Stimulation use mild electric pulses, delivered through a device, to relieve chronic pain. The electricity blocks the nerve impulses that make you feel pain. When other treatments don’t give you enough pain relief, stimulation may be an option. Stimulation reduces or eliminates the need for pain medication.
In spinal cord stimulation, the device blocks pain by sending electrical pulses to the nerves in the spine. Spinal cord stimulation is also called neurostimulation.
A spinal cord stimulation device has 3 parts:
- A generator, which sends the electrical pulses and is placed in the upper butt or the abdomen
- Thin wires called leads that deliver the pulses from the generator to nerves along the spinal cord. The leads are placed under the skin
- A programmer, which is like a remote control and lets you adjust the stimulation
Most patients who get a spinal cord stimulator have up to 70% less pain. Many can decrease or stop taking pain medicines.