Any experience of spinal cord stimulation?

Pain mmgt specialist suggests I try but it sounds like a torture! I can't face going to the gp for a referral to discuss because that's an ordeal and I always work myself up and end up sobbing so they think I'm a nut and I usually walk out with a prescription for anti Ds which I don't think work and really just some kindness and common sense help would be preferable. Apparently it costs 25k. I haven't had a day off back pain for over 15 years and am currently laid up with a toe fracture I suspect due to long term use of omeprazole as the fracture occurred from wearing a shoe! Am only 52! Can't work. :( any thoughts appreciated. :)

9 Replies

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  • Hmmmm. Its a serious op if that's what it costs. I would be finding out as much as I can about it, how long it takes, how successful it is, how long the recovery is, how much benefit you will get. I would also research the surgeons who do it, their success rate, how many they have done, how they deal with it if it doesn't work. I would also try to speak to people who have had it done by your surgeon and those who have had it done by another surgeon, to compare. I would also see if they do the op in Europe and America, and go through the list with them. Then I would decide whether to do it or not. You only have one spine, and sometimes its better to hang out with the devil you know than create a new devil.

  • Hello

    I have only heard of spine stimulation with a TENS, although I heard something in pain control that inferred an operation that stimulate the spine directly. Sadly I was not really listening, must of being asleep during relaxation therapy .

    Check on the web site NHS CHOICES, they will be able to explain what has to be done.

    You should be able to also find out the different doctors and hospitals that do this treatment

    Good luck will find out about this myself, thank you

    BOB

  • Hello

    I have only heard of spine stimulation with a TENS, although I heard something in pain control that inferred an operation that stimulate the spine directly. Sadly I was not really listening, must of being asleep during relaxation therapy .

    Check on the web site NHS CHOICES, they will be able to explain what has to be done.

    You should be able to also find out the different doctors and hospitals that do this treatment

    Good luck will find out about this myself, thank you

    BOB

  • Hello back again

    You can get an explanation regarding spine stimulation on wikapedia, it is electrode that are inserted into the spinal cord so that the electrodes are located in the right place. The RVI in Newcastle does this so I must have heard about it there

    All the best

    BOB

  • Thx all. Really looking for someone who's had it done as I know it's quite involved but apparently offers full pain relief as the wires interrupt the pain signal and is powered by a pacemaker inserted into the buttocks.

  • Hi boozybird,

    I haven't had personal experience.... yet. I would first like to say how much I can empathise with your situation, including the emotions, and hope you do find a way to help relieve your pain. I am not a health proffesional or anything close, so please investigate everything yourself; but I hope this may help..... I also have back pain and have also been asked to consider this. I have done some research already and spoken to a friend from our local pain group who has this already. Initially you will be talking with a team who will assess if you are a likely candidate for pain relief success; normally for back issues the main 2 things that can make you eligable, which are failed back surgery syndome and certain types of neuropathic pain. They also make you understand that it very rarely gets rid of all pain; but can have miod to dramatic reductions in pain if succesful.

    Once they think it could help you they will do a trial which is mainly an external setup, with 2 wires being placed into your epidural space with the pulse generator being outside the body. I think the trial is for a couple of weeks and they can adjust the settings a few times to find tge best pain relief for you in the right spot. If it gives no positive results then they go no further, however, if it helps then the reversable (apparantly) op can be arranged. The figures for success in accepted candidates is 70% recieving a degree of pain relief, but obviously I am not in any way a proffesional and you should look up the figures etc. yourself.

    I dont know much more than that atm as am still investigating myself. I wish you all the best and cannot agree enough that you should investigate everything about the op, surgeon, results etc before deciding anything.

  • Thank you Stampede for taking the time to respond to this question. I have done a bit of detective work but I've found over the years that once you set a train in motion it becomes unstoppable. I could go to the gp and demand referral (they already have a pain specialist recommendation letter) and be evaluated by the ss team, talk to them, ask a load of questions (emotions notwithstanding) but you tend to get caught up in the hope of finding a solution. I just don't think it's possible to be fully rational because you just don't know whether something will work unless you actually try...the pain consultant was adamant it was worth a try and said not to listen to horror stories, he was a lovely man but three rounds of transforaminal steroid injections under local anaesthetic was traumatising and the thought of someone opening up my back (again) and laying cables etc etc.. Makes me feel white with fear but then living with relentless pain is a rock and a hard place. Thank you all again for support and advice. Best wishes to all pain sufferers out there. :)

  • Theres many topics on this on another forum that I use, painsupport, there are a few on there who have had it done. There is a number of topics dedicated to it.

    I asked my pain specialist about it and he told me to stay away from it due to the high risk of infection, problems with the wires breaking, the unreliability of the control units and the short life of the batteries.

    Essentially 2 electrodes are inserted directly into the spinal column, these are attached by wires to a control unit which is placed under the skin. It then stimulates by way of electrical charge, the spinal cord in an attempt to disrupt the erroneous signals being sent to the brain, hence therefore reducing or elimination the pain you suffer from.

    If the wires break you need to have an op to replace them. If the electrodes break you have to have an op to replace them, if the control unit fails or the battery dies, you have to have an op to replace them.

    It's a big operation with substantial risk involved.

    Before you have the full implant, you have to have a trial where they insert the electroldes, but everythig else is outside of the body. If the trial is deemed sucessful, then you have the full implant where everything is impanted under the skin.

    Please do research this as best you can. Get as much information as they can provide from your specialist.

  • Have you tried an external TENS machine? If that helps relieve pain, it may be enough but you'll know that a SCS will work as well. I had a TENS machine which used sticky pads but I found the pads caused a skin reaction and they slipped off. I know have one from Prorelax, which is a belt which attaches with velcro and the pads are part of the belt so do not need to be stuck on. I got it through a Groupon offer but find it very good. Regarding the placement of the SCS they would not need to open you up to put the wires in.

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