Spinal cord stimulation is a procedure that is prescribed for the patients suffering severe chronic pain for months to years from now. Spinal cord is the region of neuronal transaction of sensory and motor impulses. It is here from where the sensory organs feel and experience pain. In case the pain impulses are blocked from the spinal cord, the region goes anaesthetized and the pain is relieved.
Spinal cord stimulation involves generation of small strength pulses from the external device that is implanted in the body. These pulses are then directed to the regions near the spinal cord such that the pain impulses are interfered and pain sensation is reduced. Even though the complete pain relief may not be expected, the procedure is aimed at reducing the pain sensation to a tolerable extent. Moreover, the success rate of spinal cord is great. But, not all of the patients may get benefited with this technique due to various reasons.
Here we shall discuss the indications for which the procedure of spinal cord stimulation is well established.
Patients suffering from failed back syndrome or low back syndrome may undergo spinal cord stimulation therapy. The success rates in these patients have established spinal cord stimulation to be the safe and effective therapy.
Multiple back operations leave the patient limp with the pain due to several and deeper incisions. The tissues are never as strong as they were previously and the ligaments fail to support the organs firmly. These patients may be in constant pain due to several operations to the back. Spinal cord stimulation helps to alleviate the severity of pain caused due to multiple surgeries.
Postlaminectomy pain: Surgical removal of vertebral bone- lamina can cause nerve damage that result in intense pain to the patient. This post laminectomy period is very painful which can be endured with the help of spinal cord stimulation.
Epidural fibrosis: is the condition where a scar tissue develops around the nerve roots. The pain due to fibrosis of nerves in the epidural regions is unbearable and debilitating. Since epidural fibrosis may not be cured, as a symptomatic treatment spinal cord stimulation can come as a great relief.
Unsuccessful disc surgery
Peripheral causalgia and Causalgia: A pain syndrome that is characterized by burning sensation due to injury in the peripheral nerves is peripheral causalgia. Causalgia may further be aggravated due to sympathetic nervous system. This condition can also be treated by spinal cord stimulation.
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy also called as complex regional pain syndrome is manifested by chronic pain experienced in arms, legs, and any other parts of the body. Patients feel intense pain and burning sensation that is past endurance. These patients may also rely on spinal cord stimulation.
Arachnoidtis or lumbar adhesive arachnoiditis: Inflammation of arachnoid space causes chronic pain that can be treated using this procedure.
Contraindications: Exposure to microwave, ultrasound, short wave diathermy should be avoided with spinal cord stimulation.