Why is the procedure done?
Spinal cord stimulation is a procedure which utilises tiny electrical impulses to treat people suffering from chronic pain in their legs or arms. Spinal cord stimulation has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of chronic intractable pain in the trunk and limbs. Electrical impulses, released from the stimulator, block the transmission of pain signals and replace them with a pleasant tingling sensation. The electrical impulses can be targeted to specific locations and stimulation can be adjusted as necessary. This procedure may be an option if you have chronic leg or arm pain and have not seen relief with traditional treatments including physical therapy, medications, injections and surgery. Prior to permanent placement you will undergo a trial to see if spinal cord stimulation is effective for you.

What happens during this procedure?
You will be placed on your stomach and the skin over the injection site(s) is cleaned. A local anesthetic numbs the skin. After the numbing medicine has been given time to be effective, the physician directs a hollow needle, using x-ray guidance, into the epidural space. Thin, flexible wires with leads are guided through the needle into the back near the spinal column without the need for any incisions. Leads are placed beneath the skin and attached to a small generator that is portable. The leads are then attached to an advanced programming device which can be adjusted to specifically target your pain.

How do I prepare for the procedure?
You may not eat for 4 hours before the procedure. You can take your routine medications. If you have diabetes, please contact your treating provider for instructions on how to manage your diabetes medications. You must bring a driver. If you have any changes in your medical condition or are feeling sick, you should contact our office to inform our staff. You should stop all blood thinners, such as: Coumadin, Plavix, aspirin and most arthritis medications. You should stop herbal medicines and supplements one week before the procedure.

What are the side effects?
In general, Spinal Cord Stimulation is safe. Serious side effects or complications are rare. However, similar to all injection procedures adverse effects are possible. The risks include but are not limited to increased pain, bleeding, and infection. To help prevent infection the procedure is performed under sterile conditions. Please discuss any specific concerns with your physician.

What happens after this procedure?
After the procedure, you will need a driver to take you home. You should not return to work until the next day. Avoid strenuous activity including: lifting objects greater than 5 pounds, bending, twisting, climbing, and extending arms overhead. If you are sore after the injection, you may apply ice to the area. You will be given a pain diary for your trial where you can write down how well your pain is controlled and if you’re able to perform activities more easily – please fill this form out. Additionally, it is important to move around and do activities that would generally create your pain to fully evaluate the effectiveness of the trial. Several days or more after the procedure, you will return to your doctor's office for a follow-up visit to see if permanent placement of the spinal cord stimulator is right for you.

For additional information please refer to www.controlyourpain.com

* Therapeutic procedures can have both diagnostic and therapeutic qualities

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