Spinal cord stimulation (SCS), also called neurostimulation, delivers mild electrical stimulation to the nerves along the spinal column, modifying or blocking nerve activity to minimize the sensation of pain reaching the brain. Spinal cord stimulation is being recommended for an increasing number of conditions such as failed back surgery syndrome, cervical and lumbar radiculitis, neuropathy, and complex regional pain syndrome among others.
How the Stimulator Works
Pain signals travel up the spinal cord to the brain.
A generator, similar to a cardiac pacemaker, sends pulses to a thin wire called a lead.
The lead delivers these pulses to nerves along the spinal cord.
The pulses modify the pain signals as they travel to different parts of the brain.
The pulses change the way your body perceives pain—providing potential relief from physical pain as well as the suffering* associated with pain.
This injection relieves pain in the neck, shoulders, and arms caused by a pinched nerve (or nerves) in the cervical spine. It can be used to treat conditions such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and radiculopathy.
The procedure is performed with the patient lying face down or face up to expose the neck. The patient may be sedated but awake during the procedure. A region of skin and tissue of the neck is numbed with a local anesthetic delivered through a small needle.
Inserting the Needle
The physician uses an x-ray device called a fluoroscope to guide a needle to the painful area of the neck. The needle is inserted into the neural foramen space, which is the region through which spinal nerves travel.
Confirming the Needle Placement
Contrast dye is injected into the space to make sure the needle is properly positioned near the irritated nerve or nerves.
Injecting the Medication
An anesthetic solution is injected into the foramen space, bathing the irritated nerve.
End of Procedure and After Care
The needle is removed and a small bandage is applied. Some patients may need only one injection, but two or three injections may be needed to provide significant pain relief.