Before we dive into the questions and answers about spinal cord stimulation it is important to understand the procedure and its benefits. From our website’s description of spinal cord stimulation and how it can help pain:
“Spinal cord stimulation is a procedure that uses mild electrical impulses to the spine to treat chronic pain due to a variety of conditions, including failed back surgery, neuropathic pain/neuropathy and complex regional pain syndrome/reflex sympathetic dystrophy.”
Spinal cord stimulation is a fairly safe, minimally invasive procedure with few side effects that many healthcare professionals are promoting for its use in pain management. As with any procedure, however, there are sure to be questions. Here are answers for some of the most commonly asked questions about spinal cord stimulators.
What are the risks for this procedure?
The most common risk with an implanted device is infection. There may also be unexpected movement of the implant or you may experience an allergic reaction. A system may also stop working if the battery is depleted. Your doctor will test for and discuss all of these risk factors with you prior to the procedure.
Can I travel with this implant?
Both driving and flying are completely safe after having a spinal cord stimulator implanted. Some experts advise that you turn off the device before operating a motor vehicle. You should also turn the stimulator off when passing through airport security but it can be on during the flight.
Can I resume physical activities after implantation?
Most physical activities are considered safe after the procedure. It is always advisable to talk with your specialist regarding exercise, hobbies, and work.
How do I know if the batteries are working?
There are two types of implants: rechargeable and non-rechargeable. You will be shown how to properly use a rechargeable unit and maintain power. Your doctor will be able to advise you on the battery life of your non-rechargeable unit.
What other questions do you have about spinal cord stimulators?
Image by Marcin Wichary via Flickr