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Considering SCS

elephantseelephants Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation

I am new to this site. I was injured 2 years ago and fractured L2-S1. After PT, oral steroids and ESIs I ended up having a fusion and a laminectomy. My main pain prior to the surgery (now 16 mos ago) was severe sciatica. Unfortunately the sciatic pain has returned and I find myself back to walking with a cane, being unable to stand for more than a few minutes at a time, etc. I have a hard time sleeping due to the pain. Further MRI and CT scan only revealed a disk bulge and the doctor does not think it should be fixed surgically. I've been on probably every pain killer out there but none really work well for sciatic pain. Also, I commute by car an hour to and from work, work full time, and have young children so I am reluctant to really take pain killers. I've had 2 more ESIs since the sciatica came back. At my last ESI the anesthesiologist said I should think about a SCS. I'd never heard of SCS before then. He recommended I try one more ESI and if that doesn't work I should consider a trial of the SCS.

I am 44 years old. I used to be extremely physically active and happy. Now I find I am depressed (now on Zoloft) and feel like my life is not what it should or could be. However, I wonder if I am just not fighting hard enough or should be doing something different. I am not opposed to SCS but wonder is it appropriate for someone my age. It sounds somewhat drastic to me. Also, I do not know a single person who has an SCS so I feel lost about it.

Does anyone have any thoughts about this? I would really appreciate any feedback.

Sincerely, me


  • Are you under the care of a pain management doctor or neurosurgeon? The reason I'm asking is that I also had fusion surgery and continued to have pain afterward. My neurosurgeon admitted that she was stumped as to what to do since there was nothing structurally wrong with me at that point. She later came back to me (actually called me at home one night which really impressed me) and told me that she wanted to introduce me to a new doctor she had met who was doing a lot of work with spinal cord stimulators. She had not been willing to refer me to pain management before because she feared that they would just load me up on medications that I would eventually become immune to. I met the pain mgt doctor that she referred me to and he evaluated everything, tried some conservative treatment first (facet injection) and then recommended that we do a trial of the SCS. I eventually had the permanent implant done and although it has not been the "be all end all" that we all wish for, it has helped me tremendously with some of my nerve pain and when a new nerve issues popped up several months ago, it was reprogrammed to address that problem and has helped so much. I am in no way pain free, but I sleep better and have a better quality of life since my stimulator was implanted.
    Speak with your doctor and see if it might be an option for you. The trial period is designed for that so that you don't make a permanent decision without the benefit of having tried it first.
    Just so you'll know, I think a lot of people even younger than you have gone this route so don't let your age be a reason for not considering it. I'm a little older than you (47), but it was a good decision for me.
    Hope this helps.
  • Hi,

    Thank you so much for your response.

    I don't have a pain management doctor but the anesthesiologist who suggested the SCS specializes in pain management and he thought it would be worth a try. I understand there are lots of restrictions with SCS though. Have any altered your life?
  • i have an scs . it didnt help me pain wise but it has helped many people. the major problem with having it is the fact that the metal in it prevents you from getting an mri. ct scans would have to be done if scans are needed after the implant. i have heard rumors that medtronic is working on an scs that could withstand the forces of an mri. in my opinion age is not a factor regarding its insertion and use.
    you should get a trial to see how it feels. there is very little risk in obtaining a trial.

  • Hi, I've only had my stim implant 2 months and I have not heard of any restrictions. (Only the no bending, over head reaches after the implant until you heal and the leads get satible.) Which I'm sure you had other restrictions if u had any other operations. Within the 6-8 wks everything gets into place and you are good to go from there . I am glad I picked this route It is the best choice I've made. Like everything if you do too much, you will be sore for 1 day, I did after Labor Day. I Had nearly a complete bed rest the next day, but it gets better with time. Hope this helps you. SLH
  • Now that I am through the recovery period (was under pretty strict restrictions for about two months), my doctor has instructed me to do what I feel like doing. I have some self imposed restrictions because my hip does get irritated if I bend over frequently, but other than that, I've learned my limitations and pretty much done anything I need to do. He did warn me about doing too much stretching so that I don't pull things loose, but I actually do light stretching because my muscles get so tight. I still see my pain mgt doctor frequently because we are still trying to minimize my pain, but I think once the recovery from surgery is complete, the visits would normally be on an as needed basis. I have the Boston Scientific Precision Plus SCS and my rep has been terrific and meets me whenever necessary to tweek programs and is available by phone or text to answer my questions if things come up.
    I wouldn't be afraid of trying something that might help you regain some quality of life. That's why I did it and it has given me some quality back.
    Best wishes and keep us posted.
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