A picture of a happy couple caught your eyes when you are scrolling through Facebook, another post of a cute puppy on Instagram made you double tap and tag that friend who loves dogs, and a Snap from your college roommate at Cancun reminds you that you haven’t taken a vacation because of your lower back pain. You often wonder why others’ lives are so much better than your own when you are on social media. However, this is a misconception. People only share publicly what they want other people to perceive them as on social media. This is the reason why you only see the glamorous parts of people’s lives. A study has shown that happy couples rarely share their relationship statuses on social media. Behind the mask of social media, people are dealing with all kinds of struggle that you know nothing about.
One particular struggle that is faced by 25.3 million Americans is pain. Pain can range from a minor headache to preventing a person from getting out of bed. Chronic pain, especially, goes beyond just the physical symptoms to impact mental health and all the relationships around you1. Statistics show that over 62% will experience depression, and 56% have increased anxiety2. Chronic pain also prevents people from performing normal daily activities such as tying shoelaces, walking dogs, and as simple as sitting in the living room to watch TV. So if this sounds like what you or someone you care about is going through, know that there are many things that you can do to help yourself or him or her.
One treatment for chronic pain is Spinal Cord Stimulation or SCS. SCS is a neurostimulation device that has become increasingly popular due to the growing body of literature, patient responses and positive physician feedback showing its effectiveness in treating chronic pain. Patients reported improved quality of life, including better sleep, and a reduction in medications. The stimulator masks the pain signals traveling through the nervous system before they reach the brain. Patients can “test drive” the device for typically 3-7 days, during which time they can evaluate the therapy and decide if it improves their quality of life. If so, they move on to the implant stage, which is reversible if necessary3.
Since the inception of stimulators in the United States in the 1970s, technology has greatly improved resulting in even better patient outcomes. Specifically, Abbott’s Proclaim with BurstDR has been proven superior to traditional neurostimulators, controlled by the patient with a familiar Apple mobile digital device. SCS is typically covered by insurance as the forefront option in treating chronic pain. All in all, spinal cord stimulation has been established as an effective treatment in a number of chronic pain syndromes. Consult your pain specialist to see if this is the right option for you. You can help yourself or someone you love get back to living life!