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Spinal Cord Stimulator

edited 07/12/2015 - 12:26 AM in Chronic Pain
My name is Rachael and I am new to the forum. I have had chronic pain for 15 years with the back and neck my major problems, (disc bulges, DDD, arthritis, listhesis, severe peripheal neuropathy both feet and hands and fibro on top of it all). My pain clinic is amazing and we are in the works of getting me a spinal cord stimulator to help with my terrible pain. I average 7-10 on most days with pain with the most relief being a 5-6. We were in a terrible car accident last year (the driver who hit was was ejected and killed). My neck and back are much worse after that and after seeing surgeons and other pain clinics I have been told I am not a candidate for surgery since I have so many other problems. I do get some relief with my tens unit and would like to have the SCS placed. I have Tricare Prime, can anyone give me an idea on what the costs would be? I have been told as little as 25.00 to 2000.00. I really need to have an idea as to what it will cost me so I can save up to pay for it. Thank you!


  • LizLiz Posts: 9,709
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    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Hi. They do a trial first to see what kind of relief you get. If good they then go ahead with the permanent implanted one. There are different ones. I don't have any experience. I've heard that they're best for sciatic type pain. There are lots of threads on the subject. You can search at the top of the page to read what others have said on the subject.
    As far as costs go I'd talk to the surgeon & your insurance company. Your doc might be aware of any assistance or 'deals' from the company available also.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
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  • Rachel, I'm very sorry to hear about your accident. I can only imagine your pain....
    I too am interested in a spinal cord stimulator as I discussed this topic with my PM today. I'm also considering a radio frequency ablation. From some of the reviews- it sounds pretty painful, and not a sure thing.
  • I am also interested. Robin did you have the facet joint injections first to see if you got relief? I am going to try RFA first then maybe SCS.
  • MaryPAMMaryPA Posts: 1
    edited 07/20/2015 - 2:35 PM
    hello everyone!
    i am a 51 yr. old female with spina bifida. long story short, the nerve damage, arthritis and a whole host of other other issues with my spine have caught up to me to the point where i'm in a lot of pain. surgery is not an option, because my condition is so complex; so i've been in & out of pt for about 8 years now, on gabapentin for the nerve pain, and have been getting facet joint injections since last october. the next move i'm contemplating is the stimulator; but judging by what i've read here, and have heard from people i've talked to, i have real reservations about. i am already scheduled for my initial consult in august, which i feel i have nothing to lose by at least going that far with this; but if anybody here can add any input to my situation, i'd really appreciate it. thanks & have a good week everybody!

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  • My spine is a mess. I have nerve damage & arthritis. I've been told that a stimulator wouldn't help in my situation as sciatica isn't a major problem. That's all I know. If you go to "Forums Home" (top left) you will find a whole forum on spinal cord stimulation under "Treatments". I often find reading others discussions & true life experiences very helpful. I've been told by my doc that the trial is often more effective than the actual implant. I'd take that into account when deciding. Some find it a wonderful, life changing treatment. Everything is worth looking into, just research properly so you know all the possible risks & benefits.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • grammaof9ggrammaof9 Posts: 261
    edited 07/23/2015 - 12:04 AM
    Most of the info that i have been finding on stimulators is outdated on this site. Correct me if I'm wrong or lead me to current info.
  • dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,810
    The forum side will only have information that other members/patients talk about. So that may not always been the most up to date information.

    The medical side of this site, however contains many new articles and videos regarding Spinal Cord Stimulators
  • Robin LongstrideRRobin Longstride Posts: 21
    edited 07/23/2015 - 8:32 AM
    No I have not tried facet joint injections. My therapist said I may want to try them- but PM suggested SCS, or ablation. I'm terrified of both. And I'm always the 1% that has a bad pain reaction to shots or meds. My thoughts are that I have to continue to work two jobs while hoping neither SCS or ablation leaves me in bed with ice packs for two weeks. "Geez, that never happens to any other patients"- story of my life- lol.
  • Good news, I finally have a surgery date!!!   The reason it has taken so long is my insurance was taking it's own sweet time in accrediting the new outpatient surgery clinic.   It finally happened and they called me right away.   I will be going in on 24 January at 1300 for surgery.  I must admit I have been getting a little nervous after reading some of these posts.   I will be getting a St Jude's Boston Scientific model (don't know the model name or if they told me I forgot already) and am praying I have a good outcome.  I don't have an option for any other kind as St Judes is the only one our pain clinic does.   The clinic I go to have been amazing; the staff are all very knowledgeable  and understanding of my history... I have DDD, Disc Bulges; Fusions with hardware C4-C6; and L3-S1, done eight weeks apart one year ago.  I have arthritis, fibromyalgia, peripheral nerve pain, nerve pain in legs and we were in a severe car accident two years ago which has made everything worse. The driver of the other car who hit us was ejected and passed away shortly after the accident.  

    As far as medications for pain I am currently on 3,600 gabapenten daily, 20 mg oxy long acting twice a day; percocet 7.5 mg four times a day .  I take numerous other medications for other things (Barrett's esophagus).  

    My trial went pretty well with me getting the most of my relief in my feet.  The battery pack that was taped to my back made it impossible for me to sleep (I am already experiencing terrible sleep patterns due to severe pain).  I want to make sure that they place the battery pack in a better place.  If anyone has recommendations for me to share with my doctor I would appreciate it.  

    I don't know if I will have leads or not, I really don't know much of anything.  I am guessing I will be told more this week when I go in for my monthly exam.  Does anyone have any idea with the Boston Scientific from St Judes what all I will have?   Will I have leads or paddles?  I think it will be a rechargeable battery.  When will I be able to drive?  When will they turn the stimulator on?  

    I welcome any  and all advice including restrictions for lifting, bending, twisting, etc.

    Thank you so much...
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