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SCS for lumbar

j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,732
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:45 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
I just haven't been able to get my scs. Programmed to take care of the lumbar pain. I keep trying. but it's frustrating! I see people with thoracic and cervical problems having good results. How about anyone with lumbar? Anyone, any luck?
Click my name to see my Medical history
You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!


  • Sorry you are having trouble with getting relief. I am currently waiting for my SCS, but thought I would pose a couple questions that I think others will be asking to help you out. I know of several people who should be responding that will be able to help.

    1) Are you in your trial phase or have you had the permanent SCS installed? If your past your trial how long has it been?

    2) Have you talked to your rep and let them know your having trouble? They should try and help you adjust your coverage.

    3) Do you have leg pain that is being relieved?

  • I just went through my trial trying to get lumbar coverage with little success, but I did learn quite a bit about the issues for lumbar coverage that may help...

    The only way I could get sufficient parasthesia in my low back with the trial was to turn the pulse width all the way up (800-1000 microseconds). This drives the current deeper into the cord and stimulates more of the dorsal column. The issue is this may make the stimulation in other areas too strong.

    The main problem with getting lumbar coverage is that the nerve fibers for the L-spine are distributed throughout the dorsal column and the SCS current is only able to stimulate deep enough to get some of those before triggering the dorsal nerve roots, which are more conductive and cause the leg parasthesia. Your doctor and rep should be able to explain this in detail if you're interested.

    I'd talk to your rep or doctor about different programming options. Unfortunately, though, lumbar coverage can be hard to achieve and from the studies I've seen only about 50% of people have sufficient lumbar coverage at a 1 and 2 year follow-up following permanent implantation. Sorry you're having trouble, but hopefully just some different programming can help.
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  • I am so sorry to hear you are still having lumbar pain. I had hoped the SCS was taking care of it.
    As you know the SCS made my lumbar pain worse but at that time the pain in my feet and legs was my main problem. Since I have had my SCS removed my lumbar pain has became worse but my pain pump is taking care of all my pain even my lumbar.
    The SCS does not seem to help lumbar pain as much as it does say...leg pain. Perhaps different programming will help you. I do hope it will. Is it helping any of your pain?? I am sure the stress you are now under does not help your pain any.
    Best of luck to you Jim. My prayers are with you.
    Patsy W
  • I have coverage both in my lower back and legs. One program does lumbar lower back and thighs, another just lower back. I have 3 leads at T8 - 4-8-4 I think.

    Where does the assertion that SCS doesn't work for LBP come from? A couple of anecdotes or some published data? Please be clear. People do want to hear what works/doesn't work for individuals but other than HaglandC or BionicWoman we aren't citing large scale clinical data. Saying "The SCS does not seem to help lumbar pain as much as it does say...leg pain" could discourage petople from seeking a powerful form of treatment.

    Lala - I am sorry you are having trouble getting relief. I do hope you find help somehow.
  • That's a great point you made, Mack, about the clinical data because I was "told" that the SCS for lumbar spine had much better results because the patient could be awake while the implant was being done, therefore enabling them to get more precise placement. This, of course, was after my cervical implant was determined to be "off" just enough that I do not get coverage where I need it the most and since I have a paddle lead, it cannot be moved without major surgery and I will not consider that at this time.
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  • I am getting great coverage to my lumbar my legs and feet.

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,732
    Layla explained it right on the money. I have a ANS unit w/2 leads. I originally had the trial and implant in 2006. And after reprogramming many, many times. I gave up. I did however have 1 program that if, turned all of the way up, And with me sitting, (like at a breakfast table),and arching my back, would give me coverage. But, the big but, the unwanted paresthesia in my butt was just too much to much. Another program worked but once again, the unwanted stim was too bothersome (in my stomach) to have on more than a few minutes.
    On 1/19/10 I had a XLIF fusion. And in the course my SCS got dislodged from it's anchors. I had a new rep look at it and she saw, with a x ray and a cheat sheet, that the leads were in backwards. So with just a few minutes, she was able to get it pretty close. So I decided to go ahead and have the new eon mini put in. With hopes that we could nail it, as to location of the stim. But when they get the stim up my back where I need it. the unwanted paresthesia is always present where I can't handle it.
    We haven't given up yet. And I still hope we can get something that will work for me. The legs and feet are no problem, It's just getting it to the lumbar without the unwanted stim in other areas. And running out of pulse width.
    If they can't get it any better than it is right now. I would say. It's beneficial but nowhere near optimal.
    I had read about new different leads. And had asked if they would go that route. But they didn't!
    One other thing that I found out on a driving trip. Was, it did work better, while in the driver seat. And I was able to drive a longer distance.
    What irks me, is that I know if they concentrated on the technology, with the right stuff, I know the lumbar could be conquered.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • I do hope they get a program that works for you. You have suffered long emough.
    I am so happy I had mine removed and now have the pain pump. IF it(the SCS) had helped my leg pain I would still have the back pain because it made my back pain worse. The pain pump is working wonderfully for me. NO back pain or leg pain!! I have my life back and am pain free!!
    Best of luck Jim. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Best to you and Patti
    Patsy W
  • Mackenzie, I believe there's two reasons people perpetuate that myth. I also believe most of it is unintentional, although a small portion of it is more purposeful.

    For the most part, I think it's based on incorrect assumptions based on old data that was compiled using obsolete systems. There was a lot of published data generated in the late 1970's and 1980's and at that time, the only available systems were single channel devices that supported a total of 8 electrodes. Those systems were only capable of recruiting the superficial nerve fibers required to cover extremities, so effective lumbar/trunk coverage was much more difficult to achieve.

    That data is easily accessible to the public because it has been posted, and re-posted, then misquoted, paraphrased, and re-posted some more, all across the internet. People come online, do a quick search, and take the results as true information. Then, they continue to perpetuate that inaccurate information by declaring it's the reason the SCS "wouldn't have worked for me anyway" without even having had so much as a trial placement or by declaring their trial or permanent implant failed for reasons that ceased to exist with the advent of the newer systems.

    In most cases, I think it's proof of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing. ;)

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