Pain signals travel in the back of the spinal cord. To stop them from traveling, medications work by modulating pain signals as they ascend to the brain.
Patients will receive sedation for the procedure but will need to be awake enough to follow commands and answer questions. The procedure entails numbing of the skin on the back. Once numbing occurs, a needle will be inserted into the epidural space. Spinal cord stimulator leads will be advanced in the epidural space until they rest in the appropriate area to block pain signals in the back and legs. Patients will discuss with the doctor and the stimulator technician how the stimulator is relieving pain so the best results can be achieved.
This is a same day surgical procedure. Discomfort at the needle site is to be expected, but patients should also experience relief in the back and legs. Following the procedure, patients will live with the stimulator for a week and stay active to determine how the stimulator improves their quality of life.