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Terrified to get the SCS.. looking for 2nd opinion

RH85RRH85 Posts: 2
edited 06/21/2015 - 9:09 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
I am active duty military and I have had chronic pain in my costochondral area (cartilage between my sternum and ribs) for quite a few months now. They are unsure what caused the injury/pain and my on-base PCM referred me to a pain management specialist.

The specialist had me come in for a series of steroid injections into the affected area - which were mildly uncomfortable but not that bad. The injections helped the constant pain I was having, but I still can't bear much weight, or push, pull, etc. This is having a large effect on my work.

He finally suggested the Spinal Cord Stimulator to me. He said "You are probably too active but we can give you the trial to see what happens". I don't like the sound of being a guinea pig just to see what happens. Plus surgery already freaks me out as I have white lab coat syndrome as it is. Throw in the idea of messing around with my spine and possibly crippling me completely.. I don't like that at all.

I went to my PCM on base today to request a 2nd opinion and he agrees with the specialist that an SCS is the right move. I am worried that if I do get the SCS, I would have more complications and it would do more harm than good. The military may medically discharge me for it as well. That wouldn't be SO bad as I would more than likely receive disability from both the Air Force and the VA..

I have read lots of horror stories where people had to have their SCS removed after just a year or two.. I would hate to be discharged from the service just to end up getting mine removed anyway.. throwing 10+ years of my life away..

I am stuck between a rock and a hard place trying to decide if I should let them screw around with my spine..

Another thing, is I am really big into bodybuilding and Olympic lifting and I am worried that the SCS will end that for me. I am very active and participate in many active sports. I don't want this big bulging battery pack under my skin giving me trouble. If I AM still able to continue to work out like I do with the implant, I am worried that once my back muscles grow it will press against the battery even more causing it to stick out and give me discomfort..

what do you guys think? It seems that no specialist will actually help me weigh my options, they are quick to jump on the idea..


  • I just wanted to write to you and let you know that the way to go is the trial first since it will allow you to try the unit and see if it works for you. This is what I did before having the surgery for my permanent and the trial worked so well for me that it was a no brainer. Since tomorrow is to follow up with my NeruoSurgeon and also speak with the Boston Scientific Rep I would be happy to ask about your concerns. Since my trial and surgery was done at a Teaching Hospital with the University of Miami it ensures everything is done correctly and with the latest technologies for SCS.
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