Spinal Cord Stimulator Trials Specialist

The Rehab Doctors

Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation & Board Certified in Sports Medicine located in Rapid City, SD

The first step of getting a spinal cord stimulator is to have a trial. The board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists at The Rehab Doctors in Rapid City, South Dakota, provide spinal cord stimulator trials to ensure the treatment relieves your pain before permanently implanting the device. If you’re interested in spinal cord stimulation, call The Rehab Doctors, or schedule a consultation online today.

Spinal Cord Stimulator Trials Q & A

What is a spinal cord stimulator?

A spinal cord stimulator is an implantable device that sends a mild electrical current into your spine. The current blocks pain signals and provides relief from chronic pain.

The Rehab Doctors’ team might recommend spinal cord stimulation to treat chronic back, arm, or leg pain from arthritis, spinal stenosis, or nerve damage. It can also be an effective treatment for pain from:

  • Failed back surgery
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Arachnoiditis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Sciatica 
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Peripheral artery disease

Spinal cord stimulation can alleviate your pain and help you return to your regular activities while avoiding surgery and reducing reliance on pain medication.

Who is a good candidate for a spinal cord stimulator trial?

The Rehab Doctors’ team provides thorough exams and consultations to determine if you’re a good candidate for spinal cord stimulation. A physician evaluates your physical condition, current treatment plan, and previous treatments and surgeries. You also have a psychological evaluation, as chronic pain affects your emotions.

Most spinal cord stimulation trial candidates have had debilitating chronic pain for more than three months. You might have had spine surgeries in the past. Some of the signs that a spinal cord stimulator trial might be right for you include:

  • Other treatments haven’t relieved your pain
  • Additional surgery isn’t likely to help
  • You don’t want to have another surgery
  • You don’t have a history of depression or addiction

The best way to find out if a spinal cord stimulator trial is right for you is to schedule a consultation at The Rehab Doctors. 

What happens during a spinal cord stimulator trial?

A spinal cord stimulator trial is the first phase of the implantation process — think of it as a test drive for the device. The procedure is a minimally invasive outpatient operation that only takes an hour or two.

Your physician might give you a sedative to help you stay relaxed during the surgery. They also use a local anesthetic to numb the insertion site thoroughly. 

Once you are ready, your physician uses a fluoroscopic X-ray to locate the malfunctioning nerve. They insert a hollow needle into the epidural space and send a trial lead through it until it hovers above the nerves carrying the pain signals.

They remove the needle and attach the wires to a generator. Your physician either tapes the generator to your back or puts it into a pouch that you wear on your belt. 

The Rehab Doctors’ team sends you home with aftercare instructions on how to care for your trial spinal cord stimulator. They also ask you to keep a log of the different settings, your pain levels, and your activities. 

The trial spinal cord stimulator stays in place for approximately a week. At this point, you return to The Rehab Doctors to review your experience and determine if permanent implantation is right for you. 

Call The Rehab Doctors today or make an appointment online if you live with chronic pain and want to find out if a spinal cord stimulator is right for you.

Click here to learn more about Spinal Cord Stimulation