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Your Experience/Thoughts on Spinal Cord Stimulator
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nowthis posted:
I'm going to see my PM Dr. next month and we are going to talk about options for my Low Back & Leg pain. Bulging Discs L4/L5 L5/S1.

I have been having these problems since i was 14/15, am now 25.

Im on Oxycodone 15mg 4/day and MS Contin 30mg 2/day. Been on pain medications since i was 18. Although they do help, i am wanting to try something else that can POSSIBLY provide more pain relief on top of my medication.

I have tried Physical Therapy, Facet Joint Injections(never again), Epidural's(which do help my leg pain), Chiropractic Care, Disc Decompresson Therapy(did help my leg pain), i think thats it.

Anyway, wanted to know if anyone had any good or bad experiences with the SCS, or possibly surgery includng Discectomy, Spinal Fusion, Laminotomy, Laminectomy............

Thanks for Everyones Help!

Johnathan
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ctbeth responded:
Hi Jonathan,

I've had two fusions,, plus lots, lots more. You can click on my pic and read "About Me".

I've had a spinal cord stimulator for almost three years, had a revision, and two surgical battery changes. I do not have a rechargeable and have the battery changed. They should last btwn 5-7 yr, but I burn them up and have had changes at 10 months and 14 months, respectively. I'm due for another one and it's not a big deal.

I've been able to reduce my meds by over 50% and the pain reduction is about 60-70%. I use it at very high frequency 24 hr/day. When I turn it off it is unbearable and I can hardly believe that I lived with that pain for tears.

I'd be more-than willing to speak with you and answer any questions I can about my experience with the fusions and scs. Many, many people here have had fusions, but I don't know of many who have scs.

There is hope with this modality.

Beth
 
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nowthis replied to ctbeth's response:
WOW, that is wonderful news about the SCS! That gives me hope. Thats what i want to do, reduce pain and reduce meds if possible, mainly reducing the pain is my motivator, as im sure i'll always have to be on some type of meds for the rest of my life.

Glad that has helped, definately gives me some hope.

Thanks for your Input!
 
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ctbeth replied to nowthis's response:
I only have a minute to write.
You r MD has probably told you that, before the permanent SCS components are implanted you have a temporary (trial) system for a week or so in order to decide if it will be right for you.
I knew the first hour of the trial that I wanted it so badly.
I then had to wait six weeks for the surgery for the permanent system. That, in retrospect, was a very long six week wait.

I'm so glad that I have the SCS and wouldn't want to live without it.

Talk again,

Beth
 
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swgusr responded:
Hi Johnathan,
I have a similar condition to you. I had an L4-L5-S1 fusion in 1990. I am currently getting through the day with help of meds. I had an SCS implanted about 2 years ago after a trial. I had my hopes up but the SCS did not help. I had a rechargable model from Medtronics. Constant recharging for very short battery life and very little pain relief. But that's me--you may have better luck. Discuss the battery options with your MD. Keep searching for options and try to stay positive. Find a great pain management center. Best of luck to you.
Scott
 
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ctbeth replied to swgusr's response:
Hi Scott and Jonathan,

I did not want a re-chargeable battery for that reason.

I have St. Judes' (formerly Advanced neuromodulation Systems or ANS) "Genesis" battery.

Before implantation surgery, I had the tech guys evaluate how frequently I'd have to recharge the battery with my settings. It turned out that I'd have to recharge daily or twice per day. This would not be okay for me. I wanted the SCS to lessen the "sick role" in my life. I didn't want to put myself in a position where I'd have to be checking my battery and not able to go where I wanted for having to be home to recharge.- or have it stop working while I was out doing something.

I do not like to talk about my disabilities and pain with ANYONE other than my MDs, my fiance', my daughter and this people on this site. I reject the "sick role" much as I humanly can and having to be home to charge my battery would not have been acceptable.

Much as I have experienced a lot of physical trauma and have much damage, I just cannot view myself as "disabled", or "invalid". It would bother me terribly to think that anyone would feel sorry for me. That bothers me more-than just about anything. Having to be home to charge my battery would be emotionally devastating for me.

The surgical battery changes have been very easy for me. The procedure is done under local anaesthesia and takes about an hour. I do not have much sensation in my hip, where the battery is implanted, so perhaps it would be more uncomfortable for others. I don't really know. The incision is closed with approx ten staples which stay in for ten days per my neurosurgeon. The procedure is done as an out patient.

This is just the battery change. The initial implantation procedure is a little more complicated and, for me, painful, but is has been so worth it.

I'd be pleased to "speak" to anyone who's considering this treatment option.
To speak the name of the dead is to make him live again. ~Jordan Sabith- 15 May 1988- 4 Sept 2010~ missed and beloved
 
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scottcha replied to ctbeth's response:
I had lumbar and cervical surgery and ultimately got the rechargeable metronics simulator after the trial. It works great i canfinally sit and stand without being in tremendopus pain. I use it 20 hours per day and recharge once every 4-6 weeks.
 
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An_223479 replied to scottcha's response:
I just had this spinal cord stimulator implanted yesterday. I am definitely in the minority here; I can't stand it. I have already disconnected it. The constant vibrating is not soothing, nor does it really help the general all over pain that I have in my leg and lower back. (I had an L5-S1 spinal fusion 6 yrs. ago. Have sciatica and lower back pain still.)

An EMR (I think that was the test- there have been SO many) indicated an L5-S1 radiculopathy. I'm not even sure what a radiculopathy is- all the definitions are so vague.

I have been going to a pain management doctor for 1 yr. now, and am on narcotic pain meds. I no longer want to be on these meds. They do help, but I am tired of their side effects. At this point, I am not sure of which options I have, and moreover the pain doctor does not seem to come up with too many.
 
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pfhobson responded:
Hi-
L4-L5 bulging disc for me too. I had a discectomy in 2002 which worked for a short time and then reverted back to the old pain. I had a second discectomy in 2005 with no results at all. I would stay away from surgery if I had it to do all over again. A good friend who is a doc. told me, "If you can pee and poop, don't let them cut"
Now for the good news. I recently underwent Ozone injection into the disc. This was done on an experimental basis as it has not been approved by the FDA-still being tested- but it certainly helped me. It was one injection, took about 30 minutes and most of the pain went away as the Ozone shrunk the offending disc and pulled if off the nerve. This procedure has been done in Europe (invented in Italy 10 years ago) and Asia with 80% success rate. The entire procedure ran about $2000 and my insurance covered half. If you would like to know more about it, I will be glad to give you the information on the Doctor, etc.
Peter Hobson
Hendersonville, N.C.
pfhobson@yahoo.com
 
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ginger1252 replied to An_223479's response:
My husband is 63 and has had the exact pain as you, with a fusion, a titanium rod and 4 very large screws into his spine. He has been in pain since 1994 and had two surgeries. He has been on Oxycodone and Acetaminephin since then.
He tried the temporary SCS unit and it worked great. It needed the wires relocated to hit exactly where the pain was. He will be getting the SCS unit implanted soon.
Maybe you just need to give it a little more time before you give up on it. Like anything else, we have to get accustomed to it; such as glasses on the face, hearing aids in the ear, false teeth, etc.
The body is amazing and will adjust to the buzzing sensation. It is definitely better than taking tons of meds for the rest of your life.
The Aceteminaphin has damaged my husband's liver and they are working on correcting the damage. The Oxycodone is damaging to parts of the body, too.
I would think the SCS is definitely the 'lesser of two evils'.
Just have them readjust the wiring so it will help where you need it. I am surprised your Dr. has not thought of that. It really does work if it is situated on the proper nerves.
Keep trying and don't give up on getting it right with this thing.
Pray and ask God to help you and give you strength to live through this ordeal and adjustment period. There is no one better to turn to than the Lord!
 
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nickpana125 responded:
Hi Jonathan, I had a discectomy 6 years ago for 2 herniated discs, L-4 and L-5. Pain relief was immediate and was able to return to work in about two weeks. However, I now have spinal stenosis which has plaqued me for the past two years and have found pain relief with a prescription drug called Tramadol HCL which is relatively inexpensive. Taken twice a day, I am pain free all day. I also found stretching exercises to be of help also. I had tried a number of pain relievers, but only Tramadol gave me 99.9% pain relief. This drug was prescribed to me by my pain management doctor and subsequently by my primary physician. I know your pain and wish you well. The only residual effect of the discectomy was numbness down my left leg and the left side of the heel of my foot. Hope this helps.

Nicholas
 
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irenepurks replied to pfhobson's response:
My son is trying to decide about surgery or inections, he has a bulging disc and a herniated disc so I am trying to get all the information I can
 
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Painless11 responded:
I had skull decompression 11 years ago and suffered awful pain in the upper right side of torso and right arm due to nerve damage. 3 years later I had the stimulator put in and have found great relief. I no longer take the 12-15 pills per day that I did before. It would be worth having the temporary implanted to see if it would help.

Diane
 
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gint518 responded:
Anyone with any kind of pain, please check out this book on trigger point therapy. I have spinal stenosis, and had a fusion at C5-6 and C6-7 six years ago, but still have pain and numbness/tingling in my left hand. I am on Lyrica and Paxil, and Vicodin as needed. I just got this book two weeks ago, and it has made a big difference in my pain levels.
http://www.amazon.com/Trigger-Point-Therapy-Workbook-Self-Treatment/dp/1572243759/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1290102860&sr=1-1
 
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ctbeth replied to An_223479's response:
Is it the temporary trial SCS or the permanent placement? If it's the permanent, did you have the trial done first? How did that go?

If it's the permanent, there are so many adjustments that the techs can do to alter the sensations. Please let your MD know how you're feeling and what you're thinking. I hope you'll consider allowing the time to have the settings adjusted before you decide to have it removed.
Please write again,
Beth
To speak the name of the dead is to make him live again. ~Jordan Sabith- 15 May 1988- 4 Sept 2010~ missed and beloved


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