Approximately 1.5 billion men and women worldwide live with chronic pain, especially in their back, neck, or extremities. If you're one of them, you don’t have to resign yourself to a life filled with chronic pain. The HF10™ spinal cord stimulator can offer dramatic relief from back and extremity pain, even if you haven’t responded to other treatments.
Board-certified anesthesiologist and interventional pain management physician S. Justin Badiyan, MD, specializes in treating spine disorders at Spine & Joint Physicians of Frisco. When it comes to treating chronic back and neck pain, Dr. Badiyan relies on the latest cutting-edge solutions that offer proven results. If you have chronic pain, here’s what you should know about the HF10 spinal cord stimulator.
Understanding how you feel pain
Imagine suffering a cut on your leg. Although your leg will be the source of the pain, your brain actually determines what you feel.
Your body contains special nerves known as nociceptors, and they fire off messages to your spinal cord and brain if they detect tissue damage. Once your brain receives these signals, it decides how to respond. This complex communication system only takes fractions of a second, but you have it to thank for any pain sensations you experience.
Spinal cord stimulators (SCS) rely on neuromodulation to interfere with the messages your nerves send your brain. By disrupting this communication cycle, you can change how your brain processes pain.
How spinal cord stimulators control chronic pain
A spinal cord stimulator consists of a pulse generator, implantable wires, and a remote control. The generator is normally implanted in the upper bottocks. The implantable wires go from the generator to your spinal cord or to specific nerves.
When turned on, the wires deliver mild electrical pulses to block any pain signals nociceptors try sending to your brain. With the remote control, you can turn on the generator when pain starts, and you can control the strength of the electrical pulses.
It’s important to note that a spinal cord stimulator won’t heal the cause of your pain. It will only alter the way your brain processes signals. That means that instead of feeling severe or intense pain, you may have a fluttering sensation or no sensation at all.
At Spine & Joint Physicians of Frisco, Dr. Badiyan uses the HF10 system, an advanced spinal cord stimulator that doesn’t cause the tingling sensations that other SCS devices can produce. It also doesn’t deliver unexpected shocks during routine daily activities, such as twisting or bending. You can also leave this SCS system turned on while sleeping or driving.
When to consider a spinal cord stimulator
Before implanting a spinal cord stimulator, Dr. Badiyan will give you a trial run with a temporary stimulator to ensure one is right for you. First, Dr. Badiyan will use X-ray guidance to insert temporary wires along your spine where your nerves are sending your pain signals. Then, instead of implanting your pulse generator, you will wear it on the outside of your body for up to a week.
If your pain lessens by at least 50% during your SCS trial period and your functional activity levels improve, it would likely be considered a success. The trial leads are removed in the office and discussions are then had regarding implanting the generator.
What to expect during your implantation procedure
Permanently implanting a spinal cord stimulator is usually an outpatient procedure that takes 1-2 hours. Dr. Badiyan will provide anesthesia during this minimally invasive surgery so you’ll remain comfortable.
To implant your SCS, Dr. Badiyan will make a small incision along your spine. Then, he’ll place the permanent wires and secure them in place.
Then he’ll make another small incision ― usually in your upper buttocks ― and place the pulse generator. Finally, Dr. Badiyan will confirm that the wires and generator are functioning properly and close your incisions.
Once the anesthesia wears off, you’ll likely be able to go home. You may have tenderness in the treatment areas for the next few days, and your incisions should heal within 2-4 weeks.
To see if an HF10 spinal cord stimulator can relieve your back or neck pain, book an appointment online or over the phone with Spine & Joint Physicians of Frisco today.