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Spinal Cord Stimulation Specialist

Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists -  - Pain Management

Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists

Pain Management & Alternative Medicine located in Northern Virginia, Arlington, VA

If you experience chronic pain with failed conservative and interventional management, expert pain-management specialists at IPRMS, can help. At Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists in Arlington, Virginia, Drs. John Huffman and Talal Ghazal offer spinal cord stimulation to relieve pain and provide you with a better quality of life. Call the office to book an appointment or schedule one online today.

Spinal Cord Stimulation Q & A

What is spinal cord stimulation?

A spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is an implantable device your IPRMS physician places beneath your skin to manage ongoing pain. The stimulator sends low levels of electricity to your spinal cord to change pain signals transmission to your brain. 

Your IPRMS physician may recommend a spinal cord stimulation trial if other pain-relieving treatments have not worked. Spinal cord stimulators can allow you to live with less pain, improve ADL’s and quality of life, including sleep architecture.

How does a spinal cord stimulator work?

A spinal cord stimulator is a small computerized, battery powered device your IPRMS doctor implants beneath the skin.  This device is connected to leads that contain electrodes which are placed into the spinal canal through a needle. The stimulator sends low levels of electricity to the sensory columns of your spinal cord to reduce pain signal transmission traveling to your brain.

Is spinal cord stimulation right for me?

Your IPRMS Doctors discuss your medical history and symptoms to determine if you’re a candidate for spinal cord stimulation. They will check your vital signs, complete a directed physical examination, and review X-rays and other imaging studies to diagnose the root cause of your painful condition.

Drs. Huffman and Ghazal might suggest you try a spinal cord stimulation trial if you struggle with these types of painful conditions:

  • Post-surgical pain syndrome
  • Failed spine surgery syndrome
  • Chronic back or neck pain with or without extremity pain consistent with a radiculopathy
  • Ischemic cardiac or chest pain
  • Spinal cord injury resulting in chronic pain
  • Peripheral vascular disease and ischemic limb pain
  • Peripheral neuropathic pain
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Pain after amputation (phantom limb syndrome)
  • Chronic abdominal and/or pelvic pain
  • Perineal or pelvic floor pain

Spinal cord stimulation has the ability to reduce the need to take opioid containing pain medication and provide a opioid sparing opportunity. Drs. Huffman and Ghazal might also suggest that you try SCS in conjunction with physical therapy, biofeedback, acupuncture and relaxation techniques.

What happens during spinal cord stimulator trial lead placement?

The first step in spinal cord stimulator implantation is the trial or test period. For the trial lead insertion, the IPRMS doctor will numb the lead insertion sites, place a needle into the spinal epidural space, through which temporary leads with multiple electrodes are placed using fluoroscopy (x-ray guidance). Your IPRMS physician will then steer the leads into the proper location in the epidural space near the back side of your spinal cord where the nerves affecting your painful condition enter and traverse in the spinal cord to the brain. Drs. Ghazal and Huffman will ask you for your feedback during electrical testing to ensure the optimal placement of the lead electrodes for potential pain relief.

A temporary Bluetooth device, powers and allows the patient to control the trial SCS system. This portion of the system remains outside of your body during the trial SCS period.  At SCS trial completion the temporary leads with the electrodes are removed in their entirety in the physician’s office.

If your pain is relieved by greater than 50% or more during the SCS trial, which lasts approximately  five days, your IPRMS physician will discuss placement of a permanent spinal cord stimulator system with you. The permanent generator and leads would then be surgically placed underneath your skin, with the lead electrodes secured into your spinal epidural space using fluoroscopy to assure proper lead placement. Intra-operative testing is again performed to document appropriate lead positioning.  This is an ambulatory, minimally invasive procedure which may take 1 to 2 hours to perform.

What should I expect after the procedure?

After spinal cord stimulator system implantation, you can usually go home the same day. Take medications as directed, get plenty of rest, and avoid strenuous physical activity (including bending, twisting and reaching) as well as driving until your IPRMS physician authorizes an escalation in your activity level. Your incisions should heal within 2 to 4 weeks.

Don’t live with severe or ongoing pain when spinal cord stimulation and other treatments at Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists can offer you relief. Call the office to schedule an appointment or book online today.