Cervical Spinal Stimulator – What is it and How it can Help You Recover from Chronic Neck Pain
Chronic neck pain is not only a significant physical set back, but it can also take a toll on your mental well-being. While it may feel like an isolating experience, many people deal with this condition that may not always get better with conservative treatments. Fortunately, there are other options to treat chronic neck pain, including spinal cord stimulation. Thanks to recent advancements in medical technology, cervical spinal stimulation has become a popular and effective choice for individuals seeking relief from chronic neck pain. Read on to learn more about spinal cord stimulation for neck pain, including how it works and how to determine if it’s the right treatment option for you.
Why is a Cervical Spinal Stimulator Needed?
Patients who are good candidates for this implant usually have experienced chronic pain for more than three months and have also already had one or more spinal surgeries. Also, cervical spinal stimulation is typically used after non-surgical treatment options have failed to provide adequate relief for your symptoms. Cervical spinal stimulation treatment may be necessary for the following reasons:
- Prior surgeries, medication or other non-invasive therapies have proven to be ineffective at providing pain relief
- You have injuries to the spinal cord or nerve-related pain due to cancer, and other diseases like diabetes
- To improve your overall quality of life and reduce your dependence on pain medications
- To treat headaches with stimulation over the occipital nerve and the supra orbital nerve
What to Expect during a Cervical Spinal Stimulator Procedure
Cervical spinal stimulation is an interventional procedure where a stimulator device, similar to a pacemaker, is implanted into your back. This device delivers a mild electrical current to the spine to mask pain signals before they can reach the brain. While stimulation does not eliminate the source of your pain, it works by interfering with the signals that are being transmitted to the brain. Here is a closer look at how the procedure works from start to finish:
- Before the Procedure: Determining if a cervical spinal stimulator is the right course of treatment for you is a two-step process. You must undergo a temporary trial run to see if the device effectively reduces your pain. A trial simulator is surgically inserted into the back and you will be sent home with instructions on how to use it. After a few days to a week, you will return to your doctor’s office to discuss whether or not it is worth having the device permanently implanted.
- During the Procedure: If the trial is successful and you have felt significant improvement in your level of pain, surgery will be scheduled to implant the device into your body. During the implantation procedure, the generator is positioned underneath the skin and your trial electrodes are replaced with sterile electrodes. These will be held in place with sutures to minimize movement. Once the generator and electrodes are connected, the incision is closed. This is typically performed as an outpatient procedure and may take between 1-2 hours to complete.
- After the Procedure: Once the anesthesia wears off, most patients are able to leave the clinic on the same day as the surgery. The area around the incision site may be painful for a few days and it is important to avoid doing twisting or stretching motions. Additionally, most incisions will heal between 2-4 weeks after the procedure and lighter activity is usually recommended during this period. While most patients can expect to return to work or perform regular activities such as driving 1-2 weeks after surgery, it is important to adhere to the specific recovery plan recommended by your surgeon.
The Benefits of a Cervical Spinal Stimulator
If you are living with long-term pain, a cervical spinal stimulator can provide you with relief in addition to several other benefits. Some of these benefits include:
- The cervical spinal stimulator is adjustable. A handheld controller can be used to adjust the level of electrical impulses being delivered according to the level of pain you are in for any given day.
- Over-the-counter pain medications can be highly addictive even though they are intended to be used as a short-term solution. A stimulator offers a new alternative for pain relief that is also more beneficial for your long-term health.
- If you are not seeing positive results from the stimulator, it can be easily removed without complication.
- Both the procedure and the device itself do not cause serious side effects. After the device is implanted, most patients do not experience any issues.
Chronic neck pain does not have to become part of your everyday life. Even if your symptoms resist conservative treatment options, cervical spinal stimulation can be an effective form of pain management. If you are considering this procedure to treat your chronic neck pain, talk to Dr. Lewis at Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic. As a spine and brain specialist, he is trained in multiple surgical techniques and has developed advanced instrumentation for various procedures. He has the knowledge, training, and experience to help you make the right decision when it comes to successfully treating your chronic neck pain. He has taught the course on implantation of cervical spine stimulators.
Contact us today to learn more about cervical spinal stimulation or to schedule a consultation. We’ll find a solution that works for you. Call us at (601) 366-1011.