Neurostimulators (spinal cord stimulators)
If your chronic pain isn't responding to medication, talk to your doctor about neurostimulators. These implantable devices may help you manage your pain, restore your ability to do everyday activities, decrease your need for oral pain medications and improve your quality of life.
How neurostimulators work
A neurostimulator is a surgically placed device about the size of a stopwatch. It delivers mild electrical signals to the epidural space near your spine through one or more thin wires, called leads. The electrical signals cause a tingling sensation in the area of your chronic pain. The tingling sensation reaches the brain faster than the pain signal can arrive, outsmarting your pain.
You can adjust the strength and location of stimulation using a handheld programmer. For example, you can regulate different levels of stimulation at different times of the day or for various activities—such as walking, sleeping, or sitting. Some neurostimulators will automatically adjust stimulation when you are upright (sitting or standing), lying down or active while in an upright position.