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How Does Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) Work?


Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a treatment that uses electrical stimulation to relieve chronic pain. It works by sending low-level electrical impulses to the spinal cord, which masks the pain signals before they reach the brain.

Here is the general process of how spinal cord stimulation works:

  1. Implantation: A small device, called an implanted pulse generator (IPG), is surgically placed under the skin in the lower back. Wires from the IPG are then threaded under the skin to the spinal cord.

  2. Programming: The IPG is programmed to send electrical impulses to the spinal cord at a frequency and intensity that is tailored to the patient's specific pain. The stimulation can be adjusted based on the patient's needs.

  3. Pain relief: The electrical impulses from the IPG interfere with the pain signals traveling from the spinal cord to the brain, effectively reducing the perception of pain.

Spinal cord stimulation is typically used to treat chronic pain conditions, such as failed back surgery syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome, and chronic lower back pain. It is a less-invasive treatment option that can be used in conjunction with other pain management techniques, such as physical therapy and medication management.


It is important to note that spinal cord stimulation is not appropriate for all patients, and the best approach to pain management will depend on the individual's specific needs and condition. It is important to discuss the benefits and risks of spinal cord stimulation with your doctor at Austin Neurosurgeons to determine if it is the right treatment option for you.

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