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Category: Spinal Cord Stimulator Surgery

January 2024

Mid back pain, a common ailment that affects a vast majority of the adult population at some point in their lives, can stem from a variety of causes including poor posture, muscle strain, or more serious conditions like herniated discs. As we delve into this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything from the common symptoms of […]


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Spinal Cord Stimulator Surgery

Spinal Cord Stimulator Surgery
Spinal Cord Stimulator Surgery

Chronic pain can deeply impact your daily life, often remaining hidden but constantly felt. Thankfully, modern medical technology offers innovative solutions for managing this pain. One promising treatment is the spinal cord stimulator (SCS), a device that uses mild electrical impulses to ease pain, providing significant relief and enabling a return to daily activities.

This blog will dive into the workings of the spinal cord stimulator, examining how it functions, the necessary precautions post-implantation, and practical tips for recovery.

Discover how a spinal cord stimulator could improve your quality of life by significantly reducing pain, allowing for greater mobility, and a return to activities you love.

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What is a Spinal Cord Stimulator For?

A spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is an implanted device designed to help manage chronic pain by sending low levels of electricity directly into the spinal cord. The main purpose of the SCS is to mask pain signals before they reach the brain, offering relief to individuals whose chronic pain has not responded to other treatments. 

This technology is particularly beneficial for managing conditions like severe spinal cord injuries, chronic back and neck pain, limb pain, and neuropathic pain disorders such as diabetic neuropathy and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).

Key Components of a Spinal Cord Stimulator:

  • Leads– These thin wires are crucial for delivering electrical pulses to specific areas of the spinal cord.
  • Pulse Generator– This battery-powered device generates the pulses. It often features rechargeable batteries to enhance long-term efficiency and sustainability.
  • Remote Control– This device enables patients to adjust the intensity of the pulses. Adjusting the pulse intensity is essential for optimizing the neuromodulation process, allowing patients to tailor the stimulation according to their pain relief needs.

Spinal Cord Stimulator Permanent Restrictions

SCS offers significant benefits in managing chronic pain and while there are no permanent restrictions after spinal cord stimulator implant surgery, it is important to be aware of temporary limitations and lifestyle considerations after the procedure.

Temporary Activity Limitations 

  • Avoid Water Immersion – To prevent infection, activities such as bathing, swimming, or using hot tubs are prohibited.
  • Limit Physical Movements – Bending, twisting, stretching, or jumping should be avoided to ensure the leads and surgical site heal properly.
  • Avoid Heavy Lifting – Heavy lifting should be avoided until cleared by a healthcare professional.
  • Be Cautious with Electronics – Avoid close proximity to strong magnetic fields, such as those from MRI machines or industrial equipment.


 Lifestyle Considerations

  • Pay Attention to Diet and Nutrition – Having an implant inside your body might affect your health, so it’s essential to focus on a balanced diet. Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins while cutting back on processed foods and excess sugar.
  • Engage in a Healthy Lifestyle – Adopt a healthy lifestyle by incorporating light exercise, such as walking or yoga, as recommended by your doctor. Avoid smoking, limit alcohol, and ensure you get enough sleep and rest.
  • Carry Your SCS Information – Carry documentation about your SCS when traveling, especially through airports or security checkpoints, as metal detectors might affect the device.
  • Learn Device Maintenance – Learn how to care for and operate your SCS, including charging, cleaning, or remote operation.


Tips for a Successful Recovery After Spinal Cord Stimulator Surgery

Recovering from spinal cord stimulator (SCS) surgery is a critical period that generally spans several weeks, with the first two weeks being particularly crucial for healing. Here’s a more detailed timeline and specific tips to help you navigate the recovery process effectively:

Two Weeks Post-Surgery:

  1. Strict Rest – During these initial two weeks, your primary focus should be on healing. Limit your physical activity to very light tasks. Avoid any strenuous activity that could disturb the surgical site or the positioning of the spinal cord stimulator leads.
  2. Pain Management Adhere closely to your prescribed medication schedule to manage pain effectively. This not only helps with comfort but also with reducing inflammation and promoting healing.
  3. Wound Care – Follow your surgeon’s instructions for caring for the surgical site, which may include keeping the area clean and dry to prevent infection.


3-6 Weeks Post-Surgery:

  1. Gradual Activity Increase – After the first two weeks, if your doctor agrees, start reintroducing more physical activity into your routine. Begin with light walking and gradually include activities that do not involve twisting, bending, or lifting heavy objects.
  2. Regular Check-ups – Continue to see your healthcare provider as scheduled. These visits are essential to assess the healing of your surgical site and the function of your SCS device.


Long-term Recovery:

  1. Return to Regular Routine – From six weeks onwards, you might be able to slowly return to more normal activities, including some that you enjoyed prior to surgery. Always check with your healthcare provider on the types of activities that are safe for you.
  2. Monitoring Device Function – Regular follow-ups should continue, possibly including device adjustments. These appointments are crucial to ensure the stimulator settings are optimized for pain management without causing discomfort or side effects.


To Sum Up

Living with a spinal cord stimulator means adapting to a new normal where pain management becomes more feasible. Although the device does not impose permanent restrictions, understanding and adhering to the temporary limitations post-surgery is crucial for optimal results. 

If you’re contemplating this step, it’s crucial to engage with experienced neurosurgeons who will not only explain the benefits and intricacies of the SCS but also customize the treatment to fit your specific needs. They’ll provide you with comprehensive information on how to manage your recovery and adapt to life with the device. 

Are you ready to transform your approach to pain management? Discover more about how a spinal cord stimulator can change your life. Fill out our evaluation form  today and start your journey toward a more active and fulfilling life without the burden of unmanaged pain.


Spinal Cord Stimulator Surgery FAQs

What are the benefits of spinal cord stimulator surgery? 

The primary benefit is significant pain reduction, which can lead to improved mobility, less reliance on pain medications, and a better overall quality of life.

Can I drive with a spinal cord stimulator? 

It is recommended not to have the stimulator turned on while driving or operating heavy machinery. However, being a passenger is generally safe with the device on.

What happens when my spinal cord stimulator malfunctions? 

If a malfunction occurs, symptoms might include loss of pain relief or unusual sensations. Contact your doctor immediately to address the issue. Regular follow-ups and device checks can help mitigate such risks.


Spinal Cord Stimulator Surgery
Spinal Cord Stimulator Surgery

Imagine living without that annoying back pain that’s always bothering you. That’s what Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS) surgery can help you achieve. But what happens after the surgery? Let’s simplify it.

We’ll guide you through your recovery, from leaving the hospital to relaxing at home, until you’re back to your usual self but without the pain. Uprite helped lots of people through this, and trust me, the results are awesome.

But, there are important rules to follow to supercharge your spinal cord stimulator surgery recovery time and keep your new device safe and working well. Let’s check out what are those.

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Spinal Cord Stimulator Surgery Recovery Time

Recovery from Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS) surgery is generally divided into two phases. Initially, the focus is on healing from the surgery itself, with incision sites typically taking about 2 to 4 weeks to heal. During this period, patients are advised to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities to ensure proper healing and prevent displacement of the newly implanted device.

Following successful implantation, patients can expect to gradually return to normal activities. Most people can resume light daily activities and work within 4 to 6 weeks post-surgery, with full adjustment to the device and a return to more physically demanding tasks potentially taking up to 8 to 12 weeks. 

Here’s a closer look:

Hospital Recovery

Your hospital stay post-SCS surgery is brief, usually one to two days, where your medical team monitors your pain management and ensures the incision site is healing as expected. This initial phase is critical for adjusting to your new neuromodulation system.

Home Recovery

Recovery at home after spinal cord stimulator (SCS) surgery is a crucial time for healing and adaptation. Patients are typically advised to take it easy and allow themselves a recovery period of about 3 weeks. During the first 10 days post-surgery, there’s a key opportunity for your pulse generator to be adjusted and checked, ensuring everything is healing as it should be. This is also when any discomfort or concerns should be communicated to your physician.

Expect to feel more tired than usual during your recovery. It’s normal to need extra sleep or take longer rests during the day, as your body is using a lot of energy to heal. To protect the implanted device and ensure proper healing, avoid excessive movements such as twisting, reaching overhead, or lifting heavy objects for the first 2-3 weeks. Having a support system of friends and family will be invaluable during this time, helping you to rest and recover without unnecessary stress.

Full Recovery

Achieving full recovery and resuming normal activities can take up to 12 weeks. This period includes follow-up appointments to check on the device’s function and any signs of infection, ensuring your journey back to health is on track.

Restrictions and Considerations After SCS Surgery

Restrictions and Considerations After SCS Surgery

After SCS surgery, patients must navigate several restrictions to ensure the implant remains effective and complications are avoided. Key considerations include:

1.Physical Activity Restrictions:

  • Avoid lifting objects over 5 pounds during the initial weeks post-surgery to prevent displacing the stimulator leads.
  • Refrain from activities that involve significant bending, twisting, or stretching.

2.Medical Imaging Procedures:

  • X-rays and CT Scans– Safe when the SCS is turned off, but always inform the technician or doctor of your implant.
  • MRI Compatibility– Some SCS systems are MRI-safe under certain conditions; however, many are not. It’s vital to consult with your healthcare provider before scheduling an MRI to prevent any risk of injury.

3.Daily Life and Employment:

  • Driving– Typically, driving is resumed 1-2 weeks post-surgery, with approval from your surgeon.
  • Work– Return to work timelines vary based on your recovery and the nature of your job. Discuss your specific situation with your healthcare provider.
  1. Travel and Security:
  • Airport Security– Your stimulator may trigger metal detectors. Carry an identification card provided by your physician to explain your condition. Consider turning off your device to avoid discomfort from security devices.
  1. Leisure Activities:
  • Swimming– Allowed with a permanently implanted generator, but exposure to water should be avoided during the trial period with a temporary device. Ensure your incisions are fully healed before swimming.
  1. Device Management and Maintenance:
  • Stay informed about your specific SCS model and its compatibility with various activities and medical procedures.
  • Regular check-ups with your pain specialist are essential to monitor the condition of your implant and to make any necessary adjustments.
  1. Removal and Replacement:
  • Should issues arise or if you’re dissatisfied with the pain relief, the device can be safely removed or replaced after consulting with your specialist.

By closely following these guidelines, you can maximize the benefits of your spinal cord stimulator, manage your pain effectively, and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.

Post-Surgery Health Guide

Post-Surgery Health Guide

For an optimal recovery and to maintain your spinal cord stimulator (SCS) effectively:

  1. Rest– Give your body plenty of rest to heal properly. Avoid overexerting yourself.
  2. Medications– Follow your medication plan strictly to control pain and prevent infections.
  3. Incision Care– Keep the surgical area clean and dry. Follow instructions on bathing and dressing changes.
  4. Support– Utilize your support network for help with daily activities and emotional support.
  5. Diet & Exercise– Eat a balanced diet and stay hydrated. Introduce gentle exercises as recommended by your doctor, avoiding activities that could disrupt the SCS.
  6. SCS Maintenance– Familiarize yourself with your SCS device operations and attend regular check-ups for device management.
  7. Mindfulness– Practice stress-reduction techniques like meditation to help manage pain and improve recovery.

To Wrap Up

The journey through Spinal Cord Stimulator surgery recovery is a pathway to regaining control over your life, free from the constraints of chronic pain. With the right preparation and understanding of the recovery time, restrictions, and considerations after SCS surgery, you’re well on your way to a brighter, more comfortable future.

At Uprite, we’re committed to guiding you through every step of this journey, from initial consultation to achieving a successful recovery. If you’re navigating the recovery process or considering SCS as a treatment option for chronic back pain or other medical conditions, our team is here to support you. 

Explore our resources, reach out for a consultation, and let us help you with a personalized treatment plan for your spine condition. Fill out our evaluation form to get started.


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