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SCS Trial Pain

It is definitely helping with the pain its supposed to help with but I'm having a great deal of pain at the spot where the leads were inserted. Did anyone else experience this and how long did it last?


  • Phil the heatPPhil the heat Posts: 1
    edited 08/11/2015 - 9:44 PM
    I too have had issues with increased back pain with the trial which concerns me. I waited 6 years for the trial and now I wonder if my back needs addressed prior to a permanent implant? Did you get any advice or direction? Please let me know asap. I go in tomorrow for the trial removal.
    Thanks I advance, Phil

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  • I have had my SCS for 2 years now. Trial was good in that it helped with some of the pain patterns in my legs. Didn't expect the pain in my back from having the trial leads inserted. For some reason it never occurred to me that there might be some swelling from the procedure and that the swelling would cause back pain. The first 24 hours were the worst. Couldn't even get out of bed unaided. It started to settle within a couple of days though and then I got to concentrate on the trial itself.

    My PM doc focussed on how much the SCS could help me. Maybe he told me about what to expect, pain wise, from the procedure itself but I don't remember it.

    Hang in there - it gets better.
  • Surgery date for permanent is September 1st. Woohooo almost there
  • Excellent news. Are you having leads or paddles? Surgery for the leads is the easiest to get over. I had paddles implanted at T9 - that takes a bit longer to get over.

    Have patience when it first gets implanted. May not immediately work as well as you are hoping but hang in there. With time, the leads will scar in. Once that happens you will be amazed at the results.

    Keep us posted on your progress and feel free to ask questions along the way. There are quite a few of us on here with SCS implants. Join the September surgery buddies for that added level of support :)
  • darby01darby01 Posts: 191
    edited 08/18/2015 - 6:17 AM
    I opted for the paddles and they'll be implanted near T4 and T5
  • CherylCCCherylC Posts: 185
    edited 08/18/2015 - 6:24 AM
    You will probably have trouble lifting your arms for a little while after the surgery. I know I did. Take clothes that you can step into and pull up rather than have to put on from the top down. It will make life a lot easier in those first few days.
  • Oh wow! I had major pain between my shoulders the first two days of my trial and they were only the wire leads! I guess this is why my Dr said I'll be spending the night at the hospital because of the pain. I just can't wait to have some relief again and not heavily rely on vicodin
  • How do they confirm lead placement when you're in the OR? Or do they just confirm and program when you're in recovery room?
  • They turn on the scs in the OR and have you confirm if it is covering the areas of pain. They use xray as well to make sure they are in the correct places on the spine. They will than adjust according. For the trial I had minimal meds, for the permanent I was asleep and woken up when they needed me to confirm, than put back to sleep when they made the incision for the battery. I believe that is how most have it done. The rep will be in the OR with you and will come see you in recovery I assume. I did not stay in the hospital so my rep met me in recovery once I was awake. Yours may meet you in your room since you are staying the night. I was given programs than (recovery) Good luck!!
  • They confirm placement through fluoroscopy. They don't wake you up when they put paddles in. The surgery for the paddles is a bit tougher than for the leads because they do it via a laminectomy. No way you want to be woken up in the middle of that!

    Once you are awake the rep will come and do some programming. Don't panic if it doesn't work as well as you were hoping. There is a bit of swelling from the procedure and the paddles have to scar in. It took a good 12-18 months before I got the best results. For a long time we couldn't get much coverage on my right side. Now I can finally get coverage on both sides. Just can't get coverage in my lumbar area - just the legs. It does help though. My neurosurgeon and pain management doc are discussing the possibility of a second one to cover my lumbar spine.

    You will find there is weakness in your arms for a little while because they have to move the main muscles that run the length of your spine so that they can get to your spine. It will likely make it difficult to raise your arms for a little while.
  • darby01darby01 Posts: 191
    edited 08/24/2015 - 6:27 AM
    Yikes! How do the get the wires down to where the battery is implanted? Do they make one long cut down your back? I forgot to ask about that
  • No. They sort of thread them through under the skin. You will have a little bruising but it's not too bad. You will have one incision where they put the paddle in and another where they make the pocket for the IPG.

    I had my IPG placed in my lower right hand side abdomen. Some people have theirs on their hip.
  • Oh wow! Dr said he's putting it in an area above my right butt cheek that he refer to as the "Bermuda Triangle" because you can sit, lay, or lean on that side and you wont feel the unit.
  • My Dr is putting it above my right butt cheek in an area he called "The Bermuda Triangle" because you can lay, sit, lean, etc... on that side and you wont feel the unit
  • When you say I won't be able to raise my arms, how high are you talking about? Chest level or higher?
  • I had more trouble with my left one than my right and I couldn't raise it above my shoulder for a while. It made it difficult if I tried to put clothes on that would normally require you to raise your arms above your head like T-shirts. I took a few weeks before it was back to normal.

    Just think about the type of clothing you pack for the hospital - try and take things that are easy to put on.
  • What are the post of restrictions?
  • Tomorrow is the big day! I'll post an update as soon as I can
  • CherylCCCherylC Posts: 185
    edited 09/01/2015 - 1:41 PM
    Hi Darby
    Just logged in to wish you luck with the surgery. From memory, post op restrictions are the same as any other back surgery - no lifting, twisting etc. Your surgeon will be able to give you a good run down on what not to do and for how long.

    Just remember - don't be disappointed if it doesn't work properly at first. It took over 12 months for mine to get coverage on both legs. So worth it now though.
  • I am sorry than sore today and abs are killing me because they apparently flexed alot when they turned on the scs. My Medtronic rep will be here this morning to do the programming for me and then it's home for me. Thanks for all of the advice and info, Cheryl.
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