My pain management doctor is going to try epidurals for my back pain, but if they don't work, he wants to try a neurostimulator. I would really appreciate comments/experiences/suggestions from anyone who has a neurostimulator. I don't look forward to another minor surgery, but if the epidurals don't work, that is my only option. Thanks everyone!
Has anyone else had a neurostimulator implanted for pain control?
Question posted by kathyhanson on 15 Oct 2013
Last updated on 15 February 2020 by Anonymous
hi there I have been suffering from nerve pain for about 10 years and have had almost everything possible done to me to help. The latest procedure is the neurostimulator paddle and it has been a God sent. It has cut out about 99% of the pain and is so easy. Give it a go as a trial first its amazing
I am not sure if you are still looking for responses so if you are please respond and I will give you all details of mine, did you get one? My first unit was surgically placed in July 2006,q I have two leads with the first placed to TIME for chronic lower back pain and the second to C2 food CRPS in my upper left side. My battery was replaced in 2015.
I have had two nuerostimulators and there efficacy was short lived and one became infected repeatedly. I got several abscesses and was kmhospitalized several times. Those Drs recommended i get it removed my pain Dr said no not related. I kept dealing with this over and over until one day I went in and my forehead was burning up where the leads were at. My Dr said no big deal but next day he had a neurosurgeon friend of his call me i met her she scheduled surgery for the next day. The nurse later told me the battery in my chest basically exploded when she cut into it with the scalpel. She removed all the leads i got septic and was on IT antibiotics and home nurse for next three weeks. I never got to see the surgeon after first appt and she didn't Bill me. Kind of suspicious but this guy was supposed to be the best pain Dr in MI he was an anesthesiologist but played surgeon so be careful you get an actual experienced surgeon to work with the anesthesiologist.
I know that this is an old topic, but it recently made its' rounds again, and I noticed it. I had a Medtronic STIM implanted nine years ago. It was a major surgery because my upper back incision was 6" long and three vertebral bodies had to be operated on due to unexpected anatomy. This turned a one month recovery into a twelve week recovery. If not for that complication, I would definitely do the surgery over again. The STIM has removed about 75% of my pain and allowed me to stop copious amounts of narcotic pain medication. Within the last three weeks, my battery finally died (they last between 3 and 10 years, and I got a good 9 years out of it, so I feel lucky), so my Doctor is currently working with the insurance company for a battery replacement surgery this month. This time, it will be with Boston Scientific. It is amazing the amount of change in technology in ten years.
Now, you can have it turned out without feeling the paresthesia (the buzzing feeling), or you can have it programmed with paresthesia in three different wave patterns. Of course, these are all fully customizable. The STIM was the best decision I ever made for my pain control, and now my Cousin has had the procedure, and my elderly Mother is considering it, as well. When I first had it done, it seemed like the only people who really knew about it were the military, who had been doing it for 30 years or so. Now, it has become so successful it is mainstream. I would highly recommend a trial for anyone considering the procedure. That way, you get to try it out before you commit to the process. Best of luck! Meg :)
Well, my husband has been using the Stivax device and it has been a godsend. He has been in pain, 24 hours a day, for the last 4 years until now. As soon as we got home, he said that for the first time in 4 years, he didn't have a single pain in his head. In fact, he continually forgets to take his pain medication for several hours. The device has relieved the constant pain that never goes away. He hasn't been able to stop taking the Lyrica or Tramadol yet, but we're so happy that he's not in pain in between those 2 doses every day. He can function now, and can actually hold conversations with people without cringing constantly or needing to lie down and have peace and quiet. He's like a real human being again. Even during the intervals when he doesn't wear the device, he still doesn't have that constant electricity-like pain shooting through his head. He's going to go through the last round of 2 weeks wearing it, and then, he shouldn't need it again. I'm amazed! Stivax is a miracle!
My neurostimulator was permanently put in 11/17. The one I have CAN go into an MRI. It's made ny Medtronics. As others said it does not remove pain but masks it from your brain acknowledging pain. I was able to get a lower dosage of pain med. I'm still in quite of bit of pain so I will take any relief available.
The new stimulators I am not too familiar with... I do know they can put ones in that allow you to have an MRI... I would definitely go for that if I decided to get one. Given my personal experience, I would not get another stimulator. I am dealing with the unfortunate side effects of having my leads attaching to my spinal cord (or at the very least dangerously close), therefore not allowing their removal. So unless there is a dire emergency, I will never be able to have a conventional MRI again.
For diagnostic reasons I could really use one. When I did have one and it was working, it did provide "relief". It provides a strong electronic signal that overrides your feelings of pain to some degree (varies with the person/setting) Make sure to really use your time with the temporary stimulator to consider all your possible questions. If you are not sure, do not do it... wait or postpone until you are sure... do what you are doing... ask for personal experiences... I find some degree of relief (albeit temporary) from some types of injections... look at what is coming down the road, maybe there is a better alternative around the corner... avoid major surgery if you can... btw, the surgery for a stimulator may be termed "minor", but for me it was not in the sense that it was much more painful than ever indicated to me by any of my professionals. And the removal is painful as well. But those pains go away for the most part. I did have a continuous pain where the stimulator was while I had it and have some level of pain there still (no comparison to my spinal pain, tho) And anything you can do to remove or reduce the use of medications to deal with your pain/spasms, etc is a good thing... I believe they have their place, but they, as well, will not remove your pain either completely or forever. Best wishes to you...
I’ve had my stimulator now since Feb 2016, it works well for me most of the unbearable pain I lived with.
I can still overdo things sometimes, because it it doesn’t (FIX) it, but it interrupts the pain signals. I had an issue come up a couple months ago and thought something was along with it, so I turned it off completely for a week. That old pain was back very quickly and I knew how much it really does do for me. I would be very limited to do anything at all without it. Now I can at least build some nice smaller type woodworking projects and such. The trial unit was truly great, so I knew if it worked that well, I wanted one. I wish I didn’t need one but that’s life.
I now have 2 Medtronic stimulators i started with 1 over 10 years ago i think they work great i cut my amount of pain meds in half i was not able to do much before them i only have to get adjustments 1 or 2 times a year which is done in the doctors office i have allergies to most pain meds so i am getting a pain pump and will no longer have to take any pain meds but the stimulators helped more than anything else i have tried in my 30 years of neck and back pain that was severe before i got my first one over 10 years ago i was in the hospital all the time before not anymore and i didn't have to use my wheelchair all the time after i got my stimulators 1 is for back and legs and the other for neck and arms
My husband is going to have the Stivax device implanted next month. But, it's not something that's implanted permanently. He wears it for 2 weeks, then nothing for 1 week. Then, a new device is implanted for the next 2 weeks, and then they remove it for a week. Then, he has a 3rd device implanted for 2 weeks. When they remove that one, it's not necessary to have it implanted again. Most people have about a 50% reduction in pain during the first week or two. And by the time the last device is removed, their pain is completely gone. Besides stopping pain, it also improves oxygen delivery for people with poor circulation. And it helps depression, as well as vertigo and chronic dizziness. We're so excited.
I have had my STIVAX device for the first time, inserted 6/26/18 at 3:30 pm est. It is already amazing
Within five minutes, severe neck pain started to subside. After aproximatly 20 minutes left side ribs and soft tissue felt at least 75% better. I felt better than I was when taking 20 mg. of oxycodone every 6-8 hours,and safer too. It's been nearly 3 months since a nearly fatal auto accident; To have some kind of pain relief. My wife will be going under the same "miracle" treatment soon. As it says on the STIVAX brochure ' "designed to immediately mitigate pain and provide early relief" ' is such an accurate and bold statement.
I had my right ankle was smashed in a car accident in 1985. I have been fighting with problems on and off ever since. After 5 surgeries I ended up with a fused ankle and CRPS. I have tried the same things as everyone else. Most effective was frequent applications of Haagen-Dazs, taken orally.
I had my Medtronic neurostimulator implanted 2010. I get about 75-95% pain reduction; depending on weather and time spent on my feet.
I've had adjustment issues over the years. I just meet with Medtronic rep. They have a master controller and spend the time I need to get readjusted.
Now, the battery has expired. I want to have the whole unit removed so I can switch to an MRI friendly model.
Has anybody done this? What has your experience be like?
Yes, I have, and so glad I did. I should first tell you a little history.
I had my first Surgery for two herniated/ruptured Discs. L-4, and L-5 in 1987. They did Not do the so-called “minimally invasive” that’s available now, but I don’t know if that made any diff. After 5 months I was allowed to return to work as a Pipe Construction Welder. This had some ups and downs, but I made it in the trade for another 18 years.
I had a Scope surgery a few years before I couldn’t get up and down to Weld Pipeline any longer. I started then with the Epidural inj’s, and RF Ablations, so many times I can’t count them. Then I had the Fusion Surgery, which I feel was a mistake for me, but at least it wasn’t any worse. Just not much better. After all the continued injections, and R F Ablations, he said it was time to think about the stimulator.
Thank God I did this.
I can now walk and or stand, at least straight, and do most things without much trouble. Does this mean I have NO Pain? No !
But I got, (in my estimation) at least 70-% relief of my Pain. I can still overdo things, as I like to do my own yard, custom Woodcraft’s, and things. It allows me the freedom to at least, do for myself, most things. I do have days I have more pain from bending or something, but I have much more trouble from my knees and from a bone removal for a broken bone, ( I didn’t know about) in my left foot.
So the right leg trouble, and left foot problems, cause me to walk poorly sometimes, and anyone with back issues knows, how this will add to the pain. I know about it so I try to walk a little everyday with as Normal A Gate in my steps as I can, and it does keep the Blood moving. But this failed Knee Replacment and Revision, have left me with Everyday “Fresh Surgical Type Pain”, for 6 years. So that alone keeps me from the freedoms I would have with the stimulator. It takes some learning to understand how to use it, Without Over-Stimulating the nerves, and actually bringing some pain back into the picture. Plus, the St Jude Technicians have added and recalibrated the unit to give me some added relief from the left foot, and rt. knee pain as well. I can go from one program to another to help with diff areas of the most pain.
So in my opinion, it’s been great for me, with All the diff areas of trouble.
I do get occasional discomfort around the generator but not bad at all. Mostly cause of my being overweight and it’s located a little closer to my beltline than I would like, but that’s it.
I don’t know your particular situation, but if you have dealt with “Real Pain” for very long! I know your apprehension. If I can put to rest, that part of of it for you, good.
I wish you All the Best, and I hope you find the same level of help I did. God Bless, K.M.
I had a series of three shots in my back. Three separate day surgeries wherein the nerves are burned. It worked. I went to the best surgeon in dallas ft worth , first and she recommended this pain dr.
I've had 4 back surgeries, 2 were spinal fusions (lumbar & cervical) Nov 2017 had the permanent Medtronics paddle implanted and the device/battery is on the left side above the waistband of pants. I recently had another adjustment and the auto-adjust added. Everything was going great, That first night I woke up for the first time in 15 years without having to grab the pain med bottle first thing once I got out of bed. The Medtronics model I have you can actually have a MRI with, you don't have to have it removed to have one. My issue is...
1. Most of my pain is on the right side L2-L4 over to my hip area. I don't know if it's because I have too much scar tissue or my body is wonky, but in order to get the stimulator feeling where I need it as I said above, somehow my personal girly parts and such are being stimulated too!!! Very embarrassing, told the rep, he either didn't understand or didn't care (which is odd cause these guys are great) I can't tell when I need to go No. 1 or 2 due to the stimulation.
2. I accidently adjusted something and totally messed up my auto adjust. I will have to make a call today and see what can be done.
I was wondering if anyone had the same issue as me with the first issue. Sure you can make jokes about it, but it's not happiness & thrills. It help the lumbar pain, I just don't know if I can take this other thing for the rest of my life.
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