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SCS Implant for Chronic Neck Pain

RassyRRassy Posts: 154
edited 08/24/2013 - 5:53 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
Hello Everyone,

I haven't been on the website in quite a while. Life just got in the way and I really wasn't getting anywhere with my pain battle, so I took a break. Now I am at a point where I could use some input from all of you.

My pain management professionals are now talking about the possibility of me trying an SCS for my neck pain. After 6 or 7 years on all of these medications, no success with other procedures, there is a concern about the effect these meds may be having or will have on the rest of my body. My pain is FINALLY managed with these drugs so I can function better, but it seems as though an underlying nausea is now entering the picture. I do undergo lab tests to monitor these meds and their effect on kidneys and liver. I would love to at least lower the number or dosages I am taking.

Has anyone ever gone the SCS route specifically to target neck pain? I would REALLY appreciate any knowledge and/or input from anyone whom has experienced this, or knows of someone having gone through it. Thank-you for listening and I hope to hear from you.



Rassy's Story
Under House Arrest Without the Ankle Bracelet :-)
The remarks I make are strictly my own based on my personal experiences.


  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 08/24/2013 - 4:54 AM
    good to hear from you again but sorry that it is possible SCS needing to be fitted that has brought you back.

    I don't have any experience to share with you on SCS but know that there are several here who have had them fitted and got great relief from them.

    There is a section of the forum for SCSs and I am posting a link to it to help you.


    Hopefully there you will find lots of information about it and stories of others's experiences with them.

    Good luck :-)

  • Im getting mine for upper back muscle pain due to disc damage in neck. I've been reading this for the last year. I got laid off an d in too much pain so I've seen good and not so good outcomes. Im ready for anything as this is no life and I want to WORK! READ MEL'S POSTS. From what I have seen here: this works great for nerve pain shooting to limbs. Your Trial will tell a lot. It took 6 days for my trial to work on my shoulder muscles (the last day of the trial). That last day I was off the heating pad and out the door of my house, it had been years. I had a heating pad at work and carried it and an extension cord with me all day. I still do. Meds do become less effective. You can have your trial and do the surgery down the road. Lots of options, good luck stay posted
  • RickilalasRRickilalas Posts: 559
    edited 08/24/2013 - 7:42 PM
    I had a trial with a cervical unit. It was great. It covered the cervical pain very well.
    My insurance even approved the implant but because of my spinal.cord damage we have to wait until my next cervical surgery. They will do the implant then and my leads will come.from the top down vs going from the bottom up. Just more complicated then a regular implant. Good Luck
    I hope it helps you
  • Hey Gang,

    I can't thank you all enough for your input and suggestions. The prospect of going through this procedure is quite overwhelming. Just the thought of involving my spine in ANY type of procedure this involved is very scary. I think I am afraid of it not being successful, like every other thing I've tried. One day at a time!


    Rassy's Story
    Under House Arrest Without the Ankle Bracelet :-)
    The remarks I make are strictly my own based on my personal experiences.
  • I dont have any other choice and the hope outweighs the fear, NOW! It took a long time to get here. You will know when you are ready. Until then, read this board. Ive seen more people have the surgery and move on, while I sat in fear....good luck!
  • Yes you have been waiting and watching.
    It's your turn!!!!
    Hope this helps you it's worth a try.
    Is your implant going in the back.
    I ask because I think you said bra line in one post and I wonder if they go above or below it.
    Just seems like in line would be a issue.

  • The spine health site ultimate lurker is jumping in! Bra line doesnt make sense so Medtronic rep is talking to doc and put it in at love handle area. Where ever I can recharge. They do not go to but with the neck. Any ideas, staples will be in 2 weeks! how to get that to be less painful?
  • RickilalasRRickilalas Posts: 559
    edited 08/28/2013 - 6:58 PM
    Ask your surgeon to get with the times.
    Everything I have had done was with glue.
    No staples no stitches works great
    Love handle.area sounds much better and they do make a lead extension to do that with.
    Just sounds uncomfortable up higher, anything rubbing on it would not be good.
    My lumbar unit is just above belt line and never a problem.
    Met a guy with one at belt line and he wasn't happy.
    Some doctors. Just don't get it.
    Has far has being a lurker a few words get my attention Ha Ha
  • edited 09/01/2013 - 5:23 PM
    Hi all, this is the first time I've ever been part of a forum and really look forward to your advice. Due to a MVA almost 8 yrs ago, I have a chronic problem with neck and shoulder pain. I've had 2 cervical fusions, pt, chiro, all types of shots, acupuncture, massage, and probably some other stuff I'm not thinking of at the moment and nothing takes care of my pain. I take some pain meds and they take the edge off but I don't want to live on them! My doc wants me to do a trial with the spinal cord stimulator but I really want to hear from others who've had it done before I consider it. I'm a little scared and don't want to screw up my neck any more than it already is.
    Feeling frustrated and looking forward to your advice. Thank u!
  • hi and welcome aboard. We have a similar story. Im getting my perm Tues. I'll let you know re neck and shoulders as soon as I know
  • Your turn
    Hope this helps you


    Chronic pain
    If you get a trial with a SCS unit you should know right away or within days how much it will help you. Yes there are problems with getting a SCS implanted but they are rare .
    There are several threads in here covering several people that went through this.
    Take your time read everything you can then start asking questions to get the answers you need.

  • Hi all, new to the forum. Came here this evening looking for answers but not finding quit the answers I want BUT I see a lot of questions about the device and I have it. I had my surgery 15 days ago. PLEASE don't let me scare anyone. I was told mine was unique as the higher up, the more difficult and more risks. So, I have a 7mm paddle placed in my neck starting just right under my skull bone basically, 7mm runs almost the length of my neck. Getting this in place required that all my neck muscles had to be cut and seperated as well as some bone notched out for paddle placement, so my fist incision runs the length of my neck, the second incision is very small and is midback for more wire placements down my spine and the last incision is lower back above my right butt which is the battery. Its a rather large incision as well. Sooo anyhow, we fired up my unit last friday. Due to the extreme swelling and fluid build up right now from surgery it is only felt "fireing" on right side shoulder n arm :-( wer going to attempt to reprogram n refire in the morning . 15 days out I REALLY hoped to be farther along then I am. I won't sugar coat anything. This has been by far the MOST painful surgery I have EVER had!!! I laid in bed for the first 7 days crying n wen I got up to walk, even more tears. On day 7 I started this crazy vomiting cycle and at day 15, still extreme nausea :-( I can NOT move my head side to side NOR up n down :-( (hopefully that changes in time) and the pain I'm still suffering from the surgery has basically taken over my life for now as I am mentally drained from fighting the pain and YES I am taking pain pills and valum!!! UGH. Maybe I'm expecting to much to soon as mine was very intensive due to the placement but DANG IT, I'm over it!! I lay n cry, my family feels helpless, my fiance very stressed because it kills him to see me hurt so bad!!! I'm NOT saying everyone will expierance this HOWEVER I feel it my duty to put this out here so the ones that ARE considering this option do hear the good stories and the bad too so u won't walk into this thinking its all sugarplums n smiles!!! I'm holding onto promise that this will all subside and my unit will fully fire and start making this all better but each day of pain n no gain, leads to one more day of frustration, aggervation and getting a bit worried. Lord knows the pain I have at this point, is not something I can live with forever. So I wish u all the best of luck in ur journey and I sure hope that my story doesn't scare you but only prepare u that NOT all that has this gets up in a day or two n feels great. Some ppl will have more deeper intense surgeries that will run u down my road. Just be mentally prepared if indeed u do because its a hard road but my faith is still hanging on that once healed, this too shall pass.
  • Hi
    Just a few thoughts for you
    Swelling can hurt the recovery time so it may take longer.
    What level did they place your paddle at, paddles are pretty small
    7mm is just over 1/4 of a inch if I remember right. I don't understand the 7mm being the length of your neck. Maybe it's the lead your talking about that goes through your neck to the paddle.
    When they place a paddle they do a laminectomy or two. This is very painful and takes time to get over.
    I hope they get your programming right it makes or breaks the whole deal

    Good Luck
  • Mine is neck also. who makes yours? I begged my rep and PM for a paddles as I wanted it really attached. NO WAY! Not in the neck. So Im 3 days out with leads. Positional stim will be an issue as will programing but Im glad I did the leads for now. Im urge you to read previous pages on this site and learn from others. They all say the or most say it's the most painful surgery ever. Im so sorry. It takes time, I hope it will be worth it. Have they checked for spinal leaks??? Infection?? Some of your experience is right in line with what Ive read the last year on this site. Some is not.
  • Hi everyone. I'm looking for any advice or info I can get. I've had neck and shoulder pain since a MVA almost 8 yrs ago. I had 2 discectomies and fusions at c5-7. Also tried yrs of pt, chiro, acupuncture, massage, epidurals, all kinds of shots, and probably other things im not thinking of right now.
    I take muscle relaxers and Vicodin which do help but I don't want to keep relying on
    Pills for comfort. My pain is in the back of my head right at the base of my skull, back of neck on both sides, shoulders, upper back, at times down arms, headaches. Sometimes it's a constant ache, or I can get sharp shooting pains that paralyze me for a moment, I have very little range of motion and at times can't turn my head at all. One of the worst typed of pain I feel is a burning pain that no pill can fix. I'm so frustrated and unsure what to do next. My PM dr. thinks I should try a spinal cord stimulator or visit the surgeon again.
    Does any of this sound like your story and what have u tried for relief?
    Thanks all!!!
  • I got the surgery for the upper back and shoulder pain you talk about. Boulders on the shoulders. 2 car accidents in 10 years the last in 2008 did me in. 3 years of injections and most of arm pain and neck pain isn't bad. The spasms and nerve pain in upper back has reduced me to a heating pad 24/7. I cant be away from in for more than 2 hours. My trial....the last day I never needed the pad and I was up and out of the house. It took 6 days. The stim only covered both arms but it did help my shoulder pain. (C-3 thu C-7) The surgery, the first 3 days every muscle in my shoulder was soft and I had no spasm. Surgery was over 10 days ago and I have had no programing since. If they give me the programing I need I think I will be able to go back to work. Have the trial. ALSO, please read Mel's posts from just after Christmas. We all have same pain. She has done great with neck, arm and shoulder pain.
  • Grace2UGGrace2U Posts: 6
    edited 02/18/2015 - 11:56 PM
    Having had a Cervical SCS for chronic neck, shoulder, and arm pain, I strongly encourage anyone considering the same to weigh the possible pros and cons. Within weeks of my implant I would have uncomfortable"vibrations" if I turned my head to in either direction. I could have certainly lived with that. Then, 5 months following surgery I was merely standing in a restaurant and began experiencing extreme burning throughout my body as though I was being electrocuted. It was HORRIBLE. It continued until I made my way to my car to turn it off. It was determined by a third party doctor at Mayo Clinic that the connections had come undone.

    Fortunately, my Neurologist was able to convince the original surgeon to remove the complete system. Almost 7 years later I continue to live with added nerve pain throughout my body I did not experience prior to the surgery. Big regret of my part.
    PLEASE do your research. Blessings to you...
    1996 - C4-5, C5-6 Fusions
    2010 - Medtronic Cervical SCS (leads implanted at C-2)
    2010 - SCS went AWRY :( .
    2011 - SCS REMOVED :)
    2011 - SEID
    Please......Do not agree to CERVICAL SCS w/o researching outcomes.
    God Bless you :)

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