I'm sorry to hear of your struggles with pain, no doubt chronic pain is one of the toughest things that we have to face in life. But you have found a wonderful site here full of very knowledgeable, caring, compassionate people.
Like Frances, I too have an implanted neurostimulator, which I love very much. However, unlike Frances, and other members with SCS or PNS units, I did NOT have to undergo a psych eval prior to my trial, so I cannot provide you with any feedback in regards to that. As for the procedure itself, before having the permanent system implanted, you will have a trial -- a period of 3 to 7 days, in which you are fitted with a temporary, external system. If the trial is successful (generally, a 50% or greater reduction in pain is considered successful), then the temporary system is removed and permanent system is implanted in a second surgery. If you don't like the stimulator, or it doesn't help you, you don't have to go ahead with the permanent implant & the trial electrodes can be easily removed.
The purpose of a neurostimulator is to send out electrical impulses to the nerves that are responsible for your CP, essentially overloading them & thus interfering with the normal pain signals received the brain. Instead of feeling pain, you feel a tingling sensation (or a reduced amount of pain plus the tingling).
Because everyone feels/tolerates pain & other sensations differently, stimulators are highly personal experiences. In my opinion, you really can't use another person's experience to predict what your own will be (even if they have the same condition). Basically the only way to know for sure if a stimulator will help you, is to go through the trial.
There have been many threads here in the past regarding stimulators, and it may be worth doing a quick search & reading through some old threads.
As for pain pumps, I can't help you too much there, as I don't have one, or know much about
them, but they are very different from stimulators in both form and function. We do have several members with pain pumps, and hopefully one or two of them will come along & give you some feedback. In the mean time, check out this link to a previous thread, in which one member with both a stimulator & a pump, compares the two (although do remember, that each person's experience is their own)
Here it is: www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=16&m=1841598
Hope this helps!
Oh, and by the way, my neurostimulator is not an SCS (spinal cord stimulator), it is a PNS (peripheral nerve stimulator). It is the same device, only my electrodes are implanted on nerves in my face, not my back (as my pain is in my eye/face) & my battery is located in my chest, instead of my lower abdomen/buttocks. My unit is a Medtronics Restore Ultra. I did not have a choice of companies (as Medtronics is the company my surgeon works with), but I am very pleased with their device & my Medtronics Rep. Although I've only had my unit a short while (since July), I have not had any problems & my rep has been fantastic about
working with me to get the most out of my stimulator & is very knowledgeable & easy to contact in regards to questions, etc.
Post Edited (skeye) : 10/17/2010 8:53:37 PM (GMT-6)