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Pain Management, Psych Eval, SCS Trial

kstarrkkstarr Posts: 19
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Pain Management
I posted several months ago because I was referred to a pain clinic for possible SCS for leg pain due to lumbar issues. Just thought I would provide a quick update on my PM experience to date.

I have had a few visits and the docs I have met seem great. I have not had any pain meds rx'd so can't say anything about a pain contract - it hasn't come up and I have not been drug tested either. My primary manages my meds and has not said anything either.

I finally had the psych eval yesterday and it was just a brief conversation and that's it. I was all nervous and worried for nothing.

My trial starts on 2/10, but I was told that the trial usually goes well. Sounds like a placebo effect. So for most people the expect they will install the SCS anyway....hmmm.

Anyway, I am kind of hopeful and looking forward to possible pain relief.


  • That's great news. When I did my trial, I worried about a placebo effect and nearly backed out of getting the permanent implant. If it weren't for my husband and a good friend telling me how incredible of a difference there was in me, being able to walk more than a few yards and of course the self torture of turning the trial unit off for a few hours ... the mind can play many tricks.

    I think one part of the trial, is to see if a person can get used to the feeling that the SCS creates. Many people just can't and therefore never get an SCS.

    I really believe that the trial is important on so many levels.

    Good luck with yours!

  • So glad your psych eval was quick and easy and you are moving forward! How exciting!!

    Like "C", I had a few moments where I thought I might not get the permanent even though my trial was amazing (long story). My husband was shocked because he had seen SUCH a humongous change in me. In fact, the photo you see in my profile was taken the day I had the 5 day trial finish and the leads removed. I could not believe the pain relief my eyes showed (after 4 years of burdened eyes) and had to capture that moment. I've had my permanent for 3 weeks and I'm still that happy!!

    Take care and keep us posted!!


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  • Wow, I'm absolutely blown away to see this post...
    I had my Psych eval at 2:30 Eastern time this afternoon :) I was told by my shrink that I too passed!
    I don't have a date yet for the trial. I can't wait.
    I want so much for this to work. I don't expect all to be roses, well perhaps I do as roses have thorns. I expect and hope for about the same! Being able to not take 6 Lortabs a day. Being able to ride my bike and tinker with my cars or other things is all that I ask. I don't need perfection. 21 years of being married and staying at home for 11 years with my sons has led me to know all things do not go as planned!
    I gather that is the point of the psych test. To make sure you understand and are capable of dealing with failure.
    May we both have brilliant success with these things :)
  • Good luck to you too Wrambler. I wish you the best with your trial and hope you get it soonest!
  • That's great news for you both!!! Right on!!

    My Psyche eval was an "interview" with the doc and prior to that a sort of color in the bubble written "test" too. I know part of it is because they want to make sure that you can handle having something implanted in your body... I saw a news show years ago about a woman who tried to cut out her own breast implants because she freaked out!! GAG!! And it's also to make sure that you have realistic expectations from the SCS.... realizing it isn't a "cure' per se, but it's cure enough for me!!! Nothing short of the SCS ever came close to covering the nerve pain down my right leg. I don't know what I would do with out mine, as so many of us "electrified" spineys would attest.

    So Hip Hip HOORAY for today!! And may your trials and hopeful permanent implantations go well and give you the much needed relief you are seeking. I feel blessed many times over to have mine.


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  • I am laughing at the prospect that they may have tested me to see if I can handle having something in my body!
    Get over it :)
    I had a Hemiarthroplasty [SP?] January 09,2008!
    Uh, That is a partial shoulder replacement! I have a section of my humerous covered with a titanium cap due to Avascular Necrosis (dead painful bone). Now, if they tested me to see if I can handle an implant I'd like to know why? Just goes to the right hand not looking at what the left hand has already done! My Psych test involved all the standard competency tests. Remember, three words for 5 minutes while answering other questions etc, etc, etc, He asked what I would do different. I said leave my wife and kids and hire a new doctor! no, not really! I just felt like saying that! A couple of times I did actually say things like, "oh, come on I been taking narcotics for years now, of course I can't remember that" He told me when I was done that he only did the test because he could not lie about administering it! He knew I was fine before hand!
    This guy is my regular psychiatrist. The Pain clinic uses whoever they can get to do the tests! They don't even have a "test". They just ask someone at the hospital to do a competency exam!
    So, it seems everyplace administers the tests different.
    Does medtronics or the other makers even have a "test"? I was told it was required by the SCS makers at both places I have been.
    My PCP called me this morning to say he has his scheduling assistant hammering on the Pain Clinic to get me in and get something done. YAY! :)
    kstarr, Got my fingers crossed you get yours first!!!
  • I thought the testing that I went through was pretty extensive but understood the reasoning as the SCS is really an expensive resort, and they try to limit those who can't "deal" with it in anyway. This doc was one chosen by my PM Surgeon, one whom I had never seen. First, they put me in a tiny room with a desk, a pencil, and the "fill in the bubble" test. After that I saw the doc and had my appointment with him. He asked me much of what you mentioned above... making sure that my expectations were realistic and that I had a realistic "plan" for if it DOESN"T work for me.

    I have a Medronic rechargable unit so I would have to say "yes" about the question of whether they have the Psych testing as a must do..... Now I have Medicare for insurance so I don't know how much of that is dictated by the insurance companies. Different ones may have different standards that have to be met prior to having the temporary unit put in place.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Peace, and I hope the time waiting for your SCS goes by quickly and smoothly. Best of luck to you!!


  • They're also looking to weed out the people who aren't going to improve with the SCS.

    We've all met the people who no medicine ever works for, no procedure ever works for, and that are a completely hopeless victim of their circumstances. For them, the SCS isn't going to work either because their life is psychologically centered around being in the patient/victim/sick person role.
  • When I first read the Subject on BionicWomans post I thought. "hmmm, I did not pee in a bottle!" Then I realized it said they are looking TO weed. NOT, Looking FOR weed!

    Ahhhh, this is a good place.
    Many thanks to those who keep it running!
  • Amen to that! I forgot about "those" folks!! Back in the good old days when I was still working, I worked for an Orthorpaedic Surgery practice. We saw our fair share of "those" people and it was frustrating for everyone, mainly the doctors, but it affected us too as we worked so closely to the docs/pt's. NO medication was ever strong enough, NO treatment ever worked at all, NO surgery ever improved anything..... like you said, their worlds revolved around being the eternal victim. We would try our hardest for these folks, as with all patients, but these guys are the ones that cause the most frustration, I think anyway. I mean who would actually CHOOSE this life we live??? But for some I guess the attention is what they really crave... and being a complete medical mystery!!

    Just wanted to say that I couldn't agree more!!


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