Spinal Cord Stimulator VS Spinal Cord Pump

Spinal Cord Stimulator VS Spinal Cord Pump

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bamwood
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Joined: 05/15/2012 - 5:11pm
Spinal Cord Stimulator VS Spinal Cord Pump

I have had a bad few years. 3 Spinal surgeries and 1 shoulder surgery. I have 3 multi level fusions and had old hardware taken out and new hardware put in a couple of years ago. My Doc said that my stenosis is severe in several areas and will only get worse with time. Essentially I have the spine of a 90 year old woman. Severe Spinal Stenosis in L3-S1 as well as Spinal fusions in those same areas. My Thoracic area in now involved due to the strain on the area above the hardware. It too needs surgery. The problem is I don't ever want to go back. None of the surgeries have eliminated my pain and it has completely changed my life. I rarely go out of my house, I don't want to talk to anybody and have lost interest in life. The pain levels are so high that it has begun to effect my blood pressure in a BIG way.
So, back to Pain Management. After reading the Surgical Reports she gave me a couple of options.

1. A spinal cord simulator implant OR

2. A spinal cord pain pump. Both on a trial basis. Does anyone out there have any experience with these and if so what are your thoughts?

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jlrfrye
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Joined: 05/01/2009 - 6:48pm
Hi Bamwood

I am currently in the process of having the pain pump implanted. June 13th is the big day for me. During the trial I cried, it wasnt tears of pain it was tears of joy. For the first time in about 15 years I had NO pain. There is also another member here that has the pump and I believe her words were " The only way they will ever get the pain pump away from her is from her dead body". I am getting to the point where pain pills are not very effective for me anymore ( at least the dose I am on ) I didnt want to increase my meds anymore due to not being able to work on higher levels of meds. The SCS was not a option for me. My problems are structural damage and the SCS is used more for nerve pain. Good luck with your trials and Ill say a prayer they work for you
Susan

patwhite101
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Joined: 04/04/2009 - 5:25pm
SCS vs a Pain Pump...

Hello Bamwood and welcome to Spine Health!
I am so sorry your spine is in such a mess!! Yes indeed, chronic pain distroys our lives! I do understand what you are going through. I have been there too!
It's wonderful that your pain Doctor has offered you both devices for your pain. I have tried an SCS(spinal cord stimulator)but it did not work for me.
I have neuropathy in both my feet and legs. The brutal pain goes up to my knees.
The advantage to the SCS is that it may reduce your pain by 50% without narcotics! It does seem to work best on foot and leg pain but a lot of people have good success with it on pain in their upper body.
The downside to it I think is the fact that you must set aside time every week to charge the batteries, sometimes as much as 2 to 3 hours. Some people can't stand the tingling sencation you feel all the time the SCS is turned on. All I felt was tingling on top of my pain. Not a good feeling at all. It just added to my pain. But people who do have the SCS and it works for them love it!! But it does not relieve all your pain. You will still be on narcotics.

Actually I feel fortunate now that the SCS did not work for me. I did not feel so at the time!! Because now I have a pain pump and I am now free of ALL the savage pain I had in my feet and legs!!
A pain pump is about the size of a hocky puck and is implanted between your hip bone and your ribs. It does protrude a bit but for me that is no biggie. My clothing hide it. The downside to a pain pump is the fact that you do not get 100% pain relief to start. Doctors start you out on a very low dose of pain meds, usually morphine,and gradually increase the dosage untill you get pain relief. This can take as long as 6 months or even longer. But you will remain on your oral pain meds as long as you need them.
Hope this helps. Best of luck to you. I hope you will soon as pain free as I now am. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
Patsy W

coyotewildwoman
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Joined: 02/04/2009 - 12:46pm
Neurostimulator and new device options..

I have a neurostimulator and I have found that it helps reduce the pain, not eliminate it. One question to answer for yourself, is to do you want to be on morphine or some other pain killer for long periods of time? My advice is to research the side effects of the drugs.

I got the device first because I felt that it was the least risky and invasive. I can't handle opiods well, they make me really spacey and out of it.

I figured I could go to the pump if I wanted to do so later. Medtronics has a new neurostim device that handles, supposedly, the problem of buzzy feeling one can get if you lie in a certain position. Check out their website!

The person who programs your device also make a world of difference. I usually don't feel mine unless I am in a certain position or it is on too high. The tech needs to be able to assess this with you.

Good luck making a challenge choice. I am happy with my device.. however, I can't have MRIs now, which is challenging with ongoing back problems.

Wendy S

chagland
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Joined: 04/15/2012 - 12:28pm
Do some research

patwhite101 wrote:

The downside to it I think is the fact that you must set aside time every week to charge the batteries, sometimes as much as 2 to 3 hours

Charging time depends upon the model of neurostimulator, the type of leads used, the way the neurostimulator is programmed and the amplitude at which it is kept operating on a daily basis.

I initially had to charge every 5-7 days, had some reprogramming done by a different rep and now charge every 2.5 to 3 weeks.

I find my charging time to be a nice break, since I will either spend the time on the computer or in my recliner watching a movie.

patwhite101 wrote:
But people who do have the SCS and it works for them love it!! But it does not relieve all your pain. You will still be on narcotics.

No matter what the medical device, if it works for an individual, then they feel it is the best thing since sliced bread. The key is finding what works best for you and has the least amount of risk and the least amount of impact on your life.

Many folks are able to get off of all narcotic pain medication with a neurostimulator. It is not a given that a person will still be on narcotic pain meds. I have been able to get off of all narcotic pain meds after being on them for several years. Others have too.

Good luck with your research.

"C"

chagland
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Indeed

coyotewildwoman wrote:
I have a neurostimulator and I have found that it helps reduce the pain, not eliminate it.

Same here. I never expected anything to completely eliminate all of my pain. I don't think that is really possible with most of our cases.

coyotewildwoman wrote:
I got the device first because I felt that it was the least risky and invasive.

I agree. Just like with medications, always try to see if the weaker or one with fewer side effects will do the job. It always allows you room to move up if necessary. If you start with the last resort first, then there's no room for making adjustments as you go along in life.

coyotewildwoman wrote:
The person who programs your device also make a world of difference.

How true, how true!

coyotewildwoman wrote:
Good luck making a challenge choice. I am happy with my device.. however, I can't have MRIs now, which is challenging with ongoing back problems.

Wendy, I have to agree that it is a challenge when it comes to no more MRI's and continuing problems. I got kicked in the head last year by a horse and couldn't get an MRI, so had to stay quiet for several weeks in case I had any bleeding. Needless to say I was quite concerned during the time I was healing. It's no fun not knowing for certain if you did any other damage.

"C"