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Spinal Cord Stimulation

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a medical procedure that involves the use of a device to deliver electrical impulses to the spinal cord with the aim of modulating or interrupting pain signals before they reach the brain. This technique is primarily used to manage chronic pain conditions that have not responded well to other conservative treatments

Why and when Spinal cord stimulation is recommended?

&Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is recommended in specific situations where individuals experience chronic pain that has not responded well to other conservative treatments. The decision to recommend spinal cord stimulation is often made by pain management specialists or neurosurgeons after a thorough evaluation of the patient's medical history, pain condition, and response to previous interventions. Here are common reasons and situations when spinal cord stimulation may be recommended:

Chronic Pain Conditions:

Spinal cord stimulation is recommended for individuals experiencing chronic pain, especially neuropathic pain, that has persisted for an extended period. When chronic pain significantly impacts the individual's quality of life and other treatment modalities, such as medications, physical therapy, or surgery, have not provided sufficient relief.

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS):

Individuals who have undergone spinal surgery (back surgery) and continue to experience chronic pain afterward. When the pain persists despite the initial surgical intervention, and other treatments have not been successful.

Neuropathic Pain:

Spinal cord stimulation is effective in managing neuropathic pain, which results from nerve damage or dysfunction. When neuropathic pain is a significant component of the overall pain syndrome, and conventional treatments have not adequately controlled symptoms.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS):

CRPS is a chronic pain condition often affecting a limb, and spinal cord stimulation can be considered as a treatment option. When CRPS causes persistent and severe pain that is not effectively managed by other therapeutic approaches.

Peripheral Neuropathy:

Spinal cord stimulation may be recommended for individuals with chronic pain associated with peripheral neuropathy. When peripheral neuropathy results in intractable pain that has not responded to medications or other treatments.

Ischemic Limb Pain:

SCS can be considered for managing chronic pain related to reduced blood flow in the limbs. When ischemic limb pain is a significant source of discomfort, and other interventions have not provided adequate relief.

How is Spinal cord stimulation different from the conventional treatment?

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) differs from conventional treatments for chronic pain in its approach to pain management. Here's a comparison between spinal cord stimulation and conventional treatments:

Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS):

SCS works by delivering electrical impulses to the spinal cord, interfering with or modulating pain signals before they reach the brain. The goal is to replace or mask the perception of pain with a more tolerable sensation, such as tingling or paresthesia.

Implantable Device:

How: SCS involves the surgical implantation of a device, including electrodes and a generator, to deliver electrical stimulation to the spinal cord. This device is usually placed during a trial phase before permanent implantation.

Targeted Pain Relief:

SCS provides targeted pain relief for specific areas of the body by adjusting the location of the electrodes along the spinal cord.


The procedure is reversible, as the device can be turned off or removed if it doesn't provide effective pain relief. This reversibility is advantageous for patients who may not find the therapy beneficial.

Programmable Settings:

Patients can adjust the intensity, frequency, and duration of the electrical impulses using programmable settings, providing a degree of customization.

Conventional Treatments:

Conventional treatments often include the use of pain medications, such as analgesics, anti- inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, or neuropathic pain medications.

Physical Therapy:

How: Physical therapy aims to improve function, reduce pain, and enhance mobility through exercises, stretches, and other therapeutic interventions.


Injections, such as epidural steroid injections or nerve blocks, are commonly used to deliver anti-inflammatory medications or anesthetics to specific areas to alleviate pain. • Surgery: Surgical interventions, such as decompression surgery or fusion procedures, may be considered for certain conditions contributing to chronic pain, particularly when there is a structural issue that can be addressed surgically.

How is life after Spinal cord stimulation?

Life after spinal cord stimulation (SCS) can vary from person to person, and the outcomes are influenced by factors such as the underlying pain condition, the success of the SCS therapy, and individual responses to the implanted device. Here are some general considerations regarding life after spinal cord stimulation:

Post-Implantation Period:

After the surgical implantation of the SCS device, individuals may experience some soreness or discomfort at the implantation site. This is typically managed with pain medications.

Activation and Adjustment:

The SCS device is activated after a brief healing period. During this time, adjustments are made to the stimulation settings to optimize pain relief. It's common for individuals to work closely with their healthcare providers to find the most effective settings.

Adaptation Period:

There may be an initial adaptation period during which individuals become accustomed to the sensations created by the electrical stimulation. Some describe it as a tingling or buzzing sensation, and adjustments are made to ensure it is tolerable.

Pain Relief:

Successful SCS can provide significant pain relief, allowing individuals to better manage chronic pain and improve overall quality of life.

Functional Improvement:

Some individuals experience improvements in their ability to perform daily activities, engage in physical exercise, and participate in social and recreational activities.

Medication Reduction:

SCS may allow for a reduction in the use of pain medications, including opioids. This can positively impact overall health and well-being.

Improved Sleep:

Individuals with chronic pain often experience sleep disturbances. Successful pain management with SCS may contribute to improved sleep quality.

Increased Independence:

Effective pain control can enhance independence by reducing the impact of chronic pain on mobility and daily functioning.

Enhanced Mood and Mental Health:

Improved pain control may have positive effects on mood and mental health, reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression associated with chronic pain.

Customization of Therapy:

The ability to customize and adjust the settings of the SCS device allows for ongoing optimization based on changes in pain levels or preferences.


At Aster Hospitals we provide the highest quality of care and a transformative experience for all your healthcare needs. With our network of multi-speciality hospitals, specialised doctors, and world-class technology, we bring global standards of medical care to our patients.

Is spinal cord stimulation reversible?

Yes, spinal cord stimulation is reversible. The device can be turned off or removed if it does not provide effective pain relief, and adjustments can be made to the stimulation settings.

How long does the battery last in a spinal cord stimulation device?

The battery life of a spinal cord stimulation device is finite and typically lasts between 5 to 10 years, depending on usage. Battery replacement involves a minor surgical procedure.

What is the trial phase of spinal cord stimulation?

Before permanent implantation, a trial phase involves the temporary placement of a stimulator to assess its effectiveness. If the trial is successful in providing significant pain relief, a permanent device may be implanted.


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