05 Sep Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant Can Treat Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
Multiple sclerosis affects our immune systems, causing it to malfunction and attack our own healthy tissue. This condition specifically attacks the central nervous system. The brain and spinal cord degenerate and are no longer protected and cannot communicate with the body. Multiple sclerosis cannot be cured, but symptoms are manageable with treatments, medications, and physical therapy. Spinal cord stimulators are being used to control the communication problems that patients with MS have between their brain and body.
What is a Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant?
Spinal cord stimulator implantation is a surgical pain-relief therapy that can deliver a low-voltage electrical current continuously to the spinal cord that blocks the sensation of pain to the brain. Spinal cord stimulation is the most commonly used implantable neurostimulation device to relieve chronic pain. They are approved and accepted as a treatment by the FDA, and around 50,000 neurostimulators are implanted every year. The three kinds of spinal cord stimulation device types are conventional systems, radiofrequency systems, and rechargeable systems. If you’re a good candidate for spinal cord stimulation, the first step would be to implant a device on a trial basis. During the stimulator trial phase, a lead or leads are implanted temporarily and then is connected to a trial spinal cord stimulator. The trial stimulator is programmed with one or more stimulation programs customized to the specific area of injury. The trial phase can be helpful because it helps the patient and doctor know if the stimulator is actually relieving pain. It can also provide the patient and doctor with a period to find out which setting will work best. Spinal cord stimulators are reversible therapy, so the treatment can be stopped at any time, and the implanted parts turned off and/or removed if it is not providing any pain relief.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body. Eventually, the disease can cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves. Signs and symptoms of MS vary widely and depend on the amount of nerve damage and which nerves are affected. Some people with severe MS may lose the ability to walk independently or at all, while others may experience long periods of remission without any new symptoms. There’s no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, treatments can help speed recovery from attacks, modify the course of the disease, and manage symptoms.
How Can a Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant Treat Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms?
Case studies are exploring spinal cord stimulator implants in patients with multiple sclerosis because of their effectiveness at controlling pain signals to and from the brain. MS patients may experience painful symptoms due to the fact that the disease degrades the protective covering around the brain and spinal cord nerves. This exposure can cause chronic pain all over the body. Spinal cord stimulators have had success in controlling MS patient’s pain and reduced the number of opioids they consumed.