Spinal Cord Stimulators and Chronic Back Pain

Spinal stimulator

Those who live a life with chronic back pain are always looking for a persistent method of pain control that works. Medication has been a long-standing player in this area, but there has been an ongoing search for more effective methods. One such method is the spinal cord stimulator. This device utilizes mild electrical stimulation to our nerves and spinal column to help produce meaningful relief. Spinal cord stimulators don’t work for everyone, and there are several varieties available. 


Spinal Cord Stimulators and Chronic Back Pain

Spinal cord stimulators are small devices that use a small battery pack attached to a set of thin wires known as electrodes to provide electrostimulation to the spinal cord. These wires are generally inserted in the epidural space between the vertebrae and the spinal cord. The generator itself is implanted under the skin near the abdomen or buttocks. Powered by the battery pack, these simulators make it possible for the patient to deliver electrical impulses that can ease chronic back pain.


While the mechanisms that drive the effectiveness of spinal cord stimulation aren’t well understood, they do know it’s effective. They’re also able to use these devices to target multiple muscle groups and change how the brain experiences pain. The most common spinal cord stimulators eliminate the feeling of pain by replacing it with a light tingling sensation. This sensation is known as paresthesia. More modern devices are capable of delivering sub-perception stimulation, meaning that it cannot be felt by the patient.


Spinal cord stimulation can be used to address numerous types of pain, including:

  • Back Pain – Back pain in general and post-surgical back pain can both be successfully treated.
  • Arachnoiditis – Inflammation of the thin membrane between the spinal cord and the brain known as the arachnoid.
  • Heart Pain – When heart pain doesn’t respond to other treatments, electrostimulation can help.
  • Nerve Pain – Pain from diabetic neuropathy, cancer, chemotherapy, or surgery
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Post-amputation pain
  • Perineal and Visceral abdominal pain


Using electrostimulation, your spinal specialist can improve your overall quality of life. By easing the pain, they can help you sleep better, enjoy your favorite activities more, and limit the need for pain medicine. In most cases, this kind of treatment will be used alongside other methods such as relaxation, medication, physical therapy, and exercise.

Your pain specialist will help determine if spinal cord stimulation is an appropriate treatment for your pain. The first stages of the process involve psychological screening and imaging tests to determine the source of the pain. Psychological screening aims to ensure that conditions like anxiety or depression aren’t aggravating the pain.

Ask Your Specialist About Spinal Cord Stimulators

Reaching out to your spinal & pain specialist is a good first step to investigating the potential electrostimulation has to ease your pain. They’ll schedule you for a consultation where a full medical exam will be performed. Multiple forms of imaging may be used in this process to pin down the origin of your pain and determine if a spinal cord stimulator is appropriate for your case.


Dr. Todd A. Bromberg, M.D. When chronic pain and spinal issues impact your quality of life, you need a team of crack spine and pain specialists at your disposal. Delaware Valley Pain & Spine Institute works with some of the most respected experts in the field to bring pain relief and restored quality of life to patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey!
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