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The spinal cord delivers nerve messages from throughout the body to the brain, including pain signals. If the pain signals can be interrupted, the brain will not process the sensation of pain. Interventional pain treatments focus on stopping pain at its source, which can include interrupting the pain signals sent to the brain. One way to accomplish this type of pain management is with electrical pulses to the spinal cord where nerves transmit pain signals, a treatment called spinal cord stimulation (SCS). At DOCS Health, we offer SCS as one of our chronic pain therapies at our medical center in Los Angeles, CA.

A spinal cord stimulator offers a customized way to control pain signals that are sent to the brain. Nerves from all over the body send sensations to the spinal cord, which delivers these signals to the brain. A spinal cord stimulator is a device that uses small probes inserted near specific nerves where their roots enter the spinal cord. Small electrical pulses can be sent through the probes to the nerves using a remote that is controlled by the patient. These impulses interrupt pain signals, disguising them before they reach the brain. This can be an effective way to control the intensity of chronic pain, especially for those who have not found other treatments effective.

Dorsal Column Stimulator

Like the spinal cord stimulator, a dorsal column stimulator interrupts pain signals by using electrical impulses. Lead wires deliver the signals to the spinal cord and an external remote control is used to turn the device on. The difference is in the types and locations of pain that are controlled. With an SCS, general pain in larger areas can be controlled. This can be used for limb pain, sciatica, lumbar back pain or neck pain. With the dorsal column stimulator, a much more precise area of pain can be controlled. This is a better option for those with phantom limb pain or CRPS.

Patients who are good candidates for SCS or a dorsal column stimulator have chronic pain that has not responded well to other pain management treatments. The patient is put on a treatment trial to see if these devices will benefit their pain experience, usually for one week. If it is successful, minimally-invasive surgery is performed to add the device, leads and probes near the spine.

If you have chronic pain and want to explore interventional options like a spinal cord stimulator for pain management, contact us at DOCS Health. We offer advanced pain treatments at our medical center in Beverly Hills, CA.