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Thoracic SCS trial scheduled for 10/19



  • My trial went wonderful, and I didn't want them to take it out. (L4-s1 fusion, scar tissue wrapped around screws causing severe Sciatica pain. But 4 short weeks later, a permanent one was put in. There are 2 choices, a 5 year battery, and a bit larger until with rechargeable battery that will last about 9 years. I opted for the 9 years so it didn't have to be changed so soon.

    My lower back, buttocks, legs, knees, ankle, calves, toes, everything, ache, nerve pain can all be controlled enough to live a semi normal life.

    Now I'm fighting the same problem with my neck and just had my 6th nerve cutting and this time higher up in the neck, causing twice the pain I had before. 2 horrible weeks of non-stop disabling pain and headaches. I take Norco, Neurontin, Valium, Ativan, Tramadol, Excedrin Migraine, caffeine, RX topical lotion, massage, ice/heat, traction, trigger point, and more, but still the neck and shoulder pain is awful and have to wear sunglasses in the house and rarely go outside (can't handle light). My next step is to go back to the Neurosurgeon that originally set up the procedure for the SCS for lumbar and talk to Medtronics rep also to see if I can obtain the same for the neck.

    The lumbar success with SCS was so good, I sure hope I can obtain it for the neck and get back to life before I'm 60.

    Am curious how others have responded to SCS. It's been 4 months for me now and I even got to go out on SeaDoo's, swim, actually go shopping, play at the park with grand kids.
  • Im glad that your getting relief with your trial and that your permanent one is only 2 weeks away.
    2 weeks ago I trialled one in my lumbar and another in my thoracic..The lumbar seemed to work but the thoracic was horrible...My Pain Specialist is going to retry the thoracic one on its own on the 14th of November and he is going to try it from a different angle so I hope that it works this time.It appears the pain from the incisions was masking the benefit I was getting in my thoracic as when they took it out I had more pain so it must have been doing some good..Otherwise, it will just be one in the lubar area and a painpump for my thoracic area..
    Once again, Im so happy for you that is helped.
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  • I had been so sore from insertion that until Thursday morning, I only way I was really able to feel the wonderful relief was positional, much like Dave describes above.

    I was so grateful to wake up on Thursday morning and have relief from the lumbar pain! I experienced at least 60% relief in my entire lumbar back, buttock, down the front of my upper thighs.

    At this point, I miss the stim, and am dealing with some very itchy skin from the Betadine "2nd skin" bandage that covered my entire back. I brought my trial leads home with me after they came out!

    My thoracic area did not get direct relief, but it was very very close. I experienced an entire band of stim around my body, just below the T 6-7 pain. This may sound odd, but the best way I can describe the thoracic pain is it feels as if I have been impaled. Unmedicated, the thoracic pain easily reaches level 8 and higher. Sometimes it fells like it originates in my back and goes all the way around to the front, and other times it feels like I have broken ribs.

    The neurosurgeon I will consult with is on the board of NANS (North American Neuromodulation Society) and co authored NANS Training Requirements for SCS devices with my Pain Doctor and 5 other Physicians.

    Thanks so much for all the support and for letting me get to know how many of you have experienced a trial. This thread was one of the most helpful aspects of this process. I appreciate everyone's input.

    I felt the same way when I went through my fusion surgery in 2007. Spine-health rocks!

  • I have an appointment with the NS whom my Pain Management Doctor referred me to after my trial to discuss paddle leads, which i have reservations about. I look forward to having a more clear understanding what my options are. I will be asking about the likelihood of success and duration of continued coverage.
    I realize that the possibility of my damaged thoracic discs being stabilized are unlikely.
    My doctor and I have discussed a change in medication which may address this hideous pain. My pain has increased with a recent change in the formulation of my ER medication. YIPES!
    I will continue to check in here. I have really enjoyed keeping up with many of the threads in this topic, and have ben able to have a few other threads in other topics sharing about my new aquatic PT and the purchase of my Tempurpedic Adjustable Bed.
    Spine-health is officially part of my self care.

  • Jackie, good luck to you on the visit with the NS, I hope he can answer all of your questions, and give you adifferant RX to try. Have you thought of a pain pump? works sorta the same way as the scs, the morphine or what ever drug is used directly to the painful area on the spine, delivering the med directly to the area, instead of by mouth and traveling all over your body. I think Patwhite has one, IM not sure so dont anyone get upset if I've miss spoke. I would ask him about the pain pump, I dont know if you go through trials too or not. GOod luck to you and keep us posted, My perm will go in in 2 days on the 23. Rose
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  • My pain levels have been so high lately that my thoughts are not always clear so I put your surgery date in my Blackberry!

    I don't suppose that our very American "Thanksgiving" occurs in Australia, but this year it falls 2 days after your surgery. I have a feeling you will have a lot to be thankful for on that day my friend, as you heal and feel the coverage that you have already experienced.
  • I haven't heard the term paddle leads before. I have the SCS leads in lower back.
  • Am interested to hear the pros and cons of pain pumps. Have only talked to one person in I believe Iowa on another site that told of the only 2 people she knew that had pain pumps and both malfunctioned within 3 days and both died from overdose of morphine.

    Of course, as with any procedure there are risks, I wondered how others have done with this. I have a mental aversion to taking heavy meds and prefer other alternatives. I've had 6 radiofrequency nerve cuttings, but the last 2 didn't do any good even though the preliminary block was totally successful C3-C7. I am not going to have any more done as I've had really bad side effects on 4 of them, and then only lasted 6 months, 2 surgical procedures and 4 office visits.

    I think I would like to purse another SCS for cervical, so have been researching. The SCS for lumbar works at least 80% of the horrible nerve pain, sometimes more, and after 6 months still great.
  • So glad the trial went well, mine went in Friday, removed on Monday and I hated it going, but they got me an appointment in 3 weeks. Now at 6 months, I have such incredible pain relief for the lower half of my body, not always 100%, but didn't expect it to do everything when I have nerve pain, severe arthritis, 3 knee surgeries (1 replacement), Neuropathy pain in toes from Diabetes. Theoretically I thought the ongoing pain from the knee replacement that after a year is definitely not normal wouldn't be touched, but Medtronics reps have been wonderful and targeted it too and it helps a lot. Even can target my toes and sleep past 2 hours. After about 5 years of never more than 2 hours at a time, an 8 hour night in so blissful. I tried turning the SCS off at night, but after 2 hours woke up. So now I turn way down and keep it on low and can sleep again.

    Good luck! I wish you the best of pain relief.
  • I have had an occasional problem with My Stim, can't get it to Sync using either the Sync or On button. Finally figured out if I turned the Off button and tried, it worked right away. Medtronics rep says no problem that if it continues where it's a big problem they can replace. Medtronics has been so super, always contacting me to see how I am doing or if I have any questions, come to every doctor appt with me to change any settings, make special appts when needed, and I was 8 hours from home for 8 days as we thought my Mom wasn't going to make it through a surgery (she did and is back in rehab), but left quickly and didn't bring my recharger. They met me with a loaner unit for a week. And this is after 6 months. My doc is not being helpful for my cervical problems and after way too many procedures I talked to Medtronics rep and she said they would work with me to get another doc if my insurance will, or I'm ready to switch our insurance to the new state where we moved, and they know of several specialists they would refer me to within an hour of home. Can't say enough about their support.

    BTW, for those with questions and complaints about the rechargeable SCS units. Medtronics who makes the 5 year pacemaker units, their basic SCS unit is 5 years. But I don't feel like a replacement in 5 years, after 33 surgeries I'm too tired of it. So I opted for the rechargeable unit which is supposed to last 9 years. I charge it easily while I'm watching tv at night and if I do it about every 3 days it takes about 2 hours, depends on how high I have the unit turned up. Some have said they hate it as they have to charge 1-2x a day as they have high usage. I have 4 areas that I have going, and with a high of 10, almost all day I keep 2 settings around 6 and the other 2 around 8, so it's definitely using a lot of power. At night I have all the setting around 3. If anyone else is having trouble with the recharging units like I'd heard, my Medtronics rep told me that the factory would replace, so maybe it's a faulty unit.
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