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Spinal cord and nerve stimulation for failed back syndrome

Both modalities can provide relief where other conservative therapies – physical therapy, nerve blocks or medication – have failed. Our experienced staff can make the proper diagnosis and recommend the best treatment for your condition.

Stimulation of the spinal cord

SCS (neurostimulation by electrotherapy) utilizes an implanted pulse generator to block pain signals at the spinal cord. It has been shown to provide significant relief:

SCS stimulation is accomplished with implanted electrodes inside the epidural space of the spinal canal that act to block the pain signals going to the brain and provide analgesic relief. The first step in the application of this modality is a trial phase (approximately one week) to determine efficacy of the procedure. If the trial phase is successful, the electrodes are then permanently implanted, along with a pulse generator. There are several varieties of electrodes and generators available, and your Columbia Pain & Spine Institute physician can discuss with you the recommended devices.

SCS is a surgical procedure and does carry some risks. It is not recommended for all patients.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

TENS utilizes pads applied to the patient’s skin to provide pain therapeutic relief through electrical stimulation of nerves in the lower back.

SCS and TENS are complex procedures that require an accurate diagnosis, and carry some risks. Our staff at Columbia Pain & Spine Institute can provide the proper diagnosis and help determine the best treatments for your condition. 

1 Kunnumpurath S., Srinivasagopalan, R., Vadivelu, N. (2009). Spinal cord stimulation: Principles of past, present and future practice: A review. Journal of Clinical Monitoring and Computing, 23, 333-339.