16 Nov The Science Behind Spinal Cord Stimulators
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that transmits messages from the brain to various parts of the body. These messages regulate bodily functions such as breathing, digestion, and touch response.
Messages are transmitted through nerve cells in the spinal cord called neurons. When these neurons become damaged or diseased, their ability to transmit signals becomes impaired, and it can cause a variety of symptoms including pain, numbness, weakness in limbs, and even bladder control problems.
One way to repair these problems with messaging in the central nervous system is using a spinal cord stimulator. Here is what you need to know about how a spinal cord stimulator works.
What a Spinal Cord Stimulator Is
A spinal cord stimulator is an electronic device implanted near the spine that sends electrical impulses along wires to electrodes on either side of the injured area. The impulses stimulate nerve activity at these sites, which helps relay information up and down your spinal column so you can live more comfortably with less pain!
A spinal cord stimulator consists of three parts: the pulse generator, lead wires, and electrodes. The pulse generator is probably about the size of an iPod or cell phone which you can carry in your pocket or clip to your belt with some devices.
The electrode leads are thin insulated wires that go from the pulse generator to your spine. These wires are placed under the skin and run up along either side of the spinal cord, which relieves pain as they stimulate nerve cells in this region.
The electrodes themselves are small metal discs that conduct electrical impulses through the area where nerves cross over each other or come into contact with muscles used for movement. The electrodes are attached to the pulse generator and placed in a way that they can stimulate nerve cells along your spine, which helps relay information up and down your spinal cord so you have less pain!
How a Spinal Cord Stimulator Works
In essence, when on, the spinal cord stimulator sends pulses that disrupt pain signals. This prevents the brain from receiving the message that you should feel pain. As a result, you do not experience the discomfort that you have been struggling with.
Does spinal cord stimulation always work? Not in all cases. Luckily, though this is meant to be a permanent device, it is reversible. So, if it ends up not being the right option for you, it can simply be taken out.