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Spinal cord stimulator

crashhccrashh Posts: 40
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:50 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
Hello all. I hope I find you in a fairly ok state considering we are all here for some sort of painful reason. I am now on years 3 of my back battle. After a discectomy and 3 level spinal fusion I have slowly lost more and more feeling in my right leg along with an great increase in pain. I am now diagnosed with the old failed back syndrome, lol . After seeing a new PM doc she seemed to think I was prime for this spinal stimulator. I have my phsyc evaluate next week. Then the following week my disability hearing. Then the following week I got to the neurologist to discuss the surgery of this SCS. I am very apprehensive about it and stressed to the absolute max. I wonder about the quality of life I will have after this sugery, if it will work at all for that matter. I was told that I will be perm disabled after this. I mean I can barely walk now, I don't see how I can get any more disabled than that. I need so e exp info peeps. It sucks to wonder if I will ever be able to wrestle with my 11 year old. Play basketball, snow ski, ride a jetski, go on hikes in the mountains with my wife. oh yeah I got married past June ... Very happy about that. She is me rock for sure. Here nor there the pain is excruciating to say the least most of the time. I am no lt looking for a total cure here with the SCS but I hope to get some feeling back in my leg and some relief of that horrible burning stabbing jolt pain in my right leg. Now of course MRI showed a problem with my rotator cuff but I am leaving that alone for now. Sometimes I can't even use my left arm cause of the pain in my shoulder. I know I will still have back pai. But I really hope for some relief after this next procedure. The fact that I have to be awake for a 3rd procedure is very hard to swallow. Let me know what you guys think. Maybe 2011 will be my friend.


  • I don't have my SCS, YET. When I was first presented the option I have to admit it freaked me out, and then some. I'm a big fan of research, so that's what I threw myself into. The more information I gather, the safer I feel subjecting myself this crazy procedure.
    I'm 30 years old with two children under the age of 4. My NS has said after a significant recovery time (12 weeks) that I should hopefully be able to run again, play with my kids again, drive again, be active again. Although having the SCS will always be something I will need to be acutly aware of. As silly as it seems, for myself, I needed to write a pro and con list. I'm an accountant, I've always needed things to be laid out in black and white. After doing as much research as possible, asking as many questions as possible, and reading on this site, sitting down a writing down the pros and cons was a good way for me to really visualize what an impact this could make on my life. Both good and bad. With all that said, I'm set for my trail in February.
    I hope you find some answers. You are definitly asking in the right place.
  • After reading your post, am I wrong in my assessment that you're not doing a trial? I highly recommend you press for the trial so you can determine if it's even going to help you. I would not allow anyone to implant this device in me without the trial.

    As for your question about numbness, I highly doubt it will help with that. A significant portion of my left leg below the knee is numb. I look at it this way, if it wasn't numb it could be more pain and that would just plain suck. I've had my stimulator a little over a year now and it works fairly well in covering some of my pain. I have two teenage daughters so trying to keep up with them is a bit of challenge. I still work a full time job and plan to for as long as I am able.

    Let us know if you have any other questions or concerns.

  • Oh yes. They will not do the scs without a trial. I will be doing the trial first for sure. Thx for reply
  • Long time no see! Been wondering how you were doing. Congratulations on getting married, that's awesome! Sorry to hear that you have been continually battling things, it has been a bumpy road for you for certain.

    I've had my SCS for not quite 3 years now and it has turned everything around for me. While I won't tempt fate by going skiing, I do do a ton of other things one again. I am now able to work 2 part time jobs, ride horses, hike ... many many quality of life things. Without the SCS I would be housebound and unable to do much of anything.

    There are some restrictions and risks that come with the SCS. Some specific to the trial, some specific to healing after the permanent implant and then of course some specific to life after implant.

    Don't sweat the "being awake" thing, that is actually pretty cool because you can't really feel a lot of pain since you will have some good drugs running through your IV. It is necessary though for you to be able to "guide" the doc in the proper placement of the leads. So basically when they are ready, they will bring you out of heavy sedation so you can tell them if you feel the stimulation in the area you need it. Once they have that nailed down, then out you go and you will wake up in recovery. It's actually kinda cool to know that you are in the OR and talking to the rep and the doc while they are placing the implant.

    Great to hear from you. Ask any questions you need.


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    Post Edited by Moderator haglandc
  • Thx for the reply. I was just approved for my disability, not something I am very proud of. I am just gonna keep pushing along here. I am going back to UNC. If I do not have a surgery schd. By June my wife, son, and I are moving to Michigan . Big move for me and very cold but that's where all of her family is and we have decided that our son needs that. So, I am going to give it a shot. I am also going back to school. I have finally graduated high school at 34 lol. I will start after my computer science degree. All I have known is working with my hands. The only way for me to get anywhere now is to revocate myself and hope to get some sort Of home bound tech job or start my own medical billing/ coding business.
  • crashh

    I just had my permanent scs implanted yesterday, it was set up to address both the parathesia and nerve pain in my legs as well as my lower back pain. This morning I am waiting for the discharge process to go home from the hospital, emailing from my hosp bed. Funny thing, during the trial, I could set the scs up to feel just like the numbness and tingling that I normally had in my legs & feet. I had to turn it way down in intensity. (I could also turn it up enough so that when I walked it looked like my legs were each broken in about 20 places.) I've been running the SCS since I was in the post-op half doped up yesterday and could feel it doing its thing even then. I've run it constantly since. (Come to think of it, I did the same thing with the trial -- never shut it off!) It is great for the nerve and back pain both, I get up to 80% relief! (They consider 50% relief to be successful.) And if you ask around here you'll find the amount of relief is less with others. Now for the numbness & tingling in my legs. I no longer have the numbness, but I do have the feeling of the stimulator which masks the tingling with its own brand of "tingling," which is more like a buzzing or even a little like having a TENS unit inside my legs. The scs definitely overrides all of the other issues I had but replaces them with its own sensation. And it does feel good, not like what I had before. I can't wait to be able to go to work and actually make it through a day again!

    During my trial we learned that I needed a paddle type lead for my permanent SCS and to do that they performed a laminectomy to be able to get the paddle lead in. During the procedure I felt nothing, even the initial lidocaine local numbing wasn't painful. I think I lucked out with a good anesthesiologist. They only sedated me and brought me out of sedation to verify the correct placement of the leads and then I was out again for the rest of the procedure (placing the IPG and threading the leads).

    Now I can say that I have three surgical sites, one I wasn't even aware of (still doesn't hurt) until they told me it was there, one in my abdomen where the IPG is placed (doesn't bother me much now and is not the "default" IPG placement) and the third in my back over my spine about T11-T12 which right now hurts like the dickens. It is in just the right place where it hurts when the head of the bed is raised or lowered, if I need to adjust myself in bed and some when I get in and out of bed. Once you learn the trick of rolling out of bed it's not bad. Once I'm home I'll lie down on my right side and will do much better!

    Bottom line, I felt absolutely nothing during the procedure at all. Even when they brought me out of sedation to verify the leads. I could hear them using suction and could feel them touching other parts of my back, but no pain and all gain!

    And the SCS itself is a godsend! Good luck with your SCS, I hope you find relief with it like I do!!
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