I'm 42-years old and a third grade teacher in an elementary school. I've had two back surgeries that didn't work. Now I have seriously severe back and leg pain. I may have to give up my job and go on disability so I've started looking into having one of those spinal stimulators put in. Everything I read says there are some device-related complications. What does this refer to?
The condition you describe is called failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS). Although many patients are helped by back surgery, there are some who end up with intractable back/and or leg pain. This type of pain is called neuropathic pain.

As you have experienced, neuropathic pain associated with FBSS can be extremely disabling. Pain, loss of function, and decreased quality of life can lead to the loss of a job and permanent disability.

Conventional medical management does help some patients, but the majority express low satisfaction with treatment. Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is achieved with a device that is implanted in the body. The device delivers a low level electrical current through wires. The wires are placed in the area near the spinal cord. The device is about the size of a pacemaker.

The two most common problems that occur with the SCS are infection and electrode migration. Some patients report a loss of stimulation. The stimulation causes paresthesia (numbness). Without the paresthesia sensation, their pain comes back in full force.

Surgery is often needed to repair the device or fix the problem. It is estimated that one-third of all patients who receive the SCS experience device-related complications. An equal number of patients develop other (non-device) problems. These include side effects from medications, new illness, or new injury.