People suffering from unrelenting back pain may want to consider a shocking form of management.
“Another term for spinal cord stimulator is neuromodulator. And what that means is neuro or nerve and modulator. Or brain and modulate. So the modulator or the spinal cord stimulator actually changes how the brain senses the pain in that limb,” says Dr. Christopher Dawson, physical medicine & rehabilitation on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
The body feels pain through messages sent to the brain. In spinal cord stimulation, a device is implanted into the lower back with wires running into the spinal canal. It blocks pain signals from reaching the brain using electrical stimulation.
“Patients describe the sensation in their limb or the back as a tingling, more pleasant sensation a baseline pain,” says Dr. Dawson.
Electrical stimulation devices are used across medicine. Helping some patients control overactive bladder and others who have epileptic seizures. The desired amount of stimulation is put in the patient’s hands.
An external device serves as a controller. So patients can amp up the volume as needed.
“It’s a pulsed electrical stimulation which the patient has control over. The patient can decide how much stimulation and pain coverage they would like to achieve,” says Dawson.
Spinal cord stimulation is meant for people with severe, chronic pain, those who’ve had failed surgeries, or have nerve-related pain or numbness. In many cases the stimulator helps them tame the pain.