Neurostimulator Problem with Complex Region Pain Syndrome

Dr. Mark Borigini Health Guide
  • Dear Dr. Borigini,

    My significant other has the neurostimulator implant in the lower right-hand side of his back. He has suffered with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, also called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, for years now. He has been complaining of tingling and pulsating, and at times he says he can feel vibration or a roaring sound. I researched the type of stimulator he has and I think he may need to have his batteries changed. I understand that you are not allowed to give medical advice on this web site, but do his symptoms sound like something we need to get alarmed about? He's had his stimulator for 3 or 4 years now. He's not complaining of pain, he just continues to tell me he is a little uncomfortable. I've asked him several times about seeing the doctor, but I think he's afraid he'll get bad news. Please help me to help him. If it's just batteries we can fix that easily. Thank you in advance.

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    Neurostimulation therapies can be quite effective for managing pain in patients with intractable neuropathic pain, such as that seen in reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Therapy maintenance varies widely from patient to patient, but the patient should see his doctor at least on a periodic basis—at least to check the battery. A neurostimulation system should be removed if it is associated with a refractory infection. If there is persistent pain, this could possibly indicate tissue destruction, lead fracture, or a depleted battery. Your significant other needs to see a physician as soon as possible to rule out the possibility of infection or other cause of potentially serious nerve damage. Hopefully, it is simply a matter of obtaining a new battery, and if that is the case, then by all means see your doctor and have this problem addressed as soon as possible. Why be in pain if you don’t have to be?

    Important: We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q&A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.
Published On: January 17, 2007