Spinal cord stimulation new option to reduce pain

Spinal cord stimulation new option to reduce pain

WSFA/NBC - If you've ever suffered from back pain you know it can affect everything you do.

Doctors are now using spinal cord stimulation to provide relief for thousands of people suffering from back pain. It's also giving some patients an alternative
to taking so many prescription drugs.

Kasey Rhoton is a believer. A few years ago she took a bad fall while playing with her kids.

"Just an innocent game of tickle and chase with my kids in the house and fresh-waxed wood floors, winter socks and the rest is history," said Rhoton.

Rhoton crushed three disks in her back and needed major surgery. Months later the pain was still there.

"They said one to ten what is your pain level? I said fifty most days," Rhoton said.

Rhoton knew she needed relief, but she didn't want to be taking a variety of prescription drugs to feel better. So she looked into high-frequency spinal cord stimulation. It sends nerve impulses to stop pain signals from reaching the brain.

Unlike other similar treatments, this stimulation doesn't come with one major drawback.

"They hated the way that the stimulation would make them feel," said neurosurgeon Dr. Scott Kutz. "They would feel like a tingling or buzzing and they just couldn't get used to it. Now we have a way to deliver stimulation that could be sub-threshold, which means that you can't feel it,"

Kutz says this option is now available to a lot of people but isn't being used that much yet.

"We have patients who've had chronic narcotic use for months or years, that with a stimulator implanted, when it works for them, they're able to reduce or eliminate that medicine altogether,"

Doctors say spinal cord stimulation is covered by most health insurance companies and Medicare.

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