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Find Long-Term, Minimally Invasive Solutions to Your Pain With Neuromodulation

Authored by Dr. Niteesh Bharara. December 2, 2020

Many patients find that their pain symptoms are not fully relieved by surgery, and continue to experience the chronic pain they felt pre-surgery. This can be an incredibly difficult and frustrating process and can get in the way of your life. There’s a new treatment process that is minimally invasive and can be a permanent pain reliever for those who have tried almost everything: neuromodulation. 

Neuromodulation is a type of therapy that can treat shoulder, neck, knee, and back pain for those suffering after prior surgery. Neuromodulation acts directly upon nerves to alter nerve activity and stop the pain in the patient. It is used to treat patients who have tried almost everything else and suffer from chronic pain from a variety of conditions such as epilepsy, spinal injuries, or general persistent pain. For those having this done in their spine, it is referred to as a spinal cord stimulator.  The goal of neuromodulation, or a spinal cord stimulator, is to reduce patients’ pain by at least half and is considered a long-term treatment if successful. Neuromodulation is a great option for chronic pain sufferers looking for permanent relief from their knee, shoulder, or back pain.

Benefits of Neuromodulation: 

  • Alleviate symptoms when there is no surgical treatment
  • A small, minimally invasive procedure that is lower risk than having surgery
  • Involves a trial to see how effective the stimulator is prior to implantation
  • Can be very effective for chronic nerve damage

How is neuromodulation performed in the spine?

While under mild sedation, two small wires are placed through needles under the skin and near the spine.  This is precisely placed using image guidance to ensure accuracy and safety.  There are no incisions as the wires are placed through the skin using only a needle.  These wires will stay in place for a total of 7 days to let you see if the device is interrupting the pain.  If the trial is successful and the majority of pain is improved, the device will then be permanently placed.

What is the recovery time? 

There is no recovery time after the trial portion. You are back to regular activities immediately. After the permanent portion of the spinal cord stimulator implant, there is light duty for approximately 6 weeks to ensure complete healing.

What makes neuromodulation a good option for patients with chronic pain? 

Spinal cord stimulation and neuromodulation is a great option when other options such as injections and surgery have failed to provide the relief that is needed.  This is a great option for many people suffering from pain after surgery or with other neurologic issues.  The device works well for back, neck, arm, or leg pain.

Neuromodulation or spinal cord stimulator is a great option for those who have tried surgery and other treatment options, and haven’t found the right fit to make them pain-free. If you suffer from chronic neuropathic pain, spinal cord stimulation may enable you to control and relieve your pain. Board-certified Pain Specialists at Virginia Spine Institute can determine if this is an appropriate option for you to help improve your life. Schedule an appointment with a spine specialist today to discuss treatment options. 

Reviewed by: Dr. Niteesh Bharara.

Reviewed by: Dr. Niteesh Bharara.

About The Author

Dr. Niteesh Bharara

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