The No.1 Pelvic Pain Specialists
Most people—especially women—have experienced pelvic pain, which can have different causes. This type of pain can appear in many ways. It can be sudden, intense, mild, last for a few hours or up to several months.
If your hip or pelvic pain lasts for over 6 months, you might suffer from Chronic Pelvic Pain (CPP). If that’s your case, one of our board-certified pelvic pain specialists can help you improve your quality of life.
Your doctor needs to fully comprehend your medical history to reach an accurate diagnosis. They may require you to take different tests.
Possible causes include fibromyalgia, hernia, ovarian cysts, appendicitis, endometriosis. Sometimes, the pain persists after treating the primary cause.
Facts About Pelvic Pain
Men and women
Chronic pelvic pain can affect both men and women. In both cases, the root cause could be in the reproductive and/or other internal organs, the pelvic bones, or infections.
Kidney stones, overactive bladder, prolapse, chronic prostatitis, interstitial cystitis, urinary tract infections, and irritable bowel syndrome are some conditions that can cause CPP.
Besides chronic pain, you may feel constipation, painful bowel movements, alterations in urination frequency, pain during urination, among other symptoms.
Treating Pelvic Pain With SCS
Each patient’s case is unique, and so is their diagnosis. Depending on your case, your pelvic pain specialist will develop a treatment plan for you. At our pain centers, one of the treatments one of our pain doctors might recommend - depending on the severity of your case - is spinal cord stimulation (SCS).
SCS comprises implanting a device, similar to a pacemaker, under the skin. This device “masks” pain signals before they reach the brain via electrical stimulation. This procedure is minimally invasive.
Facts About Spinal Cord Stimulation
How it works
This procedure doesn’t eradicate the pain. It masks it, using low electrical pulses, and changing the way the brain perceives it.
You can control electric pulses using a remote control. You can also turn the device on and off. This procedure has been highly successful in pain management.
Studies show that spinal cord stimulation is effective for treating chronic pain. You get to test the device before the surgery, so you can know if it works for you.
FAQ About Pelvic Pain And SCS
What is chronic pelvic pain?
If you’ve had pain in the pelvic area for 6 months or more, you could have chronic pelvic pain.
This condition can have many causes. Some of them are related to problems in the internal organs (especially reproductive organs). Other causes have to do with musculoskeletal issues, and sometimes even with psychological factors.
This type of pain may be constant or intermittent. It can appear at specific moments, like after meals, during intercourse, or when urinating.
Whatever your case, if you are experiencing chronic pain in the area below your belly button, you should see a pain specialist. If you are in NJ or PA, we can help you at Premier Pain Centers.
How does the doctor diagnose chronic pelvic pain?
Your pain doctor will analyze your medical history and perform a physical exam. They may require you to take some blood and/or imaging tests in order to find out what’s causing your discomfort.
If your problem has its cause in a subjacent health condition, you could need to see a specialist about it to effectively address the issue.
For some patients, pain appears to be unrelated to a specific cause. In those cases, your doctor will create a treatment plan to help you ease the symptoms and feel better. One of the therapies they may recommend is spinal cord stimulation.
What treatments are there for chronic abdominal pain?
Your doctor will create a treatment plan for you depending on what’s causing your pain. Some of the treatments they may recommend are:
- Nerve blocks - Consists of injecting medication on a nerve or group of nerves to block pain signals.
- Radiofrequency ablation - Uses radiofrequency energy to heat specific nerves and stop them from delivering pain signals to the brain.
- Spinal cord stimulation - Involves the implantation of a device that masks pain signals.
Which treatment is the best for treating chronic pelvic pain?
There are several ways to treat chronic pelvic pain. The right choice depends on the cause of your discomfort, your medical history, symptoms, and other factors, such as the treatments you’ve used before, and the intensity and duration of your pain.
At Premier, one of our pain specialists will define the best treatment plan for you after considering these different aspects.
Does SCS eliminate all the pain?
People have different reactions to SCS. Nevertheless, most patients experience a significant decrease in pelvic nerve pain (50% or more).
Can I try the system before the procedure?
Usually, there’s a trial before the procedure. After the trial, you can decide if this treatment is good for you.
Individuals experience pain relief and spinal cord stimulation in varying degrees. The device should be tested before being permanently implanted to see how well it works to relieve your pain.
How does the doctor perform the spinal cord procedure?
A pelvic pain specialist performs this procedure using a needle or through minimally invasive surgery. They implant the device under the skin, usually above the gluteus or in the abdomen.
Implantation of your spinal cord stimulator is conducted under anesthesia to reduce your discomfort.
Following the procedure, which typically lasts 60 to 90 minutes, you may resin in observation for about 30 minutes, after which you will receive instructions on how to care for yourself.
Can I go back to my normal life after an SCS procedure?
SCS can dramatically improve your ability to move and reduce pain. However, you should limit your activities for the next few weeks after the procedure.
The doctor will provide you with specific aftercare instructions. During the first two weeks after the procedure you should avoid:
- Lifting heavy objects.
- Engage in strenuous physical activity, such as twisting, climbing, and bending.
- Pulling or moving the leads.
When should I call my doctor after an SCS procedure?
Call your doctor if you:
- Have been experiencing pain for two weeks or longer in the implant's area.
- Notice a lot of redness around the cuts.
How effective is spinal cord stimulation for pelvic pain?
How does a spinal cord stimulator actually work?
A spinal cord stimulator is a very small device, similar to a pacemaker. A pain doctor implants it under the skin, commonly in the abdomen or the back.
This device has thin wires called electrodes. The doctor inserts them between the spinal cord and the vertebrae. Once they locate them in place, the spinal cord stimulator delivers electrical signals that produce a difference in the way your brain feels pain.
Do I qualify for spinal cord stimulation if I have pelvic pain?
You should visit a pain specialist so they can determine if you qualify for the treatment.
Usually, pelvic pain doctors perform SCS on patients with severe pain who have already tried other treatments without success. Other factors that may qualify you as a candidate for spinal cord stimulation include:
- Your pain isn’t related to cancer.
- You want to use fewer pain medications.
- Surgery isn't a good option for you.
- You don’t have any serious psychiatric conditions.
- There are no other medical reasons to avoid the procedure.
Are all spinal cord stimulators the same?
No. With the traditional spinal cord stimulator, patients experience a soft tingling sensation in the area where they previously had pain.
Most recent stimulators can provide pain relief without this tingling sensation. Treatment options for chronic pain depend on the type of condition and the individual needs of the patient.
Can I keep taking pain medications with a spinal cord stimulator?
Yes. In fact, your pain doctor may recommend you to take certain pain medicines to achieve the best results.
Although this treatment often provides significant pain relief, your SCS device may not alleviate 100% of the pain, which is why you may need to take medication, especially after performing demanding activities.
The amount of pain medication you may need after an SCS procedure is determined by how much pain you have and how much pain relief you get from your spinal cord stimulator.
How long does an SCS system last?
Researchers have found that spinal cord stimulators can reduce pain for up to 20 years after their implantation.
Nevertheless, the battery inside the device expires after some time. The majority of batteries are rechargeable and can last for up to 10 years, after which they have to be replaced.
The battery replacement procedure is done on an outpatient basis.
Will people see the SCS device?
No. The spinal cord stimulator is very small and is located very discreetly, so others won’t be able to see it. You may feel it with your fingers under your skin.