Dorsal column stimulator therapy is a treatment in which electrical current is used to stimulate an area of the spine via leads implanted just under the skin. Through such stimulation, many patients find relief from persistent back and/or neck pain. Though the implantation process requires the insertion of leads via needles into the spine, the initial implantation only needs to be performed once for this treatment. After the leads are placed, treatment via electrical stimulation can be done at any time without further insertions. Dorsal column stimulator therapy differs from transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (or TENS) therapy in that the leads are physically implanted closer to the actual nerve roots, whereas TENS therapy uses only electrodes placed on the skin.

Scientists aren’t yet completely certain what it is about the use of low-voltage electricity that works to treat the pain; some researchers believe that pumping electricity into the nerves essentially “scrambles” the pain signals to the brain, while others believe that stimulation of the culprit nerves instigates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain-killers. Whatever the mechanism, many patients have found satisfying relief from its use in dorsal column stimulator therapy.

In order to achieve the best pain-relief results for your condition, your doctor or physical therapist will help you determine the most appropriate settings for your dorsal column stimulator. Once your doctor or physical therapist is satisfied that you have a good grasp of how to perform the treatment on your own, you can begin to work with your own dorsal column stimulator unit in the comfort of your home. The convenience of being able to do it yourself when you need it can provide valuable peace of mind knowing that medical treatment is never beyond your reach. Dorsal column stimulator therapy is considered a very safe option for treatment of pain, so long as it is not misused.