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spinal cord stimulator

Hi. I have had 2 PLIF fusions with hardware on 4/9/09 and 9/6/12... I am fused from L3-S1 and of course am still experiencing EXTREME pain! The doctor has upped my pain meds now to 2-25mcg/hr fentanyl patches (changing one every 3 days), percocet 10/325's, 2-500 naproxen, among SEVERAL OTC for a variety of side effects from the pain meds. I have been on the percocet for almost a year so far and it isn't appearing like that is going to change. I have been diagnosed with 2 more bulging discs, reverse lordosis, osteoarthritis, inflammatory joint disease, facet anthropy (spe?) Degenerative disc disease, bone spurs in my hips, spinal stenosis, nerve root cysts at T1-T3, and who only knows what else. It seems like everytime I go have tests done, the list just gets longer. The last neurosurgeon said he COULD go in and widen my spinal column right above the previous surgeries to help with the stenosis, but he of course can't guarantee that it will help with the pain so he doesn't recommend trying this. He stated that the more surgeries you have on your spine the lower your success rate becomes. So he referred me to another doctor and suggested I have a spinal cord stimulator be implanted. I have done some research on this and read some of other people's posts about it. I am wanting to know how many people have experienced this themselves and what the actual procedures were like. From what I have read it seems like the first one to put it in temporarily is very painful ... how does this compare to a discogram? (To me that was probably the most painful thing ever, except coming out of my last surgery!) For those it didnt help, what happens next? What might I be looking at if it didn't help? My dream at this point in my life would be to be able to get off my pain meds for good! But realistically I know that probably isn't going to happen. I am 35 and have been told by 2 different doctors I am disabled! So of course I have filed and am waiting to hear back, my husband and I hired a lawyer right away so I can have as much help as possible. I am hopeful the stimulator will help, but please give me your comments whether good or bad. Sorry the post is so long, but thank you for taking the time to read it.
2 more bulging discs; spinal stenosis; osteoarthritis; reverse lordosis at L3; degenerative disc disease; inflammatory joint disease; nerve root cysts at T1-T3; 2 level PLIF 4/9/09 and 3 level PLIF 9/6/12 with hardware both times


  • backbback Posts: 190
    edited 06/01/2013 - 3:28 PM
    A Discogram and a trial SCS isn't even in the same ball park. Putting the trial leads is a little more uncomfortable than a caudal epidural injection.

  • I just got my SCS implanted a few weeks ago. I had a 360 fusion L4-S1 on 1-20-2010. I continued to have low back pain after the fusion. The fusion did relieve my leg and foot issues, but recently they have started to bother me again. I have been on pain meds both before and after my fusion. My PM upped my ER meds recently and told me it was time to give the SCS a try. The trial was successful enough to make me go ahead w/the permanent implant. It was great for the pain in my legs and feet, but not so much for the low back pain.

    I agree w/back's comment about the pain involved w/doing the trial. The operation to permanently implant the SCS was painful, but for me was nowhere near the pain of having the fusion. The operation did involve having a laminectomy. I had 2 incisions. One for the thoracic laminectomy where the paddle lead was placed, and another for the control unit.

    I did not get the SCS, thinking that it would replace my pain meds. I got it to help relieve the residual pain that I experience in spite of my meds. It is nice to be able to decrease the pain that remains after taking my pain meds. I do wish that it was more helpful on the low back pain. I can crank the stimulation up enough to reach the nerves responsible for my low back pain, but that makes the level of stimulation in my feet and legs almost unbearable. It was explained to me that the nerves for the feet and legs are larger and easier to reach. The nerves responsible for my low back pain are smaller and deeper, so in order to reach them the stimulation has to be increased.

  • Thanks for the posts, it helps to put my mind at ease as far as the pain getting it put in. I could handle the pain from an epidural injection ... especially considering what we go through on a daily basis. I have my consultation on July 5th for the SCS... so hopefully it will be good news. Hope it is helping everyone at least be a little more comfortable.
    2 more bulging discs; spinal stenosis; osteoarthritis; reverse lordosis at L3; degenerative disc disease; inflammatory joint disease; nerve root cysts at T1-T3; 2 level PLIF 4/9/09 and 3 level PLIF 9/6/12 with hardware both times
  • lbfrndflllbfrndfl Posts: 38
    edited 06/02/2013 - 3:15 AM
    Hi, I have a long history of spinal problems starting at age 15, I am now 61. I have had 3 lamonectomies, 2 cages, 3 surgical fusions, 3 natural fusions and 2 chymopapain injections. After many years of pain meds., I had a scs implanted in 1999. Since then I have only taken Vicodin on occasion, no more than one script of 60 pills per year. I am still taking 2, 500 mg. Naproxen & 3, 800mg. Neurontin daily. I was able to discontinue daily doses of oxytocin and hydrocodone.
    After 14 years I am having a minor problem with scs and am exploring my opinions, ie. new stimulator. I was very happy that I was able to get off heavy meds. and was able to block 50 to 60 % of my pain, the rest I have learned to live with. I can't remember any of the pain involved but what ever it was it was worth it.

    Good luck

  • I've only had my scs for two months but I am very grateful that I was a candidate and that it worked for me. I also wear a fentynal patch and take morphine for breakthrough pain. I've been able to reduce my morphine by more than half but the best part is that I am not in constant pain all the time. Yes, just like most of us, I'd like to be rid of all the meds too but it is not a very realistic goal for those of us who suffer with chronic nasty relentless back-pain.

    I was unaware of the trial being put it, I don't think I was completely out, but the twilight drug where I'm coherent for them the doc's but I don't remember a thing.

    As I have said with many other posts, and this goes for the trial too, if your doctor thinks your a candidate and you have the trial but your not getting the relief you'd like, please ask for a different representative to give the programming a shot. I had a great trial but then when the permanent was implanted, I wasn't as happy. I asked to see another representative and he did a great job!!!
  • right here at Spine Health. Members there have tons of posts regarding the requirements for undergoing the trial, as well as the implant. There are sticky posts at the top of the forum that answer frequently asked questions regarding the process so it would be worthwhile to do some reading there. It is under the pain management section.
  • You all have been very helpful and knowledgeable. I have my initial consultation on July 5th and am at the point where I will try just about anything to reduce the pain. I have been noticing where I can do less and less without having to stop and lay down for awhile. This is ridiculous! I am extremely stubborn, as you almost have to be to have any type of a life with the back pain we experience everyday! Well, enough about me, time for my nitetime meds. Hope everyone is able to find some relief! You guys are a truly invaluable resource! Thanks to everyone on here!
    2 more bulging discs; spinal stenosis; osteoarthritis; reverse lordosis at L3; degenerative disc disease; inflammatory joint disease; nerve root cysts at T1-T3; 2 level PLIF 4/9/09 and 3 level PLIF 9/6/12 with hardware both times
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