Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial (for CRPS)

Spinal Cord Stimulator with external battery

If you’re living with Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), you know the frustration of pain that just won’t shut off. You could even be suffering from swelling, changes in color, temperature, and texture, and excessive sweating in your hands, feet, arms, legs, or other areas of your body.

Also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome or RDS, it’s a syndrome that can leave you feeling hopeless, since its symptoms often get worse over time.

However, at Cahaba Pain and Spine Care, our Board Certified Pain Physicians could help you find the relief you’ve been looking for. Our team of experts specializes in the implantation of Spinal Cord Stimulators that could help you overcome the pain and dramatically improve your quality of life.

To help you determine if a Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial is right for you, we’ve broken down the most common questions patients have, including how it works and what to expect from this advanced treatment option.

What Is A Spinal Cord Stimulator and How Can It Help Me?

Spinal Cord Stimulation involves the implantation of an electrical stimulation device. The device’s pulses work to interrupt the pain signals from your spinal nerves and alter them before they can reach your brain.

A Spinal Cord Stimulator includes a:

  • Battery-operated pulse generator
  • Wire with electrodes that transfer the stimulation to your cord
  • Hand-held remote control

Although Spinal Cord Stimulation doesn’t treat the source of your Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, it can give you relief by altering the intensity of pain you feel and is a tool that can help you live a better life. Instead of feeling the severe, burning pain most often associated with CRPS, instead you might only notice a tingle or a massage-like sensation.

How Does Spinal Cord Stimulation Work?

To have a Spinal Cord Stimulator implanted, your pain specialist will make a small incision near the area of your spine where your nerves associated with your CRPS symptoms are located. For example, if you live with severe leg pain, the stimulator could be positioned in your mid to low back while arm pain could require the stimulator be placed in your neck.

The procedure is performed under general anesthesia.

After implantation the device will send out small pulses of electrical current to your nerve fibers located within your spinal cord to block the pain sensation you’ve been experiencing. The hand-help remote provides you with complete control, allowing you to turn the device on and off and adjust its settings in response to your pain level.

Am I a Good Candidate for Spinal Cord Stimulation?

If you’re living with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, you could be a good candidate for a Spinal Cord Stimulator. To determine if Spinal Cord Stimulation can help you find relief from the burning pain of CRPS, the pain management specialists at Cahaba Pain and Spine Care can conduct a Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial.

This trial uses a temporary stimulator placement in order to determine if the device will provide the relief you’re looking for and generally lasts 2-7 days.

In general, you are not considered to be a good candidate for a Spinal Cord Stimulator if you have a cardiac pacemaker or bleeding disorder, or if you are susceptible to infections around your spine.

What Are the Results?

If your physician determines you’re a good candidate for a Spinal Cord Stimulator, you can move forward with the implantable device to finally achieve relief from the constant, burning pain of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

Although Spinal Cord Stimulation does not treat the cause of CRPS, it can help you live better and stay more active and pain-free.