You expect surgery to solve your pain problems, but chronic pain after surgery is a serious problem that affects millions of Americans. In fact, recent studies showed that up to 85% of Americans experience chronic post-surgical pain extreme enough to interfere with their daily activities, meaning it reduces mobility, causes sleep loss, and contributes to lost work and wages.
Fortunately, Dr. Jay M. Shah, our renowned pain management expert, offers a highly effective solution — spinal cord stimulation (SCS).
Dr. Shah, the founder of the SamWell Institute for Pain Management in Colonia and Livingston, New Jersey, is passionate about patient-centered care and pain resolution and is known for using state-of-the-art treatments and innovative technologies to manage chronic pain. Dr. Shah has been practicing pain management medicine in the area for over a decade and has helped thousands of patients manage their chronic pain effectively.
A deep dive into spinal cord stimulation
SCS delivers low-level electrical pulses to targeted nerves in your spinal cord. Electrical pulses, powered by an implanted device, gently stimulate your nerves in a targeted fashion, reducing pain in the neck, back, arms, or legs and providing long-term and sustained relief. This device is essentially similar to a pacemaker, but it's utilized to eliminate pain and restore function.
SCS technology is versatile and has many uses:
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Acute injuries
- Postsurgical leg and back pain
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Chronic headaches
- Neuropathy pain in the extremities
- Chronic neck and back pain
Dr. Shah also specializes in a similar procedure called dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation that treats a specific bundle of nerve roots in your spine’s epidural space. DRG stimulation targets the dorsal ganglion root, sensory nerve bundles that are responsible for specific areas of nerve-related pain that transmit signals from the rest of the body to the brain.
Spinal cord stimulation and postsurgical pain
SCS is particularly effective at treating postsurgical sciatica and back and leg pain known as post-laminectomy pain, pain after neck or back surgery that becomes chronic. Here are some surgical procedures that can cause nerve pain in your neck and low back as well as upper and lower extremities.
A lumbar laminectomy is a surgical procedure that removes part of your vertebral bone called the lamina to alleviate pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. If the surgery is unsuccessful or complications arise, it could cause or exacerbate sciatica or leg and back pain.
A discectomy is a surgery that removes the herniated or damaged portion of a spinal disc that compresses a nerve root. However, it may result in inflammation, scarring, or nerve damage that causes or worsens leg, back, and sciatica pain.
Cervical or lumbar spinal fusion
This surgical procedure fuses two or more vertebrae to stabilize the spine. Once your spine is fused, movement in that area is no longer possible, but it could cause muscle spasms, nerve damage, and chronic sciatica.
A microdiscectomy is an outpatient surgery that’s less invasive than a full discectomy but still risky for complications, including nerve root injury and spinal fluid leakage.
Postamputation pain, sometimes called phantom limb pain, happens when the nerves at the end of your stumps send garbled messages to your brain.
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
CRPS, a poorly understood condition where your nerve impulses fire at high levels and cause debilitating pain, can occur after amputations and other surgeries and trauma.
All surgeries risk damaging the nerves (neuropathy) either by compression, stretching, contusions, or severing, causing chronic postsurgical pain. If these mechanical factors aren’t responsible, the pain may stem from nerve inflammation.
Chronic sciatica may arise due to nerve damage and inflammation from any of these surgeries, including incorrect surgical techniques, poor postsurgical care, subsequent injuries, or pre-existing health conditions like obesity or diabetes. Fortunately, SCS can help.
In the case of chronic postsurgical back, leg, or sciatica pain, SCS works by targeting the nerve roots near the spinal cord, providing a precise and accurate level of pain relief. SCS blocks the transmission of pain signals so you can manage your symptoms.
Dr. Shah and our team at SamWell Institute for Pain Management are committed to providing you with top-notch care using the latest pain management technologies. Get in touch with us online or by phone today to learn more about how SCS can help you manage your complex regional pain and neuropathy better.