Spinal Cord Stimulation for Chronic, Nonmalignant Pain

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Chronic, nonmalignant pain differs from acute pain and cancer pain and can have a significant impact on people's lives. Many therapeutic modalities have been attempted for relief of this pain with varying degrees of success. These include opioid analgesics, relaxation methods, nerve blocks, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), and spinal cord stimulation (SCS). SCS has been successful in decreasing nonmalignant pain when other methods have failed. Nurses play an active role in caring for patients receiving SCS through patient education, psychologic support, and programming the spinal cord stimulator. Because of the active role nurses take in pain management, a knowledge of pain transmission and the techniques and efficacy of spinal cord stimulation is important.

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