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Question about SCS and Pain Pumps....

PollyRPPollyR Posts: 411
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
I am doing research on these and I need to know your educated opinions......do you worry that these will get rid of the pain, thank God, but that your spine will continually get worse and you wont know it?? This is my fear....


  • I'll bite at your question. Naw, I don't worry. The nice thing about an SCS is you can always turn it off. The bad part is, its rare that it will take all of your pain away. Its another tool in the toolbox to help you manage your pain on day to day basis.

    Just so you know, it'll be a cold day in hell before I turn mine off. I lack the necessary prescriptions to make up for the unit not being on. Does it get everything. Far from it, maybe 50%. There are some on here that get up to 80-90% relief.

  • I developed a new problem after my stimulator was implanted. I had disc surgery (C5-C7)in 2008 and now the one between c7 and T1 is causing issues and when this problem arose, I definitely knew it! I developed severe pain in my left arm and hand, plus weakness, and that was not where my stimulator was targeted. But the good news is that my Boston Scientific rep was able to reprogram and it has helped with that pain tremendously.
  • I agree with Dave It don't cure your problem. But it does help with the pain.AS I said before you never be the same as before the pain.But you be better off then you was before SCS.

  • Hi Polly: I have a pain pump.
    Pain pumps are only implanted when all other treatments have failed to control your pain, including surgery. It is the last resort. When you have a pump implant it is more than likely you will have it the rest of your life.(but pumps can be removed)

    If my pain gets worse I will ask my Doctor to increase the meds I get through the pump until my pain is back down to a level I can like with. I am not talking about flare ups in my pain. Oral pain meds takes care of those.

    There is no limit on the amount of pain meds you can get through the pump because doses are so tiny. Because the meds go directly to your spinal cord, and not through your system first, only tiny amounts are needed. Doses are in micrograms not milligrams.

    With the pump you can still have an MRI unlike with the SCS. But as Dave said, you can turn off the SCS but you can't the pump. Only your Doctor can do that.

    If my pain could be controlled with medication there is no way I would have either implant!

    Do not get me wrong. I love the pain relief my pump gives me and I am so very thankful for it. But if there were any other way to get the same pain control I would take it in a heart beat.

    So with the pain pump if your spine gets worse and your pain increases all you do is ask the Doctor to increase the amount of meds you recieve in a 24 hours period through your pump. And if you suspect your spine is getting worse you can have an MRI.

    I hope I have answered your question. Very best of luck to you.
    Cheers :H
    Patsy W
  • Well first off...thank you all for giving me your positions...it does ease my mind up ALOT!!

    I know that I can NOT go through another fusion surgery...NO WAY..so thats why I am thinking of this route!! I just need less pain in every day life...Ya Know?? Thank you all again!!!!
  • My problem area is also at L4/5/S1 So my pm and neuro are putting in a pns (its just another lead that will only cover that small area...the size of a baseball. Durring my trial I had a lead going up the spine and then the PNS going down directly over L4-S1, I turned the program off for my legs and just let run IT WAS WONDERFUL, he said the fda hadnt approved it yet, probably like the ONS occipitial nerve stimulation. he had to place mine a couple of differant times to get it perfect and it was just below the skin not too deep. :W IM finally getting it on Nov 23 and I cant wait!!!!! <:P I hope the best for you, you might ask your pm about this, it worked for my trial, and if you want my pm# I can send it privet as we cant post things like that, should your pm want to speak to mine, although I highly doubt he would. Have a great day Rose
  • Oh Rose, I have been thinking of you and I am so glad that you are finally getting your perm one!! WOOHOO!!!

    I have to wait till we get to Ca to get new Drs allthe way around...no insurance here!! But I am soo hoping that they will not want to do more fusions on me...That is my greatet fear right now!! So please please kepp me posted on how you are doing...you are an inspiration to me!!! :):)
  • I see that you are using the Boston Scientific device - I am researching this device and have a few questions for you (if you dont mind).

    * How long have you had this device?

    * I was told it would not work on neck pain. Did you have severe neck pain alone or combined with problems in your arms and hands?

    * What areas have seen relief for you?

    * Are you still unable to do certain activities due to the device?

    I appreciate any and all info you can give me regarding this device!

  • * How long have you had this device? I have had my stimulator for one year

    * I was told it would not work on neck pain. Did you have severe neck pain alone or combined with problems in your arms and hands? My pain is related to problems in the cervical area, but my actual neck never hurt. My pain is in and around the center of my upper back (C5-T1) and down my arms.

    * What areas have seen relief for you? The stimulator has helped the arm pain significantly, more on the left side than right side for some reason. It never has reached the problem area in upper back and my PM and Boston Scientific rep finally admitted that the placement is off just enough to keep it from being effective. I have the paddle lead that has 16 electrodes on it. Only one of those 16 is turned "on". I vary between 3 different programs on it depending on how I'm feeing.

    * Are you still unable to do certain activities due to the device? I don't really have any restrictions other than those that are self-imposed. I have learned my limitations and I do have to always be careful about a lot of bending and stretching because I don't want to pull anything loose. My hip (where the battery is) will also get very, very sore with a lot of bending and lifting. Overall, I'd say my activity level is somewhat better than it was before the SCS but that is mostly because I have gotten better rest at night. I still take a muscle relaxer and have pain medication. Wish I didn't need it.

    Hope this helps to answer your questions.

  • Thank you soooo much for taking the time to answer my questions. I have had 4 neck surgeries (3 ACDF and 1 posterior bar insertion for stabilization), too many epidural and facet injections (cervical and lumbar) to count, combined with burning of the nerves in my neck and left hip area.

    I was in a car accident in 2000 which left me with a blown disc. Unfortunately, MRI's do not show my problems - I have had 3 discograms which all comfirmed the terrible news. I am lucky in that I have only lost a very small range of motion - the docs have a hard time believing that I am the person in the x-rays! Bad for me because I am wearing down my joints now and have begun to grind the nerves. My last fusion was in 2009 (helath insurance refused to pay for replacement disc) and have since blown another. :( I have terrible pain in the neck which radiates to both shoulders, down the arms, numb hands, and also radiates up the back of my head. Surgery is no longer an otion for me until they come out with a bionic neck. :)) I live on Methadone, neurotin, and flexeril daily and the pain is increasing fast. It looks like I will be trying out the SCS - I think.

    I appreciate your input! I hope you continue to experience some relief!

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