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Thread: Conflicting reviews of spinal cord stimulator?

  1. #1
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    Conflicting reviews of spinal cord stimulator?

    T6 complete, sharp stabbing nerve pain at injury level (chest and back) and burning 24-7 in butt/legs/feet. I have tried every medication available, physical therapy, massages, tens unit, cognitive behavioral therapy, and had my hardware removed earlier this summer. Still have found very little relief.

    However, my doctors are very optimistic that a stimulator will help my pain. They say that between 70-90% of patients that have a trial stimulator put in end up having the full one implanted. I know that sci's are not the majority of people they put these in though. I have even talked to actual people that have them and have heard nothing but positive things. However, on these forums it seems the consensus is quite the opposite. I'm not sure why opinions seem to vary so much.

    I'm at the point though that I'm willing to try anything. However I have to have the leads of the trial stimulator put in surgically because the scar tissue from my back surgeries won't let them run the leads up my spine like they do with a traditional trial done in the office. So it's surgery to try it, then surgery again to have the rest put in if I like it or to have the leads taken back out if I don't. So since just trying it will be so involved I want to make sure I make the right decision. If you are in severe pain everyday and have tried everything else, would there be any reason to not at least try the stimulator?

  2. #2
    Speaking with a medtronics rep, the efficacy of a stim for sci nerve pain is very spotty. Is the doc recommending it a generalist or specializing in sci? If the former the high efficacy is likely. Sincerely doubt you would get this hearty recommendation from a foc specializing in sci edpecially nerve pain.

    Had one, multiple revisions then paddle leads sewn in through a laminectomy. Ineffective, severe scarring and only a specialist at Mt Sinai would remove it, mucho problems

    YMMV but a lot of trouble for me with zero gain and increased spasticity.

    Ket

  3. #3
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    I'm a T-5 complete with neuropathic pain (although I have a progressive neuro-muscular disease) and I had a spinal cord stimulator trial (now) last year. I have strong constant pain down my back through my legs. I also have an electrical shock like pain that can be quite intense. When a spinal cord stimulator was suggested by a pain interventionalist I thought that it wouldn't cover the area of my pain but, out of desperation, I tried it anyway.

    I was surprised to find that the stimulator did cover the entire area of my pain. Unfortunately I had to operate the stimulator at 100% to notice any effect. I once thought I had turned it off only to discover a few hours later that it had been on at 50% all of the time. The rep said that the typical user runs it at 25% and that 50% was considered extreme. I had the distinct feeling that the electrical signal did not cover enough of the spine to be effective. I concluded that, since I was running the thing at max and it wasn't really helping, that going forward it wasn't going to do much for the expense involved.

    The feeling was like a strong tingling or a buzzing sort of sensation but it was so strong that it was as annoying as the pain - which did not diminish. I had the tingling of the stimulator as well as the neuropathic pain. The stimulator effect is supposed to mask the pain. In my case it only competed with it (actually complemented it).

    The procedure, in my case, was relatively straight forward. I was anesthetized and the leads were put in and I was given a controller. I operated the device fairly constantly hoping for relief even though it only supposed to be operated for a hour or so at a time.

    Curiously, I somewhat regretted when it was removed. Even though it didn't work I at least had the feeling that something was being done. I guess it did provide some psychological relief. Ultimately it was decided that it would not work in my case.

    I was told by a neurosurgeon that there is a newer type of spinal cord stimulator that is being trialed and that might be available soon. It is awaiting FDA approval so who knows how long that will take. I personally am not optimistic about it given my previous experience, but I am desperate, so unless something better comes along I will try it.

    I guess it comes down to how desperate you are.

    Best of luck. If you try it I sincerely hope it works for you.

  4. #4
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
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    I had one 1985-1987. Stimulator position was revised two times after original placement, no help in any position or setting, Dr. wanted to try to push it above my injured area, but scar tissue blocked it around C-6, that what wound up being the last placement before removal..
    Alan

    Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

  5. #5
    I've been talking to my neurosurgeon, been referred to the doc who does the implant. Did a lot of looking into this on the internet. My pain runs from about 4 at the least and up to 10 - 11. The average daily pain is around 6-7. This has been going this way for over 15 years. 35 years an L-1 para, but the more serious pain began about 15 years ago. I'm not going for the tim!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Gary Is = L-1 Para for 34 years.....................
    ~~~~~~~~~~

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garyis View Post
    I've been talking to my neurosurgeon, been referred to the doc who does the implant. Did a lot of looking into this on the internet. My pain runs from about 4 at the least and up to 10 - 11. The average daily pain is around 6-7. This has been going this way for over 15 years. 35 years an L-1 para, but the more serious pain began about 15 years ago. I'm not going for the tim!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ?? So are you going to try one?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Brad09 View Post
    ?? So are you going to try one?
    No.
    Gary Is = L-1 Para for 34 years.....................
    ~~~~~~~~~~

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