How Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) Offers Relief for Low Back, Arm, and Leg Pain

Dr. Dimitrios Lambrou Jan 06, 2017

At Northeast Spine & Sports Medicine, we know that not all of our patients will find the relief they are looking for after undergoing physical therapy, injections, or receiving medications, etc. for their low back, arm, or leg pain. To help these types of patients, we offer spinal cord stimulation (SCS) trials.

What’s SCS?

SCS uses electrical impulses to help patients find relief from the chronic pain they feel in their lower backs, arms, or legs. Specifically, these electric pulses prevent the patient’s brain from receiving pain signals.

Like we mentioned above, good candidates for this procedure are those who suffer from low back, arm, or leg pain and have found little to no relief from other pain treatment options. Good candidates for this procedure are also those who suffer from all types of neuropathic pain and have found little to no relief with conservative treatments.

If you choose SCS, you will be required to undergo a trial procedure at our office.

Patients who choose to undergo this procedure at one of our offices must undergo a spinal cord stimulator trial to help determine if it will offer them adequate relief. The reason that a trial procedure is required is because it helps you and your doctor determine if this pain treatment option will offer you the relief you need or want.

What should you expect during an SCS trial procedure at our office?

While the SCS trial procedure is non-surgical, it’s performed in a surgical setting, and takes anywhere from a half an hour to an hour to complete. During the procedure, you will lie on our stomach and receive a local anesthetic and mild sedative (if necessary). Once you feel numb, the physician will insert a thin needle into your back, and then one or more leads will be implanted into your back and connected to a small trial stimulator that will be taped to your back. After the procedure is complete, you'll leave our office with a device that will allow you to modify how many electrical signals are sent to the painful areas.

How long does the SCS trial last?

The trial typically lasts up to a week, so you should expect to return to our office once your trial period is complete. If you find that you experienced adequate pain relief during the trial, we will schedule you to receive permanent wire and stimulator implants as soon as possible.

If conservative pain treatment options have not provided the pain relief you want, get in touch with our office to learn more about SCS. To schedule an appointment, please give one of our offices a call, or request an appointment online.