Different Types of Spinal Cord Stimulation


Anyone that has dealt with unrelenting neuropathic pain knows the daily struggles it causes. For many, going without treatment leaves them unable to accomplish basic tasks or worse, completely debilitated. Spinal cord stimulation has been a tool used by pain physicians for nearly 50 years and continues to improve. Below, Premier Pain Centers in New Jersey looks at a pair of new types of SCS and other recent advances in SCS technology.


What is Neuropathic Pain?

Neuropathic pain is created within the tissue of the nervous system. It is a chronic pain condition often derived from a traumatic injury to the central nervous system or peripheral nerve system.

The nerve’s nociceptors in and around nerve trunks are more excited during painful flare-ups. Typically, the nerves would be relaxed by analgesics. But chronic neuropathic pain conditions, such as failed back surgery syndrome, cause pain events regularly.


What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is the most well-established member of neuromodulation therapy. Neuromodulations are therapeutic interactions within the central, peripheral or autonomic nervous system for therapeutic effect. This therapeutic effect is derived from implants that utilize targeted electrical stimulation or deliver pharmacological substances.


High-Frequency Spinal Cord Stimulation

High-Frequency Spinal Cord Stimulation is the newest evolution of spinal cord stimulation. As with traditional spinal cord stimulation, one or more insulated wire leads are inserted through an epidural needle or through a small incision into the epidural space of the spinal cord. A pulse generator is implanted to send electrical signals to the nerves that are the source of pain. With HF SCS, stimulators have resulted in pain relief in the back and leg when placed between the T9 and T10 vertebrae.

The major difference from traditional SCS lies in the name. HF SCS utilizes higher frequencies, sending out pulses at approximately 10 KHz. Traditional therapy frequencies may range between 40 and 80 Hz and the feeling of stimulation is lost near 300 Hz.

Traditional SCS therapy is still an effective tool in remediating pain and may be preferable for certain patients. The benefit of higher-frequency stimulation lies in its greater potential precision and the lack of paresthesia required for it to be effective.


Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulation

Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulation is another new stimulation technology, designed to target a different set of neural roots. Small electrodes are threaded via the epidural space until those rest through the intervertebral foramen and lie against the dorsal root ganglia. The stimulation fields generated can target different parts of the dorsal root ganglion, depending on where the pain is being felt.

Dorsal Root Ganglion therapy has shown itself beneficial in treating pain patients where other forms of SCS have failed. According to the International Modulation Society, a study of complex regional pain syndrome patients deemed Dorsal Root Ganglion therapy to be superior over the course of a single year versus traditional SCS.


Recent Advances in Spinal Cord Stimulation

In addition to the new therapies of High-Frequency Spinal Cord Stimulation and Dorsal Root Ganglion Therapy, other new innovations have occurred as well.


Manufacturers are starting to utilize smart technology that has previously been implemented in other devices, such as smartphones. One such example is the use of accelerometers. These allow the implantable pulse generators to adjust programming based on detecting which position you’re in and which activity you’re doing.

Rechargeable Implantable Pulse Generators

Advances in battery technology have created many improvements for patients. Now implantable pulse generators are able to recharge their implants with the use of an induction coil device. Two hours of charging throughout the week will keep a device charged without ever needing to pause treatment. These implants are now able to stay in use for decades.

Another benefit of the rechargeable batteries is being able to run more programs within a single device. This allows, for example, one set of pulses to target the legs and buttocks while another covers the lower back.


Spinal Cord Stimulation Pain Management in New Jersey

Are you suffering from chronic pain conditions, such as Failed Back Surgery Syndrome or complex regional pain syndrome? If you haven’t yet already tried spinal cord stimulation, it may be the answer you’ve been looking for. Spinal Cord Stimulation has a clinically proven history of improving pain management for individuals that previously had no way of coping. Contact one of our Premier Pain Centers in New Jersey at the location nearest you.