Interviewer: Surgery, it’s a word that patients hate hearing and one that keeps many away from the doctors’ offices. But there are ways to treat back pain without going under the knife. Dr. Rudy Gari from Florida Pain Relief Group is back to talk about one of those ways today, spinal cord stimulation. Okay, Dr. Gari, great to have you back.
Dr. Gari: Pleasure.
Interviewer: What is spinal cord stimulation?
Dr. Gari: So actually spinal cord stimulation is a technique where we place these tiny little electrodes into the back of your spine that helps…it blocks the pain levels. It’s actually based on a Noble Prize winning technique. If you think about it, when you were a little kid and you place your finger on the stove and it hurt, and mom came and rubbed it and it felt better. Well, the reason why it felt better is because the touch sensation actually went up your brain and blocked the pain going to your brain.
Dr. Gari: What spinal cord stimulation does, is these tiny little electrodes, they’re no more than epidurals when the ladies have the little epidural catheters for labor, it’s the same thing, but we place these little electrodes there and what it does is it replaces the back pain and the pain going down to the legs with a very gentle tingling sensation. So you feel a tingling sensation as opposed to having this constant back pain.
Interviewer: That sounds like a great thing for so many people. What kind of pain does it treat?
Dr. Gari: It treats basically back pain, low back pain, it treats any sort of nerve pain, diabetic neuropathy, any sort of nerve entrapment. Patients that have had…we get a lotta patients that have had two or three or four back operations. There’s nothing else that can be done. Those are very good candidates because, you know, they are constantly in pain, we can place that in there and get them some really significant relief, allow them to cut down on all these massive medications that they have to take just to live their everyday life.
Interviewer: Is this done through an outpatient kind of facilitation?
Dr. Gari: Outpatient procedure. You come in, we give you some sedatives to relax you, a little local anesthesia, it’s done [SP] through a needle. We place this electrodes through a needle and you go home the same day. Usually we do what’s called a trial period, where we have you go home with it for about a week, make sure that it’s gonna work for you. If it works for you, we can get it implanted. It’s a….very…it’s a tiny little incision that just goes right on the skin. It has a little thing called a generator which is the size of a half dollar, and the batteries’ rechargeable, so it last years.
Interviewer: Oh, so you don’t have to keep going into the office to get this put in, you can…
Dr. Gari: No, no.
Interviewer: …have put in and then you’re… Do you control it yourself, or?
Dr. Gari: Yes, there’s a lotta programs. So for example, you say, “Well, sometimes I get back pain, sometimes have pain down a leg, sometimes a combination.” We can program this to have different types of variances. So, if you have back pain, you hit number one, if you got leg pain number two, and so forth.
Interviewer: Why is this preferable to more traditional back treatments, like surgery?
Dr. Gari: Because a lotta times there are no other options. You have, for example, these chance of success after the first back operation is fairly high. The second one is not so high and the third one, you’re only talking maybe 15%. So after that, you’re almost…you’re pretty much out of options when it comes to surgery, but you’re not out of options when it comes to seeing us because we have a lotta different treatments.
Interviewer: Well this is a great alternative to surgery in the first place, right?
Dr. Gari: Absolutely.
Interviewer: All right. Dr. Gari, thank you very much. Florida Pain Relief Group even schedules same-day appointments. Be sure to visit their website right now, floridapainreliefgroup.com, or give them a call, 844-KICK-PAIN. Dr. Rudy Gari, thank you again very much.
Dr. Gari: My pleasure.
Interviewer: We’ll be right back.