CONTROLLING PAIN: Using a spinal cord stimulator to ease chronic pain

August 2006 
Volume 36  Number 8
Pages 18 - 19
  PDF Version Available!



QUESTION: How does a spinal cord stimulator (SCS) work and who benefits from this type of pain management?

ANSWER : An SCS delivers low-levels of electrical energy to the spinal cord to interfere with the sensation of pain. This device may help a patient with chronic pain who hasn't responded to other forms of treatment. The objective of the SCS is to control pain and reduce opioid use, so the patient can be comfortable, active, and productive.

An SCS seems to work best for neuropathic pain. Caused by nerve damage from injury or disease, this type of pain often doesn't respond to standard pain therapies.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the SCS to treat chronic intractable pain in the trunk and limbs. (See A closer look at an SCS .)

Who's a candidate for SCS?

Candidates for this therapy include patients with difficult-to-treat chronic pain of the body and limbs, failed back syndrome (continued pain ...

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