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What Can I Expect with a Spinal Cord Stimulation Trial?

About 16 million adults suffer from chronic or persistent back pain. This type of back pain can be debilitating and negatively affect your quality of life. While many treatment options address back pain, they don’t always provide the relief you need. Spinal cord stimulation can help people find relief from other nonsurgical treatments or back surgeries. 

Spinal cord stimulation is an effective treatment involving  implanting electrodes or thin wires and a generator to help run interference with pain signals reaching your brain. At Midwest Sports and Interventional Spine, in Kenosha and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, board-certified interventional pain specialist Cyril Philip, MD, prescribes spinal cord stimulation to treat various  back pain problems. But before he implants the device, he starts with a spinal cord stimulation trial to make sure this device can alleviate your specific pain issue.

What conditions can a spinal cord stimulator treat?

If you’ve tried nonsurgical treatments for your back pain, such as physical therapy and over-the-counter or prescription pain medications, and those treatments have not been effective, Dr. Philip may recommend a spinal cord stimulator. He may also recommend it if you’ve had previous injuries or surgery for back pain and continue to experience pain. 

Some conditions that Dr. Philip may recommend a spinal cord stimulator as part of treatment, in addition to other methods, include:

A spinal cord stimulator can be a game-changer to help you sleep, be active, and improve your overall quality of life. But first comes a trial period.

What happens during a spinal cord stimulation trial?

During the trial period, which lasts about a week, Dr. Philip implants two electrodes into your spine. The placement of the electrodes depends on the location of your pain. 

These electrodes connect to a generator outside your body, usually attached to a belt you wear around your waist. The generator is attached to a remote that you can press to send pulses of electric current to your spine, interfering with the pain signals. 

During the trial, Dr. Philip asks you to monitor your pain and note if pressing the remote helps. If the trial is successful, this generator will get surgically placed under the skin, usually near the buttocks or abdomen. 

If you’re experiencing persistent and debilitating back pain and other treatment methods have failed, call Midwest Sports and Interventional Spine to make an appointment with Dr. Philip. You can also request an appointment using our online booking feature.

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