How Spinal Cord Stimulators Offer Drug-Free Relief From Chronic Back Pain

Jun 07, 2023
How Spinal Cord Stimulators Offer Drug-Free Relief From Chronic Back Pain
You wake up and wonder just how much your back pain is going to overshadow your day. Fortunately, you can find sustainable and safe relief. Read on to learn more.

The numbers surrounding chronic pain are alarming — more than 20% of the population in the United States deals with pain daily, and back pain accounts for a significant share of this number. Equally alarming are the numbers surrounding opioid addiction, including painkillers, which claim tens of thousands of lives each year — and that number is, sadly, growing.

If you find yourself among the millions of Americans trying to find a solution for back pain that doesn’t rely solely on potentially addictive pain medications, our team at Sunshine Spine and Pain Specialists, PLLC is here to help. 

Under the expert guidance of our pain management specialists, Dr. Amanda Fernandez and Dr. Peter Fernandez, we offer solutions that are long on results and short on risk. And spinal cord stimulation certainly fits the bill. 

Why chronic pain is challenging

Whether you have chronic pain in your back or anywhere else in your body, the longer the pain endures, the more likely it is to transition from a secondary issue to a primary one. In other words, pain can continue long after the initial injury or damage has healed.

Similarly, if you’re dealing with a progressive issue, such as arthritis, and the damage worsens, you can develop a heightened sensitivity to pain.

The bottom line is that chronic back pain can become increasingly challenging to treat as pain signaling gets entrenched into well-traveled neural pathways.

Why medications are challenging

Opioid-based pain medications do a good job of relieving pain. That is because some cells in your body contain opioid receptors that bind to the drug to act quickly and effectively. Unfortunately, these same receptors can create new neural pathways that favor opioid use and suppress the production of your body’s natural painkiller — dopamine. 

As a result, you need more of the drug for it to remain effective, and the new neural pathways can often lead to addiction.

Spinal cord stimulation — rising to the challenge

Let’s explore how spinal cord stimulation rises to the challenge of treating back pain.

Spinal cord stimulation is a technique in which we implant a unit in your body that emits mild electrical impulses to disrupt the pain signaling between your nerves and brain.

To do this, we place electrodes into your spinal cord in the area where the nerves are overactive. Next, we hook the electrodes up to a small generator. The generator powers the electrical impulses, which are under your control. 

Also called neuromodulation, the concept behind spinal cord stimulation is simple — we scramble the pain messaging.

To show how successful this approach to chronic back pain can be in avoiding painkillers, a significant study of more than half a million patients treated with spinal cord stimulation found, “A statistically significant reduction in opioid use.”

So, not only can spinal cord stimulation relieve your pain, but it’s also an entirely drug-free approach to pain management.

To explore if spinal cord stimulation is the right treatment for your chronic back pain, schedule an appointment at our office in Sarasota, Florida. You can call 941-867-7463 or use our online booking tool.