At Metropolitan Pain Consultants, we continually strive to pursue drug-free treatments for patients with chronic pain. This usually entails regenerative medicine or spinal cord stimulation. So today we are going to answer the 11 most frequently asked SCS questions.
1. What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) devices are approved by the FDA to target and treat chronic pain of the arms, legs, and trunk, or pain resulting from failed back surgeries. SCS therapy uses an implanted device and thin wires with electrodes to deliver different levels of electrical energy to nerve fibers thereby decreasing chronic pain.
2. Who are the Best Candidates for SCS?
The best candidates are individuals with chronic, neuropathic pain who have unsuccessfully tried less aggressive pain therapies, ranging from exercise and over-the-counter medications to nerve blocks, systemic opioids and surgery.
3. Will SCS Cure My Chronic Pain?
SCS is not a cure for pain. It is a therapy that may help reduce your pain to a manageable level so you can return to a more normal lifestyle.
4. What are Some of the Complications Associated with SCS?
SCS is a pain therapy with a low risk of complications. Complications can include:
- Allergic reaction to the system components
- Pain at the implant site
- Local skin erosion over the implant
5. Is Spinal Cord Stimulation similar to TENS?
TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Although SCS and TENS systems both deliver electrical pulses, they are very different in how they work and what type of pain they are designed to manage. A TENS unit is an external device that delivers pulses through pads that are placed directly on the skin over the painful area. TENS is generally not effective for severe chronic pain.
6. Will SCS allow Me to be Free of Pain Medications?
Every person differs in how effective SCS therapy is for them. For some patients, SCS therapy may work well enough that pain medications are no longer needed. For others, success with the therapy can mean using less pain medication.
7. Can I go to the Pool with this Device Inside of Me?
Of course! The procedure is done to help increase your physical activity and control your pain.
8. Can I have an MRI Scan with My Implant?
With the exception of DRG, spinal cord stimulator implants are MRI compatible.
9. What Happens When I Go Through Airport Security?
Airports differ in their screening processes. When you go through security, let them know you have an implanted neurostimulator and they will direct you to the appropriate place. You will have an ID card to show that you have an implanted device, and you may be escorted around the security machine.
Occasionally, they may insist that you go through the security machine. If this happens, turn your stimulation OFF and using your remote control and go through the security machine. Once on the other side, use your remote control to turn your device ON for the flight.
10. Can I Sleep with this Device On?
11. Do I use My SCS System 24 Hours a Day?
Yes. This system was designed for 24-hour-a-day use, should you wish.
Our staff at Metropolitan Pain Consultants looks forward to hearing from you and discussing spinal cord stimulator options with you. If you have any more SCS questions, you can contact us at (201) 729-0001. We offer weekday and weekend appointments. Our conveniently located clinics can be found in West Orange, Aberdeen, Clifton, and Lyndhurst.