Best Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation Device

There has been a lot of interest in using electrical stimulation to cure back pain. But is this really a cure or just another gadget being pushed by companies looking to make a quick dollar. In other words is there any science behind the claims. Supposedly this unit is battery operated and fits onto my belt. Patches are applied to my back and connected to the belt unit. Mild electrical current is then applied blocking transmission of pain signals along the nerves. Electrical stimulation also results in promoting the release of endorphins which are natural painkillers produced by the body.

This all sounded interesting but the idea of having electrical charges shooting though my body did sound a bit dangerous and reminded me of all those electrical devices that were sold years ago that were nothing more than medical quackery. However my therapist assures me this was not the case. The electric current is very low and not dangerous and there has been a lot of solid research on the effectiveness of this apparatus. Another thing that convinced me to try it was the approval of my surgeon and my insurance company.

Is Electrical Simulation A Cure For Your Aching Back?

Well ever situation is unique. But studies do indicate that electrical stimulation can be part of an overall treatment program. Now this device doesn’t take the place of other treatments such as losing weight, physical therapy and exercise. How it allows the patient to participate in these therapies without pain or at least with a minimum of pain. Whether the device is for you depends on your situation and your doctor’s okay. I will stress however that whatever option you take it is important to also follow a program or system of exercise that is designed specifically for your condition and has a proven track record of success.

One of the repercussions of back pain regardless of the cause or diagnosis is the loss of strength in the core and low back muscles. These muscles provide the motion control and stability that the spine needs to function properly. When someone has an episode of back pain these muscles can stop functioning. If not treated properly the muscles may fall into permanent disuse and eventually atrophy. This can set up a cycle of recurring pain that can go on for years. Longstanding back problems can eventually lead to degeneration of the intervertebral discs and arthritic changes in the spine. This cycle can be prevented with proper treatment. Physical Therapists are specifically trained to evaluate patients with back pain, identify areas of dysfunction and implement restorative treatment plans.

A comprehensive treatment plan includes, heat, deep tissue massage specifically applied to the low back, electrical stimulation of nerves and muscles (modalities), manual stretching of the back and hips and therapeutic exercise for rehabilitating the deep low back and lower abdominal muscles. Initially, treatment focuses on reducing pain and stiffness. Once these acute symptoms have subsided, treatment is progressed to include exercises that address the weakness in the low back. This part of the treatment ensures that the pain does not return after therapy has ended.
In addition to the modalities and hands on treatment in the clinic, a crucial part of physical therapy is the patient’s home exercise program. As part of the treatment the therapist designs a home exercise program for the patient based on the findings during the initial evaluation. The home program is usually a 10-15 minute routine made up of 4-5 stretches and exercises that target weak and/or tight muscles. This routine is ideally performed 2-3 times per day.

How Does A Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial Work?

Prior to receiving a final spinal cord stimulator implant, the patient needs to receive a spinal cord stimulator trial. The trial can tell the physician if the patient will potentially do well with the final implant. The typical rule of thumb is if the patient receives 50% or greater pain relief with the SCS trial, then the final implant is indicated.
The SCS trial is done in as an outpatient by a physician trained in such procedures. The patient receives IV sedation but cannot be knocked out fully as the physician needs input from the patient during the procedure. The patient is placed face down on a procedure table that allows x-rays to go through it (radiolucent). The procedure is performed with a fluoroscope (real time x-ray machine).

The skin and soft tissues down to the spine are numbed fully and then a guide needle is placed through the anesthetized track. Through the guide needle, the spinal cord stimulator trial catheter is fed and goes into the epidural space, which is the area around the spinal cord. The fluoroscopy machine helps guide the catheter placement, as the catheter contains a visible piece of metal on it.

Once the catheter is placed in the initial position deemed acceptable, the representative from the spinal cord stimulator company being used passes a sterile power attachment into the operating field and the physician then turns it on and initial programming of the electrical stimulation is performed.

The patient now becomes an active participant in the procedure. Sedated but not out, the patient will then respond where he or she feels the electrical sensation. The catheter is manipulated by the physician and placed so that the patient feels the electrical sensation where the pain is typically felt on a daily basis. This could be leg pain, back pain, or both.

Once the placement obtaining optimal electrical coverage is achieved, the catheter is stitched to the skin where it comes out and multiple bandages are placed to keep the area sterile. The SCS trial is then left in place for the next 3-5 days as an outpatient with the catheter receiving electrical impulses to see how it works. The catheter is attached to a battery pack/program unit which attaches to the patient’s waist.

On a follow up visit to the physician’s office, the catheter is removed in the office with a wound check. The patient then relays how much pain relief was achieved and the decision is made whether or not to proceed for a final spinal cord stimulator implant. It is no fun to have a back pain, but your not alone, millions of people living on this globe have some form of back pain. Most times their is a solution for your back pain, but there is one thing that should always do if your back pain doesn’t go away after a few days, you should visit your doctor or another medical professional to take a look or do some further investigation. You don’t want to make it worse by not knowing what the reason for the pain could be.

Your doctor will now what to do against the pain in your back once they know what the cause is. There are many types of remedies for back pain and you should trust your doctor in knowing the best solution. A doctor is trained to take these type of decisions by looking at the possible cause and then deciding which treatment will be the best for your back pain.

The Remedies For Back Pain

When asked about the remedy people take, when they are confronted with a more permanent back pain for the first, most people will tell that they take some form of medication. Often a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is prescribed by a doctor or a muscle relaxant so the muscles (if that is the cause of the back pain) can relax and stop the tension.
Physical therapy is the next step if the drugs or muscle relaxers on their own don’t work or are not showing the expected results. Often the physical therapy will start while still taking the prescribed drugs. The therapist will have a choice of techniques to choose from, some of them are ultrasound, ice or heat and even electrical stimulation. And while applying the techniques the therapist will look at the results so he can pinpoint which treatment will work the best for the patients particular back pain problem.

With electrical stimulation a weak electrical current is sent from a unit through the skin in to nerve pathways. Although this does not work for everyone or all kinds of back pain it is becoming very popular and it can be tried to see if there are positive results.

The last resort for back pain treatment is and should always be, surgery. The percentage of people with back pain who can only be helped with surgery is very low. A type of surgery where a part of the vertebra, the spinal column bony part, is removed, this is called lacminectomy and laminotomy. Another surgical option is intradiscal electrothermal therapy, with this option a needle is inserted into the disc through a catheder. Your doctor is the person you should talk to when it comes making a decision what treatment you should get for your back pain. That’s most important advice anyone can give you, when your back pain takes longer than it normally does after a day of hard work you should consult with your doctor. He or she can give you the best advice on the procedure you should follow.

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