Spinal cord stimulation is a minimally invasive pain management application that involves placing a thin, flexible implant within the spinal column of a patient. The implant emits a low-amplitude electrical signal (which is the basis of neural signaling, or the method by which nervous tissue conducts information to and from the brain). The implant targets the spinal nerve in the immediate vicinity of its location, in the epidural space of the spine. This nerve may be either damaged or over-active, which results in protracted pain signaling. This is often the source of chronic pain.
The implants are normally accompanied with a remote control that the patient can activate in response to painful sensations. Spinal cord stimulation has been demonstrated as effective in treating intractable chronic pain, and is particularly effective in the treatment of pain associated with nerve damage (i.e. neuropathic pain). Neuropathic pain may also be linked to dysfunction in nerves travelling either to or from the brain.