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October 2020

A Chronic Pain Relief Alternative

Controlling Pain with an Externally-Powered Micro-Neurostimulator

Did you know that approximately 20% of patients who have a total knee replacement continue to experience chronic pain long after the surgery? Researchers are increasingly focusing on understanding the causes of this issue, but the specifics of exactly why this happens have been hard to pin down.

Chronic pain after a total hip replacement is another common issue, which affects approximately 10% of patients.

In fact, far beyond joint replacement pain issues, you may be experiencing chronic pain symptoms in any part of your musculoskeletal system. And you may have tried an epidural, other injections, or other treatments without success.

One of the alternatives that Main Line Spine considers to help patients alleviate pain in these situations is a very small and localized micro-neurostimulation device that uses an external battery, called StimQ PNS.

What Is Neurostimulation?

At this point, we’ll pause for a moment to answer the question, “What is Neurostimulation?”

Neurostimulation works by delivering mild electrical signals that disrupt nerve pain signals before they reach your brain. In that way, you can achieve pain relief without the need for medication.

Main Line Spine has a long history and deep expertise in helping patients deal with chronic pain by using devices called “neurostimulators.” Traditionally these devices include several components:

  • Neurostimulator: This is a device that generates the electrical impulses and contains a battery. It is usually placed under the skin in your abdomen or upper buttock.
  • Leads: These are thin, insulated medical wires that deliver electrical impulses and which run from the neurostimulator to the epidural space near the spine.
  • Personal Programmer: This is a handheld device that a patient can use after they leave the Doctor’s office to customize their stimulation within the settings a doctor has selected.

These traditional neurostimulators have proven themselves to be very effective for many patients. However, when it comes to relieving chronic pain in a joint such as a knee or shoulder, a much smaller neurostimulator is more appropriate. This localized approach is known as peripheral neurostimulation, and the neurostimulator and leads are placed directly at the nerve identified as causing the pain.

Micro-Neurostimulators

Micro-Neurostimulators are designed for very localized chronic pain relief. They take advantage of many technical innovations developed in recent years, including component miniaturization and wireless power transmission.

The StimQ PNS that Main Line Spine uses, in appropriate cases, is the smallest, most-compact neurostimulation system available. It comes with an extremely small neurostimulator and receiver that are implanted by your Doctor at your impacted joint. The neurostimulator has small metal electrodes near the tip that create an electrical field of energy when power is applied. This electrical energy aids in blocking the pain signals that come from certain nerves.

How is it powered? Through the magic of wireless power transmission. The implanted receiver receives energy from an RF transmitter that is worn outside your body along with the power source. It offers a variety of programming options that enable you to experience pain relief when and how you need it.

Trial Period

If the conservative care options you’ve tried in the past have failed to alleviate your chronic-pain symptoms, this non-opioid, minimally invasive treatment option might be appropriate for you. If you decide to move ahead, your Doctor will start you with a trial period to confirm that this neuromodulation approach will work for you.

If you believe that you may be a good candidate for this procedure, make an appointment today to investigate it with your Main Line Spine doctor.

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