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A 30-year-old member asked:

How well does a spinal cord stimulator work?

3 doctor answers9 doctors weighed in
Dr. David Bozak
Specializes in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Depends: They can work very well in the properly selected patient, who has failed most other conservative measures and doesn't have any psychosocial or secondary gain issues. A trial is done first to make sure it helps before implanting one.
Dr. William Newton
Pain Management 19 years experience
Changes the signals: The stimulator is placed in the epidural space and it sends an electrical impulse into the back portion of the spinal cord. This is where pain signals are transmitted to the brain. This stimulation then changes the signal (neuromodulation) and the new impulse the brain receives results in a new sensation (numb/tingling) being felt where the pain normally is.
Dr. Aaron Wolfson
clinical Psychology 22 years experience
Need screening..: In general, most physicians will perform a trial implant of the spinal cord stimulator. This allows the patient to see how much pain relief they can achieve. A trial is successful if the patient achieves 50% pain relief or greater. This criterion is different regionally. Some docs want to see a higher percentage at trial. Most folks get 40-60% relief. I have seen patients who report 100%.

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Last updated May 2, 2021

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