What is a back stimulator?
A back stimulator is a term for a device that helps relieve chronic back pain and other issues by sending gentle electrical pulses directly to the spinal cord. This form of therapy can help back pain sufferers who have not found sufficient relief from conservative treatments such as medication or injections. It is also a common option for people who have undergone back surgery and either are not candidates for another procedure or would like to avoid one.
To help you learn more about what a back stimulator is and whether it could potentially help you, our team has created the following informative guide. Our representatives are here to answer any questions you have, so please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Is a back stimulator the same as a spinal cord stimulator?
Yes, “back stimulator” is a simpler and more informal term for a spinal cord stimulator. The device typically consists of a power pack, or generator, that sends electrical pulses through two thin wires that are attached to electrodes, or leads, near the spinal cord.
There are several different types of back stimulators made by different manufacturers that can vary the size or method for delivering power. For example, some devices have a rechargeable battery, meaning they do not need to be replaced as often as traditional stimulators. Your doctor can help you explore the options that are right for you.
How does a back stimulator relieve chronic back pain?
Although the mechanisms are still being researched, evidence supports the idea that back stimulators relieve chronic back pain by disrupting the pain signals that are sent to the brain. Instead of pain, patients with back stimulators experience a barely perceptible tingling sensation.
Spinal cord stimulation can be especially effective in improving quality of life when combined with physical therapy and lifestyle changes that support back health. This includes getting regular exercise, improving posture and eating a healthy diet.
What other conditions can a back stimulator help with?
Spinal cord stimulators can help people who are dealing with a surprisingly wide range of conditions. In addition to spine conditions that cause chronic back pain like bulging and herniated discs, doctors may recommend a back stimulator to help with the following conditions:
- Arachnoiditis, a condition that causes inflammation of a membrane around the spinal cord
- Angina, or heart-related pain
- Diabetic neuropathy and other forms of nerve pain
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Post-amputation pain
- Failed back surgery syndrome
- Abdominal pains
Patients considering a back stimulator have typically attempted conservative, nonsurgical treatments for their condition for a period of weeks or months without finding the relief necessary to engage in regular daily activities.
Do I need surgery for a back stimulator?
A Spinal cord stimulator is an implanted device that requires a minimally invasive procedure to place the generator, tunnel the wires and attach the electrodes to the epidural space near the spinal cord. This procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis at an ambulatory surgery center and only requires a relatively brief recovery period.
Before the device is permanently implanted, patients will first have a trial period that usually lasts about a week. During the trial, a surgeon will use a very thin needle to attach the electrodes near the spinal cord while a temporary external generator will be used to create the pulse. This allows patients and doctors to determine if spinal cord stimulation will effectively relieve pain signals before the device is permanently implanted.
If the trial is successful, patients can then schedule surgery for permanent placement of the implanted device.
What do I need to know about maintaining the implanted device?
Since many back stimulator devices are different, patients will receive care and operating instructions after their procedure. Patients are instructed to avoid operating their device while driving or using any heavy machinery. It is also recommended to train a family member or other close relation on how to turn off the device if the patient is unable to reach it themself for any reason.
How much does a back stimulator cost?
Costs for back stimulator devices and procedures vary depending on a number of factors. This includes the type of device, the extent of the procedure, the facility, the surgeon and the insurance provider. For patients on Medicare, spinal cord stimulator procedures are covered if it is determined to be a necessary part of treatment. At USA Spine Care, we accept Medicare and most private insurance providers while also working with personal injury and workers’ compensation cases. We can help you learn more about spinal cord stimulator cost when you speak with a member of our team.
Learn more about spinal cord stimulator surgery at USA Spine Care
At USA Spine Care, we’re passionate about helping people dealing with chronic back pain and other painful conditions find the relief they deserve. At our state-of-the-art outpatient facilities, we offer patients a streamlined experience carried out by highly skilled and experienced surgeons. We offer a full range of outpatient spine surgery, orthopedic surgery and conservative treatments to give patients an integrated, holistic care experience.
To learn more and find out if you are a potential candidate for spinal cord stimulator surgery, contact us today.
Call toll free 1-866-249-1627.