Ongoing neck, spine and other neurological issues cause both physical and mental trauma to patients and their families. Chronic pain affects 50 million individuals in the United States. Many of these people suffer from neuropathic pain, which is caused by a nerve-related injury or illness. While some cases of nerve pain respond to non-surgical, conservative treatments such as cognitive therapy, physical therapy, over-the-counter medications, prescription medications or nerve blocks, while many others do not.
For cases in which pain is unresolved, implantable neuromodulation therapies may be the answer. These therapies include pain pumps that administer pain medication and neurostimulation, also known as spinal cord stimulation or SCS.
A surgically implanted drug pump delivers pain medication directly to the intrathecal space, or the fluid around the spinal cord where the pain signals begin. Not only does this technique better target areas of pain than do oral medications, but it also requires only a fraction of the medication that would be needed if taken orally.
A spinal cord stimulator is a small device that is surgically placed beneath the skin. It sends electrical impulses to the brain and spinal cord that in turn block pain signals. The spinal cord stimulator does not fix or treat the source of pain, but it provides enough pain relief for some people that they can participate in their favorite activities again.
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Dr. Dagam is highly experienced at installing intrathecal pain pumps and spinal cord stimulators. For many of these cases, other types of specialists (such as physiatrists or anesthesiologists) may implant a temporary pump or stimulator in order to determine the patient’s response to treatment. If the patient responds well, Dr. Dagam surgically performs the permanent installation, after which the patient returns to have the device calibrated and programmed.
Dr. Dagam also performs functional neurosurgery to resolve pain conditions resulting from peripheral nerve damage such as carpal tunnel syndrome and thoracic outlet syndrome, or disorders of the ulnar nerve such as cubital tunnel syndrome.