Spinal Cord Simulators ( SCS) for certain chronic pain conditions are picking up momentum as an invasive surgical option for the treatment of chronic pain. Some diagnosis that tend to respond well to a SCS implant are:
- Cervical Radicular Pain - Chronic Neck Pain
- Lumbar Radicular Pain - Radiating Back Pain
- Peripheral Neuropathies - Pain and numbness in hands and feet
- Ischemic Peripheral Vascular Disease - severe obstruction of the arteries which seriously decreases blood flow to the extremities (hands, feet and legs) and has progressed to the point of severe pain and even skin ulcers or sores.
Historically due to the costs, risks, and being invasive the industry itself has had to promote the benefits of undergoing an implant for pain control. One of the reasons the process has been beneficial is the electrodes are surgically implanted around the spine and the electrical interference, vis a vis Melzack/Wall Gate Control Theory, now distribute electricity in the neural pathway. One of the reasons for surgical intervention is the process
removes the resistance one has when an external device such as a tens unit is used.
Skin resistance has always been an inhibitor to effective pain control because the skin and other tissues degrade the electrical impulse so that when the electrical signal arrives at the target area, in SCS the nerve root, then the degradation has rendered the signal too weak to be effective in reducing the pain. In other words there is not enough energy to effect a "firing" at the nerve root itself.
With the advent of portable, at home interferential therapy the new modality addresses the exact issue that has rendered Tens ineffective and required surgical intervention, now practically antiquated. The entire premise behind interferential therapy for pain is to increase the frequency from conventional tens, 150 pulses per second, to 8,150 pulses per second. The increased frequency has the sole purpose of reducing the physical and chemical resistance so the target nerves can be stimulated so the pain subsides.
Also with interferential one can have the exact same reactions one may have with an implantable SCS stimulator, carryover pain relief.
Before any pain patient considers undergoing surgery for pain control, interferential treatments should be tried to see if the therapy is beneficial. There are risks from any surgical procdure both short and long term. There are no guarantees that the surgery will be a long term fix and if not there are many complications to removing implants thusly causing even more of one of the most complicated issues with any surgery, scar tissue.
Scar tissue is the cause of many pain issues and as a general rule no one wants more scar tissue added yet operative procedures create it and the removal of implanted devices exacerbate it. By using an external device such as interferential therapy there are no new injuries, no exacerbation of pain, and the entire premise behind interferential therapy is to address the issues of resistance without surgery.
Think and act conservatively first, before undergoing surgical interventions.