Spinal Cord Stimulation

Unified Pain Management


Intrathecal Pumps and Stimulators


At Unified Pain Management we offer long term sustainable options including implantable pain therapies such as spinal cord stimulation and targeted drug delivery. These devices were first utilized for various pain states over 50 years ago and as technology and understanding has advanced, so too have the results. Spinal cord stimulation involves placement of small leads in specific areas near the spinal cord or nerve roots. These leads are then attached to a battery source to allow delivery of electrical signals which can reprogram the spinal cord and surrounding nerves to reduce or eliminate pain signals. This procedure involves a trial which lasts for up to a week where the leads are temporarily positioned allowing the patient to experience the level of relief to make sure that this therapy will work for them. If criteria is met, the patient will be scheduled for a minimally invasive implant procedure where the leads and battery are surgically placed in proper position for long term therapy. Spinal cord stimulation can be used for a wide array of pain syndromes including post laminectomy syndromes, complex regional pain syndrome, radiculopathy, focal neuropathies and neuralgias, phantom limb pain, and other resistant pains. This therapy can allow patients to reduce their pain, restore their functionality, reduce their medication consumption and ultimately regain the quality of life they desire for the long term with minimal side effects and without the need for an extensive or invasive surgery.

Targeted drug delivery is another implantable therapy which can also treat many different chronic pain syndromes. This therapy differs from spinal cord stimulation in that it uses a chemical delivery to reduce the spinal cord transmission of pain signals and spasticity. Medications commonly used for pain management including opioids, baclofen, local anesthetics, ziconatide and clonidine have mechanisms of action which involve chemically binding to receptors in the spinal cord. Common ways to administer these medications include taking pills or applying patches to allow the medication to enter the body either via the intestines or skin which then allows the medication to enter the bloodstream and circulate to various organs including the spinal cord. Unfortunately this process is often times inefficient and results in the medication binding to receptors in places that are not desired such as the brain and intestines which leads to various side effects such as cognitive impairment, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and constipation. This can also lead to patients getting less pain relief simply because there is not enough medication reaching the spinal cord receptors. Targeted drug delivery through an intrathecal pain pump allows the physician to administer these medications directly to the area surrounding the spinal cord so that more effective pain relief can be achieved with reduced side effects. By targeting the spinal cord and reducing the dose of medication needed to treat the underlying source of pain, you also reduce the delivery of medication to the addictive centers in the brain. This therapy can be life changing when administered and managed appropriately. Once prepared, the patient would also undergo a trial to make sure the medication will work well in reducing their pain. This usually involves a small injection. If the trial is successful, the patient will then be scheduled for a minimally invasive implant procedure where the pump and catheter are surgically placed in proper position for long term therapy.