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Does anyone have a Spinal Implant Stimulator?

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  • Does anyone have a Spinal Implant Stimulator?

    This may be a long shot, but just curious if anyone out there has one of these? I've heard it's basically like a Tens unit implanted into your epidural space.

  • #2
    I do not personally have a SCS (Spinal Cord Stimulator) but have a quite a few clients with one. What specifics would you like to know about?

    You'll do a trial implantation for a week to ten days. Prior to the trial, most doctors require patients to undergo a psychiatric evaluation/approval.

    Keep in mind that SCS are typically most useful for radicular symptoms - they may not be the cure all for straight back pain. When the stimulator is actively being used, one is not supposed to drive. For best pain management, you may require both the stimulator and pharmaceutical aids.

    Again - the above are only my experiences -and what doctors in my area like to do.


    • #3
      I have a nerve cord stimulator (NCS)--the pacemaker-size device is implanted in my right side (just above my right hip) and has 2 leads that go into my spinal column.

      The purpose for the NCS is to manage chronic, severe left kidney pain that is due to extensive nerve damage from multiple surgeries to that kidney.

      It took forever to find doctors willing to (1) believe me that the pain was coming from the kidney, (2) do diagnostics to confirm it (celiac plexus nerve blocks), and (3) come up with a long-term solution as neither the nerve blocks nor narcotic pain medication dose I was on could be maintained lifelong.

      The trial went extremely well but the first surgery to permanently place the device didn't. Turned out that the first lead had shifted slightly and I was unable to get relief from the NCS. However, the third surgery did the trick--by inserting a second lead (instead of trying to remove the first one that was scarring into place), the new one pushed the first lead into place and I finally began to feel relief.

      The leads are placed in the area of the spinal column that coordinates with the nerves associated with the pain. The internal device (IPG) serves as a way for an outside "controller" to communicate with the electrodes in the leads. Through this controller, I can adjust the intensity and level of the stimulation (feels like a vibration), which replaces the pain signals.

      I had the final surgery in September and the most important thing was giving myself time to heal before doing a lot with the horses--it's very important to let the lead(s) and IPG scar into place. I started riding about 8 weeks after surgery and wore a vest to protect my back and the area where the IGP was implanted. I still wear the vest but on really hot days I've taken it off if I'm doing flatwork because I get so hot and then feel faint.

      Since early spring, I've been back to riding regularly, which is something I haven't been able to do for over 6 years.

      To give you an idea of how well the pain control works, the dose of MS Contin (extended-release morphin) I was at the time of surgery was 100 mg 2x/day + Percocet as needed for break-through pain. Now, about 9 months later, I'm on 45 mg of MS Contin per day, and we're still decreasing it.

      I had very few options to manage the nerve pain after it was determined there was no definitive treatment. It was scary for me to go through with the surgeries, but oh so worth it in the end! And there were days after the surgeries that I lost faith that the NCS was going to work. But acute surgical pain and strong medications can do that to you.

      Nowadays, I pretty much leave mine on the same setting all the time 24/7. When it's on, I don't even notice it anymore unless I lay down to go to sleep (which makes the sensation stronger). I even leave it on to ride and drive but didn't do it initially as if you move too quickly, it can give you a startling "kick," depending on what area is being addressed by it.

      One thing I did do was get a medical bracelet that provides my name, notes that I have a neurostimulator with the IPG in my right abdomen, and lists my husband's and doctor's phone numbers.

      Getting through airports is a bit of a headache and everyone jokes that I can't wear a bikini due to the extensive scarring on my back on the very obvious rectangle that sticks out of my side and its associated scars; however, I never wore a bikini anyway and if I wanted to, who cares about the scars?!. Only clothing issue I had was having to get new breeches and jeans that were low-rise since my old ones didn't fit over my device.

      I know what I had done is not the exact same thing you're asking about but I hope this info helps a bit. Feel free to ask any questions you have.