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Old 07-31-2012, 07:03 PM   #1
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Question Tens unit and spinal cord stimulation implant....Questions

Hi everyone....just got back from 6 month doctor apt and was basically told that there is nothing else they can do for my nerve pain after my second discectomy. He did recommend either a tens unit and possible implant. Have any of you had success with either? What kind is best? Thanks for all your input on this!

 
Old 07-31-2012, 07:40 PM   #2
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Re: Tens unit and spinal cord stimulation implant....Questions

I use a TENS unit almost everyday for my neck and back pain. I also have a neck brace. They seem relatively cheap, no more then $100 for a decent one and $200 for above and beyond. I got both my "hardware" from my chiropractor for free - obviously he charged my No Fault insurance.

My neck brace is: the DDS MAX

The TENS unit really does work well for my bulging disc and myofascial pain. Goes great with a heating pad! Good luck

Last edited by moderator2; 07-31-2012 at 07:41 PM. Reason: please do not post a commercial website for any reason

 
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:27 PM   #3
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Re: Tens unit and spinal cord stimulation implant....Questions

well the TENS unit are on the outside of the body and the stimulator get put into your spine. From what I remember its recommended a neurosurgeon do a stimulator and its a trial and error thing and takes time to get it tweeked to where it workes the way you want it. I'd do a lot of research on this one. cj

 
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Old 07-31-2012, 09:44 PM   #4
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Re: Tens unit and spinal cord stimulation implant....Questions

In many cases you can get a TENS unit from a physical therapist and insurance will cover it. It depends what type of pain as to whether the TENS will be of any use. It just made me more hyper-sensitive and either made my nerve pain worse, or at least, no better. But they help some people a lot and it is easy enough to try one and see how you respond.

Spinal cord or neurostimulators are really a last resort, used when all other options have been tried and failed. Doctors tend to pass them off as no big deal --- here, try this type of thing...but in reality there are plenty of risks associated with them. Some people do very well with them and it is the one thing that makes living a relatively normal life possible.

But I would not settle for having a trial until you are quite sure that all your options have been explored. Just because this particular surgeon cannot help does not mean that there is nothing that can be done. I don't remember the particulars of your situation well enough to offer further suggestions at this point, but usually a discectomy is an entry or beginning surgery and there are usually other things that can be tried. Tomorrow I will go back through your old posts and see if anything pops out to me --

Try not to lose hope. It is always disappointing when faced with this type of news, but it is only one person's opinion. After my first surgery which was a fusion, I was still in as much pain as before. I recovered from the surgery, I fused and it was like I had never gone through the surgery.

My doctors told me that they couldn't see anything else to do -- and I should try a scs for my pain. I was not interested because I really was convinced there was something that could be done for my pain. I didn't want to mask the pain. I wanted to find the reason for it. I'll spare you the details -- bottom line is that it took me two and a half years, but my "team" finally got it figured out. I had surgery. There was a surprise awaiting the surgeon when he opened me up, but he resolved the issue and I am doing great today. No sciatic pain for the first time since 2004.

So due to my experience I tend to encourage people to have hope and to keep looking for answers until they are convinced they have explored their options and feel comfortable with the outcome. Some people may find out their surgeon was right and there was nothing more that could be done, other than pain management...but at least they will know that there wasn't a better option out there.

 
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Old 08-01-2012, 06:25 AM   #5
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Re: Tens unit and spinal cord stimulation implant....Questions

Thanks T Geri! Sorry.....I spelled your name wrong! My Kendall wont let me or either I cant work it right! You are so wonderful about helping everyone on this board! When I left my surgeon (and he is an orthopedic surgeon) I thought......well if its my nerve that is the issue...I should go to a neurosurgeon and should have probably gone to a neuron to begin with! He is very nice but it is time for a second opinion...,you have given me some names for surgeons in the Washington nc area...anyone else have suggestions for neurosurgeons? Thanks again for all the help...,this board is awesome!

 
Old 08-01-2012, 08:10 AM   #6
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Re: Tens unit and spinal cord stimulation implant....Questions

I think you'll find, in this case, that the ortho spine doc knows as much about what is causing the nerve pain. You don't need to see a neurosurgeon just because you are having nerve pain. Their training is almost identical when it comes to the spine. The difference is that neurosurgeons also train to take care of the brain...this is why I always say, when looking for a spine specialist, be sure their practice is limited to the back and neck. You don't want an ortho surgeon who does knee replacements and you don't want a neurosurgeon who prefers brain surgery.

Now I am in favor of seeing doctors from each specialty for any spine surgery...but don't think that your ortho surgeon doesn't know how to deal with nerves. If he has a fellowship in the spine, he has had excellent training in everything pertaining to the spine.

I read back through some of your early posts where you were talking about fusion, and not wanting it. Has the surgeon now ruled out that option? Perhaps he told you that he cannot help you further by performing a lesser surgery?

 
Old 08-01-2012, 11:59 AM   #7
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Re: Tens unit and spinal cord stimulation implant....Questions

Thanks for your help in clarifying surgeon knowledge...yes my surgeon did not think that fusion was an option for my nerve pain and what I described as symptoms. My pain seems to vary every day. One day it is a numb leg the next day my lower back hurts and another day it is my left hip but it is always on the left side. That is why he thought a fusion would not help me? So...I am hunting a new surgeon and actually filled out infonfor bonati spine institute and they just called me. A friend of mine went there with great success....any others know about them? They are in Florida.....any other suggestions?? Thanks so much!

 
Old 08-01-2012, 01:12 PM   #8
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Re: Tens unit and spinal cord stimulation implant....Questions

Hi, I have had bad back surgeries and my pain dr had me try medtronics pain neostimulator, You do a week with it outside of your body, and then they implant it in your back with a battery with leads going to different facets. Mine has a remote that I can control the stimulator for my left leg my right leg and my low back. I don't know what I would do without it. I have to recharge with a belt every 5 days. If I don't I know instantly. The leads you can control seperatly from 1-10. You have to do the trial first and see if it can help you. I still have chronic pain from Fibro and sojrens and of course with the fibro you have IBS. Then from meds I had ulcers. So it goes on and on. Iam now going to try a new rhuemetologist because the one I had is to far, I also see Pain Mngmt. But I really hate taking pain pills. I am always sooo tired i can't stand myself. The stim may help but not everything. I am at a peak now with pain all over my body. It just wears you down. Always looking for answers. I hope you find yours. Good Luck and Talk to your pain dr about the medtronic stim. Don't know what kind of insurance you have but I am disabled and medicare and my supplement paid. It really stinks trying to find the right meds.. I may have been on them with my other Dr. but I went off because of nausea and stomaach problems. I am considering going back on the methotrexate and plaquenil. Besides my pain meds. Right now I am peaking pain and I will have to wait to talk to the new rhuemy until the end of this month. Again good luck to you Crazy Pain Girl.

 
Old 12-05-2012, 11:38 AM   #9
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Re: Tens unit and spinal cord stimulation implant....Questions

Hi All,
I too am a chronic pain sufferer. After my second back surgery in 2001 my pain continued to get worse. After a few years of just plain suffering my doctor decided the best thing to do was to send me into pain management. I tried just medications for a few years until it was no longer working and in 2007 my doctor suggested a spinal cord stimulator. After a successful trial I was I planted with a unit from Advanced Bionics ( they are now part of Boston Scientific). Without the unit my pain level stayed at 9-10 even with the medication. With the unit on it drops to around 6. While this does not sound like a great deal of relief it basically takes it from unbearable to tolerable. For anyone reading this that does not know what the SCS does here is how the doctor explained it to me. When you suffer from nerve damage it sends a constant signal to your brain telling it that something is wrong. The stimulator sends an electrical signal into the nerves in your spinal cord that creates a false signal that blocks the pain signal from getting to your brain. It is supposed to jam up the signal. I have had my unit reprogrammed twice since it was put in to help keep it affective. For me I run the unit 24/7 and have to charge it about every two weeks.
Having a SCS implanted is not the answer for everyone but if you do suffer from chronic pain and have not talked with you doctor about trying one it might be something you would want to consider. It has been a very big blessing for me and it allowed me to continue working for 5 years longer than I would have been able too without it.

 
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