Pain Treatment Option After Failed Back Surgery

Have you experienced chronic pain after a neck, back, or lower back surgery?  Research indicates spinal cord stimulation (SCS) may alleviate chronic pain symptoms you may be experiencing after a surgery.  SCS is commonly recommended in cases of failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) due to the success rate, cost-effectiveness and safety of the minimally invasive procedure treatment.

How Does Spinal Cord Stimulation Work

Early SCS technology has evolved over the years.  When you feel pain, it is because the nerves are sending a pain signal to your brain.  The SCS system works to mask pain impulses before they reach the brain to help patients manage their pain.  SCS therapy can help manage chronic pain, even when other therapies have failed.  It has helped hundreds of thousands of people and is FDA-approved for adults with chronic pain of the trunk and / or lower limbs.

Evaluation Process

Many patients considering SCS therapy are asked to participate in a psychological evaluation that experts evaluate to help determine a candidate’s likelihood to benefit from SCS therapy.  Following successful completion of the evaluation and with direction from your pain management specialist, you will have the opportunity to participate in a week-long trial test, where a minimally invasive procedure is completed to understand a patient’s tolerance and response to the stimulation.  In other words, as a patient, you have the ability to trial the device, before ever committing to have the complete surgery – there are not many procedures like this in medicine. If the patient experiences a 50% or greater reduction in pain, the patient can decide to move forward with the permanent procedure.

Success of Spinal Cord Stimulation

SCS is generally considered effective if:  1) a patient’s pain is reduced by at least 50%; 2) a patient is able to get back to their daily activities; 3) a patient’s need for pain medication is reduced; or 4) a patient is able to relax and sleep better.

A Multidisciplinary Approach

To achieve the best treatment outcomes, a long-term multidisciplinary approach is recommended with SCS.  After accurate patient screening and selection, a multidisciplinary approach is the best treatment option but is not a cure for chronic pain.  Combine SCS treatment with primary care, pain management, physical therapy, and rehabilitation to remain active and to reduce the chances of pain-related disability.

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Cleveland Clinic