Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Downside to Having a Spinal Cord Stimulator

I may have mentioned a time or two that my spinal cord stimulator is awesome. True, it wasn't a cure-all. But it has definitely done wonders for the CRPS pain. And after the long, painful recovery process passed, I've basically been golden. Mostly.

But in the interest of fairness and full disclosure (especially for anyone who is considering having the surgery) I should share one of the downsides that comes up from time to time. One thing to remember is that the stimulator is sending pulses of electricity through your nerves. Usually that's a good thing, but every now and then it can cause issues.

For example... I was sitting at my desk tonight when my thumb started to buzz. (Not audibly, obviously. I could just feel it being zapped with electricity.) Then a few seconds later my whole arm was buzzing. And a few seconds after that I felt it through my entire body. And it wasn't the pleasant, feel-it-in-the-background-but-don't-really-notice-it kind of buzzing that I usually have. It was full-on, I'm-being-shocked-with-electricity kind of jolt. Not the most pleasant feeling.

I tried shifting positions, which usually helps. (But this time it didn't.) I tried getting up and walking around, stretching this way and that, trying to find a way to stop the borderline-painful shocking, but nothing helped. Finally I just had to turn the thing off for a while.

Fortunately this is a rare occurrence. (And when it does happen, it's hardly ever this bad. Usually it's just a quick jolt to one area of the body, and adjusting positions generally fixes it.) And are these little jolts (or even the big ones like tonight) so bad that they outweigh the benefits of the stimulator? Absolutely not! The benefits still outweigh the drawbacks, hands down.

This is just one of those little things that spinal cord stimulator owners need to be prepared for. It can be a shock sometimes. (Pun intended.) But maybe that's just the stimulator's way of reminding me that it's there, and that I should be thankful for all the things it does for me.

1 comment:

  1. Spinal cord stimulation can certainly provide effective pain relief esp. for patients with severe cases of CRPS. The procedure can also help reduce your medication intake.