jumping in.

  • Love hearing your progress. Mine has been 4 months, and I don't have 100%, but I would say when I get the programs correct it's at least 85%, totally manageable to do most of what I want to do. Just to be able to walk up a step was a miracle, to be able to bend my knees.

    All I have to do is turn it off for the night while I'm sleeping and when I wake up the pain is bad enough to barely even roll over and try to get out of bed. Medtronics rep said to turn down and experiment for night time, and now I can sleep sometimes 6 hours instead of a max of 2. If I push it I have had a few 8 hour nights.

    Dealing with the same issues in my neck/shoulders/upper back/severe headaches, and hope to talk them into the SCS for it also. Nerve cutting isn't cutting it....pun intended.
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