SCS-Spinal Column Stimulators

There is an excellent article on WebMD regarding the SCS units. If you are considering having one implanted for any type of chronic pain, even a temporary one, I would highly recommend reading this article.

Some of the highlights or things they discuss in the article are;

Electrical nerve stimulation is a procedure that uses an electrical current to treat chronic pain. Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) and spinal cord stimulation (SCS) are two types of electrical nerve stimulation. In either, a small pulse generator sends electrical pulses to the nerves (in peripheral nerve stimulation) or to the spinal cord (in spinal cord stimulation). These pulses interfere with the nerve impulses that make you feel pain.


How Well It Works

There isn’t a lot of evidence to show how well spinal cord stimulation works. It seems to help certain types of chronic pain, such as failed back surgery syndrome and complex regional pain syndrome.1 Spinal cord stimulation may also help chronic low back pain.


Initial pain relief is often followed by a gradual decline in effectiveness. Apparently, this is caused by the body’s increasing tolerance to the treatment.



Possible risks related to electrical nerve stimulation include:


  • Scar tissue (fibrosis) developing around the electrode.
  • Pain gradually moving beyond the reach of the nerve stimulator.
  • Breakage of an electrode or hardware failure.
  • Infection.
  • Leakage of spinal fluid during spinal cord stimulation.
  • Headache from spinal cord stimulation.
  • Bladder problems in spinal cord stimulation.
  • Getting used to the stimulation, making it less effective.

Read the entire article and its citations to get the whole picture. Good article.

You can find pictures of stimulators here.