Sciatica often develops as the result of a spinal condition, such as bone spurs, herniated discs, or spinal stenosis. These conditions lead to the telltale sciatica pain if your sciatic nerve becomes pinched or inflamed.
In many cases, at-home treatments such as rest, medication, and physical therapy are enough to reduce the inflammation and discomfort. But what happens when conservative treatments aren’t enough to alleviate sciatica pain? Our team at Wynn Over Pain excels at treating sciatica pain in National City and Chula Vista, California, even when conservative options haven’t worked for you.
Below, Brenton Wynn, MD zeroes in on spinal cord stimulation and how that can help relieve sciatic nerve pain.
Spinal cord stimulation reduces your pain by masking the pain signals that are sent to your brain. An implantable medical device emits a mild electrical pulse, which prevents your nerves from sending pain signals. Because your brain doesn’t receive those messages, it doesn’t register the pain.
Spinal cord stimulation doesn’t treat the underlying condition, meaning it won’t treat your herniated disc. That being said, spinal cord stimulation can be a breath of fresh air for people who struggle to manage their sciatica symptoms. The reprieve in pain can also boost your mental wellness and improve your quality of sleep and life.
Studies show that 48% of people who received spinal cord stimulators for sciatica pain still had at least a 50% reduction in pain 12 months after the device was implanted. This is compared with 9% of people who received only conventional pain relief therapies who had a 50% reduction of pain at the 12-month mark. The takeaway: spinal cord stimulation is effective even if other therapies haven’t worked for you.
Before your permanent stimulator is placed, you use a trial stimulator. If you find that the trial is effective for managing your chronic pain, Dr. Wynn places a permanent stimulator.
Each spinal cord stimulator consists of an electrode and a generator. The electrode is placed near the affected nerve, and the generator is often implanted near your hip. Once in place, the electrode and generator work together to create the pulse and block pain messages. Some patients don’t feel anything, while others might feel a mild tingling (rather than the intense burning pain you felt previously.)
There are many different types of spinal cord stimulators. For example, some feature generators with and without rechargeable batteries. Regardless of which type you have, the premise remains the same. Rest assured that Dr. Wynn explains each step of the process and teaches you how to use your spinal cord stimulator and how to control it with a handheld remote.
Nerve pain is fickle. Sometimes it presents as a tingling pain; at other times, it can cause burning sensations. Oddly enough, it can even cause numbness. When it comes to sciatic nerve pain, you might notice:
Typically, sciatica affects one side at a time. You might consider spinal cord stimulation if you have these symptoms of sciatica and they haven’t responded to other treatments such as epidural steroid injections, physical therapy, rest, or medication.
Chronic sciatica pain can make it hard to perform daily tasks. Even sitting at your desk is a pain with sciatica, but know that Dr. Wynn at Wynn Over Pain is on a mission to help you manage chronic pain, including sciatica pain. Call one of our offices or book an appointment today to find out if spinal cord stimulation is right for you.