Using Spinal Cord Stimulation to Treat Multiple Sclerosis

Using Spinal Cord Stimulation to Treat Multiple Sclerosis

Approximately one million people in the United States live with multiple sclerosis (MS), which is a highly complex neurological condition that’s often frustrating to manage. If you’re struggling to find solutions for the wide range of symptoms that come with MS, a spinal cord stimulator may provide the solution you’re looking for.

As pain management and neurological specialists, Sachida Manocha, MD, and the team here at Interventional Pain Center fully comprehend how difficult it can be to treat MS, which is why we’re excited by the successes of neuromodulation, or, more specifically, spinal cord stimulation.

Here’s a look at the potential role spinal cord stimulation can play in helping improve your quality of life when you have MS.

How spinal cord stimulation works

Multiple sclerosis is a condition in which your immune system attacks your central nervous system, damaging your nerves and disrupting the messaging between your body and your brain. This can lead to a variety of symptoms, such as numbness or weakness in one or more limbs, tremors, fatigue, and vision problems. 

Interestingly, spinal cord stimulation also alters the messaging between your body and your brain. However, spinal cord stimulation offsets the garbled messaging created by MS. 

To accomplish this, we implant a device that emits electrical impulses into your spinal cord. First, we place thin wires into the epidural space along your spine. We then attach these wires to a small pulse generator and implant it into your abdomen or buttocks.

Before we implant a spinal cord stimulator, we conduct a trial run to ensure that this treatment will be effective for you.

Spinal cord stimulation and MS

Spinal cord stimulation has been used for decades, quite successfully, for people who are struggling with chronic pain, post-surgical pain, and spinal cord injuries. However, its use in patients with MS is fast gaining acceptance as an effective treatment for some of the more problematic symptoms that come with MS.

As an example, an analysis of seven studies conducted among people living with MS found spinal cord stimulation “to be effective at improving motor disorders, urinary dysfunction, and neuropathic pain — the 3 principal functional limitations among these individuals.”

The breakdown of the analysis, which included 455 patients, was this:

Another study of a single patient that documented the long-term use of spinal cord stimulation for MS reported a “77% reduction in pain and a 99% reduction in opioid use” at the 24-month mark.

As you can see by these two reports alone, spinal cord stimulation has proven to be an effective and sustainable approach to managing the symptoms of MS.

If you’d like to explore whether spinal cord stimulation may be an effective tool in better managing your MS, book an appointment online or over the phone with Interventional Pain Center today.

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