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Spinal Stimulator

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,322
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Chronic Pain
I have had two major spine surgeries and numerous other pain related treatments. I am now reduced to being able to walk to and from the car, bathroom, couch, ect... I have decided to try the spine stimulator. I would love to here some feedback from those who have had it done.


  • Hi joyride and welcome to the group!!">image
    I'm sorry to hear about the trouble you are having and the pain that you have experienced. I know too well how debilitating that can be. I was once in the same boat as you are in. Eight months ago, I had an SCS implanted and it made a HUGE difference in the amount of activity I had previous to the SCS. Before, I was basically going from couch to bed and back again. I got to a point where I was unable to take care of any of the household chores and I wasn't taking care of myself. I looked horrible. Some days I didn't even get dressed. It just took too much effort to get dressed, just to have to get undressed again a few hours later. Now I am back to doing the chores here (most days), I attend all of my daughter's school and sporting events (she's a senior), and I take better care of myself. It doesn't take all of my pain away, but it reduces a bunch! So much so that I have a life again.
    If you have specific questions that you would like to ask, send me a PM and ask away! Good luck!
  • Hi - I'm in the same position as you. I spend the majority of my day reclined because that is the only thing that keeps my nerve pain from flaring. The pain I feel without a flare is a 6 out of 10. A good day is 5 out of 10.

    I will be getting my SCS trial on December 4th and cannot wait. I passed the mandatory (for my insurance and clinic) psych evaluation and we are moving forward. My problem is acute and chronic S1 nerve damage. Were that under control/diminished, I can only imagine the life I might get to return to.

    I have seen the negative stories, the not so successful experiences, but I also realize that the people who had wonderful and fabulous experiences have gone on with their life and may not necessarily spend time on health boards. This encourages me. I am very positive and hopeful for this to help. If it weren't for the nerve pain, I would be up and having a life. I get occasional back pain, but that is when I overdo, bend over when I'm not supposed to, etc. I am also sure I have very weak core muscles.

    If I get the SCS and it works for me, I will have a period of time where I have to recondition my body. I won't physically be able to go to the mall for 8 hours because I've been forced to be too sedentary for 3 years. But I'm willing to put in the effort.

    I will definitely keep everyone posted on my experience and how it goes. December 4th at 1:30 PM cannot get here soon enough for me!!

    Hang in there!!
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  • Well the good thing is, you should be able to get a lot of information from the personal stories that we have all shared. Here are links to threads that contain the info I believe you are looking for.



    And here's the link to the Pain Management Forum where you will find numerous threads discussing spinal cord stimulators.

    I'm one of the ones that actually loves mine and has not had any problems. 6 months since implant.

  • Hello Joyride:
    I'm a retired pain specialist and have put a fair number of stimulators into people with severe pain, especially after back surgery.

    Not everyone liked the stimulator at the trial placement. Those who liked the trial loved the permanent stimulator.

    I strongly recommend you go through the trial placement and give the stimulator a chance. I think you'll be delighted with it.

    Ken Noel
  • Wow thanks for that input on this stimulator.. I have had questions about it myself and wondering if it is something that would might work..

    Can you please explain to me how the trial rin works and how long you have to have it in the trial run before you will know if it works? And how much success has this procedure had on patients? Why would a patient not like the procedure and how would it be painful instead of helpful? On the next PM Dr appt we are going to bring up this and some other procedures and see which is best for us.. Thank you

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  • Since I haven't had the trial yet, I can only tell you what they've told me. My trial will be for 5 days. I have already spoken personally to the programmer that has been assigned to me. During the procedure and after, the programmer will be in charge of setting specific programs on my SCS to address my pain. She said if I have to go in to the office every single day to get my programs adjusted, she wants me to do that. The trial is just that - to see if they can figure out a way to address the pain.

    If there is a 50% reduction in pain or more, then I will qualify for the permanent placement.

    Some patients cannot handle the vibrating/tingling/buzzing nature of the stim, sometimes it is placed incorrectly and will cause pain in other body parts (I've heard shoulders, etc.). Other patients just don't experience enough of a difference to make it worth going through the permanent placement.

    I've also heard of people who go for the trial placement and immediately cannot handle it/pain is increased/pain is not touched at all and they decline even the trial.

    But many people feel immediately amazingly better and get really sad when the trial is over and then have to wait for the final placement! lol I'm hoping I'm in this category!!

    I've heard of trials being as short as 3 days and as long as several weeks. The concern is not to get an infection at the lead site.

    That's about all I know at this point. I really appreciated talking to the programmer who will be personally invested in getting my pain under control if they possibly can. Makes me very hopeful!!

    I'm having a really bad pain day and have had a pretty bad pain week. I am counting down the days, the hours, the minutes. It can't get here soon enough!!
  • Thank you for the insight on what you have learned and found out on this. I do however hope it works for you with your pain.. I know it is one of our options to take. Please keep us informed on how your doing with your progress.. Good luck..
  • Trial placement of stimulators varies depending on who the physician is doing it. It varies from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. I've had a couple of patients who really cried when I pulled out the trial leads.

    Spinal cord stimulators are really one of the best things to come along for severe chronic pain.

    I just saw a report of a stimulator placed with the wire midline in the neck producing excellent relief for fibromyalgia.

    It is well established for back pain, especially in people who have already had spine surgery.

    Ken Noel
  • Hi, Dr. Noel, I was wondering if you can help me out with a few questions, I saw my pain specialist for a EMG today, and he varified that my sciatic nerve pain is coming from L5, I have a L5-S1 herneation. He said many surgeons wont do a surgery on the L5 nerve..But they would S1 Can you tell me what kind of surgery that would involve, IF they would do it, My doc said something about a fusion, since i had a microdiscectomy at L4-L5 4 years ago, but that was all he really said, I am just curious because he said it is the "outside nerve" and S1 is the central nerve. So, i don't know what kind of surgeries are optional for that? I had so many questions, but such little time to remember to ask all of them. Also, he said if they WONT do surgery that they could try a nerve stimulator, but i have questions about that also, it blocks nerve pain, but will it also get rid of the numbness associated with the sciatic nerve pain? Thankyou so much for what I have read already, I just haven't found much on what I am specifically looking for!

    The information provided by members of Spine-Health should never be considered as formal medical advice. It is recommendations based on member's personal experiences only.
    This can vary from person to person, so do not take comments as medical rules

  • dr noel
    i have had a trial scs put in at c4 been in a neck brace every since. havent picked up anything heavier than a bottle of water. after 3 days the lead slipped down to T1 vertebrate. they put the leads in in a permanent fashion for the trial. is it really hard to get it anchored in the neck?

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