Spinal cord simulation - does it work?

Hi all

I've suffered two prolapsed disc in the lumbar region and osteoarthritis in my back and hands for around 16 years now. I've tried pretty much every therapy and nonsurgical option going. my pain meds are getting endlessly increased and added to, to the point that I'm getting concerned about my ability to stay in work (worked full time since this all started, progressing well in my career and I'm so very terrified of losing this)and being able to concentrate sufficiently.

I have an appointment in two weeks to see my pain clinic doctor and was considering brining up spinal cord simulation add a potential next option. if there is a possibilities that the pain feedback cycle can be disrupted then I have the chance to return to maintenance. Has anyone tried this? Did you find it effective at all?

Very grateful for any advice and information you can provide


8 Replies

  • In the US, several companies offer devices. Pain MDs and neurology MDs may have preferences. Some types of pain respond better than others. I have 2 friends who did well with spinal stimulators. One was able to stop crutches and the other got good pain relief. I am not a candidate because my types of pain are too wide-spread to be suitable targets. But it is quite a commitment, you have a certain amount of maintenance.

  • Hi Lorna

    Thanks for your advice and this information. I think that I could deal with faff of maintenance. it's promising that this had worked for people too.

    Thanks do much


  • Hi there,

    I had the trial stylimulator fitted for 10 days or so..... blimey it must be six years ago or more.

    I used to be an engineer and even with back problems I just hate being unable to do things for myself. ... so much so that I'll really put myself out to try and accomplish a job.... the feeling of doing something for myself out weights the pain.

    I put myself forward for the spinal stimulator programme. The insertion process isn't very nice as they do it while you are conscious.

    But once it was installed it worked a lot better than the tens machines.

    I was going to go ahead with the full installation However I found out that with constant bending etc.... the stimulator wires would probably move. ... it just wasn't for me.

    I remember at the time i felt a bit uneasy that the installations seemed to be being supervised by the company who provided the equipment.... They seemed to be working as a private company within the NHS.

    The company representatives seemed to be calling all the shots. .. even the Surgeon was asking her inquisitive questions.... like he'd only fitted a few implants before.

    If I remember rightly the comany were provided some 'quiet' rooms.... I was in a part of the Hospital I had never been in before. .. nowhere near the Pain Clinic, where I had previously been. I remember being on a trolley in a patients day room conservatory surrounded by lots of elderly patients.

  • I went to the specialist today to see if I would be a good candidate for this simulator, sadly, I was told no as make back is in a permanent spasm and it would not work for me, so now he has sent me to a specialist for skeletal therapy. (. God knows what that is) I asked if it was physio and he said no it's more intense. Anyway he said I could be a candidate once they sort my back out, but good luck, I have read good things about it .

  • Hi Terri

    Thanks for this information. I must admit that I can't remember the last time that my back wasn't in spasm. I'll look into skeletal therapy as an additional suggestion though, not heard of this previously.

    I hope it works for you


  • Very mysterious goings on there, it's good that you were getting pain relief over those ten days. I'm sorry to hear that this couldn't be made more permanent with the activity associated with your work, I would make the same decision if it came to a choice between my career and pain. I also have the same stubbornness that means I will finish the task no matter what the resulting pain levels would be. I really hope you get a solution that works for you and you get relief from the pain.


  • Might be worth seeing an Alexander Teacher. They can help with posture and muscle control. If you are not standing with centre of gravity in the right place the back can respond by muscles being tighter than you would like.

    If the head is not balanced on top of the spine then muscles will respond by trying to hold the head up. This will cause muscles in various parts of the back and neck being too tight.

    This is worth investigating to see if a change in posture will reduce the pain and discomfort you are in.

    Hope I have been able to be helpful.

  • Hi John, I've been seeing an Alexander teacher for around five months now. I've certainly learned a number of corrections to posture and relaxing the muscles. Unfortunately the pain levels are on a steady increase anyway.

    Thanks for your suggestion, it was you that suggested it to me originally.


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