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18Nov

How Spinal Cord Stimulation Helps Relieve Peripheral Diabetic Neuropathy Pain

Spinal Cord | | Return|

Do you suffer from diabetic neuropathy? If so, you're not alone as this painful condition impacts 5.8 to 7.6 million Americans. This type of chronic pain can significantly compromise your quality of life, affecting both your health as well as your mental wellbeing. Fortunately, spinal cord stimulation is a therapy that's been used for more than three decades for treating neuropathic pain. Here's how spinal cord stimulation (SCS) can help with pain from peripheral diabetic neuropathy, along with how we can help you.

What is Peripheral Diabetic Neuropathy?

One of the main complications of Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a condition known as diabetic neuropathy. Peripheral diabetic neuropathy, which is the most common kind of neuropathy, affects a person's nerves in their feet, hands, arms and legs. It usually begins with the feet, starting with both feet at the same time. Pain is the most characteristic symptom and affects 11-34 percent of people suffering from DM.

What is Electrical Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Maybe you've heard about "electrical spinal cord stimulators" but may not know what they are. Put simply, an electrical spinal cord stimulator is a device made of electrodes and a generator, which is a small battery pack. An electrical cord stimulator is used for delivering mild electric currents to your nerves located alongside your spinal cord.

The electrodes are laid between the epidural space (the vertebrae) and the spinal cord, while the generator is inserted underneath the skin. By using a handheld remote control, a patient is able to send electrical impulses when feeling pain. The remote control, as well as the antenna are outside of the body. The mechanisms that make spinal cord stimulation work target several muscle groups. What's more, they can even change how your brain senses pain.

Woman in bed stretching her leg | Peripheral Nerve Stimulation at The Pain Center San Diego

How Peripheral Nerve Stimulation Differs Spinal Cord Stimulation

The main difference between these two stimulators involves where the wire leads are placed. For example, leads for peripheral nerve stimulators (PNS) are usually positioned near peripheral nerves in various parts of the body and over painful spots. However, spinal cord stimulators are always placed near a patient's spinal cord in the areas where pain signals are produced.

The source of your pain can determine the device that's best suited for you. For instance, if your pain originates in your spine, then a spinal cord stimulator could be the right choice. But if the pain starts anywhere else, a peripheral nerve stimulator is probably the best option.

Woman consulting a medical provider | Peripheral Nerve Stimulation at The Pain Center San Diego

Other Considerations and Warnings

  • In a recent study, eight out of ten diabetic participants who failed to get results from conventional treatments found significant pain relief from spinal cord stimulation.
  • Consider that each patient is unique. However, in general, patients who receive the greatest benefit are those who've failed to get relief from less-invasive treatments, medications or prior procedures.

The Bottom Line

  • Spinal cord stimulation is considered to be a highly effective treatment for pain linked with peripheral diabetic neuropathy.
  • If you've tried conventional treatments for relieving pain for peripheral diabetic neuropathy but have found them ineffective, leaving you with bad side effects, don't continue to suffer.

Contact us today for an appointment and learn more about how our pain clinic specialists can help.

Sources

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8973433/

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01162993

https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/pain/neuropathic/diabetic-neuropathy/spinal-cord-stimulation-treatment-refractory-painful-diabetic-n

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