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Spinal cord stimulator - rib pain

Oct 11 2012 I had a stimulator implanted for lower back pain and stenosis. I had a successful trial. The day after the surgery the rep from St Judes came in to set the stimulator. As soon as she turned the power on I experienced tremendous pain in my rib, she stated probably because the nerves were aggravated during the surgery. On Nov 1st I had a third meeting with the rep to see about adjusting the stimulator to try to relieve the rib pain. I had 2 visits with my surgeon because of the rib pain. Both my surgeon and the rep are telling me my nerves were aggravated. I did my own research and found other patients who experienced the same and found that the leads had migrated. On the 3rd meeting with the rep I pointed this out and she stated that was possible, I told them I wanted an xray she went to speak with the surgeon and he ok'd the x-ray. The rep continued to readjust and every position the tingling/pain was only in my upper stomach and rib. She tried the left side where I had never felt any stimulation. She turned the stimulator off and told me to leave it off until my next appt 11/19 to "calm the nerves". I currently have the stimulator off and taking lots of pain medication and still experiencing tremendous amounts of pain in my ribs. But here is the bizarre thing, I feel vibration in the ribs and upper stomach. How is that even possible? Has anyone experienced any of this and does anyone have any advise. I am in so much pain and not living any kind of productive life and don't know what else to do? Thank you for your time and anyone considering this surgery I wish you all the best.


  • alexhurtingaalexhurting Posts: 1,991
    edited 11/13/2012 - 4:17 PM
    Leads might have to be moved if you feel it in the ribs and its for lower back pain, If you have stenosis why did they not fix and the problem instead covering pain with scs ? I have the scs was implanted march 2012. Its not helping too much and no mater how many times i had rep play with it still dont cover pain where its needed,

    They might be able to make adjustments on yours to get it away from feeling it in the ribs, There are a lot of adjustments on every scs and i remember during adjustment i felt it in my ribs also, Told the rep no no dont you turn that sucker up cause its hurting my ribs and uper body,

    Then they started over and next visit was female rep as she started to turn it on i pretended it shocked me and she freaked out, dr was in the room, i told him see woman believe anything, dr laughed,

    Good luck. Tell rep adjust it or have dr move the leads if its a must, Its never easy to put lead in right place during surgery sadly, hopefuly they can figure it out, The slight sensation is normal when its off, I also feel it a bit when its off,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • But my solution was to reduce the width or area that my stimulator was set on. In other words, I only had it on one of my "programs" and that particular program was designed to reach as high up on my back as possible. I was able to control it with changing settings on my handheld controller.
  • Well it's January still experiencing tremendous amount of pain after numerous tries of reprogramming the stimulator still no success no feeling on the left side they can't crank it up past couple bars before i feel like I'm jumping out of my skin. I have a CAT scan scheduled on Monday for the thoracic area. The pain doctor who is scheduling the CAT scan is hoping to discover what the problem is and to give him some direction so that maybe he can give me pain injections to relieve the pain so it looks like I traded one pain for another pain

    I haven't worked since April I've done everything I possibly can to get out of this pain I just hope that this CAT scan Will give us some idea what's going on i need to get back to work and get back to life.

    The x-ray that I had scheduled everything came back looking great the stimulator was perfectly placed so that did not provide any answer which is why we have now made forward with the cat scan.

    Best of health to all
  • gotten any results back from your CAT? Hope you have found some answers. :)
    Herniated disc C5 C-6, DDD, Fibromyalgia, Nerve damage both arms, Disc Decompression, SCS 2010, Si joint pain, many epidurals, mri's, trigger point injections. Nerve conduction tests, RFA 11/28/12, RLS
  • edited 01/11/2013 - 6:07 AM
    When I had my SCS implanted (also St. Jude's), the surgeon waited two weeks before it was even turned on to allow the area to begin to heal. I do notice that if my SCS is set too strong (which I control with my programmer) I also feel the grabbing sensation in my rib area. What is happening is that the signal is bleeding over into other nerve fibers and affecting where those fibers lead.

    Since you are having this issue with it barely turned on, it sounds like the lead was either not placed properly or was not secured properly and moved. Unfortunately, the only solution to either of these is having it redone. All the reprogramming in the world won't help if the lead is in the wrong place.

    As a side note - the St. Jude rep spent almost 3 hours programming mine to cover the area I needed....all trial and error turning electrode points on and off.

    I hope it works out for you.
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