Accessibility Tools

Pain Control Medical Devices

Spinal Cord Stimulator

What is a spinal cord stimulator?

Spinal cord stimulation occurs through the implantation of spinal cord stimulator: a neuromodulation device that uses mild electrical currents to modify pain signals and reduce discomfort.

Spinal cord stimulators are medical devices implanted under the skin. Stimulation is controlled by the patient who uses a handheld device to "turn up" or "turn down" the amount of electrical current delivered.

How does spinal cord stimulation work?

Researchers are still investigating how spinal cord stimulation works.

They theorize that the pain device may either

  • Alter pain signals in the brain, or
  • Replace pain sensation with a slight tingling sensation.

For spinal cord stimulation, the physician places electrodes in the epidural space of the spine near the source of the pain.

Electrodes are then attached to a generator — similar to a pacemaker — that delivers the mild electrical current to the spinal cord to alleviate symptoms.

The patient controls the spinal cord stimulator with a special remote control device which activates the generator to deliver the electrical current when experiencing pain.

Spinal Cord Stimulators approved by the FDA in the United States are manufactured by Abbott, Boston Scientific, Medtronic, and Nevro (2022).

Learn more about Spinal Cord Stimulation from Johns Hopkins.

Who is a candidate for spinal cord stimulation?

Spinal cord stimulation is considered if more conservative interventions fail to alleviate chronic pain. For example, pain persists despite physical therapy, oral medication, or injections.

Conditions that Benefit From a Spinal Cord Stimulation Device:

  • Chronic back pain
  • Failed back surgery syndrome
  • Nerve-related pain
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Spinal cord injuries

Before recommending spinal cord stimulation, a comprehensive clinical evaluation is indicated as a matter of proper standard of care.

Dr. Singla is experienced in implanting spinal cord stimulators in her clinical practice. This is helpful when evaluating any issue brought up in a lawsuit where a spinal cord stimulator was implanted or recommended.