What is spinal cord stimulation?

Spinal Cord Stimulation is an advanced pain management treatment that addresses chronic pain. Gentle electrical currents are delivered from a small high tech device to your spinal cord. When the spinal cord stimulator is turned on it helps mask pain signals from reaching the brain. This therapy may be utilized to reduce chronic pain and improve quality of life.

How do I know if this therapy is right for me?

Spinal cord stimulation is recommended if other more conservative pain management treatments have not been successful, if you are not a surgical candidate, or if surgery has failed to manage your pain. We work closely with a team of pain management specialists, psychologists and therapists to determine if you are a candidate for this treatment. Stimulation does not eliminate the source of pain and may not work for everyone. For this reason, a trial is initially placed before the final device is implanted. If this device does not work for you, it can be safely removed without damage to the spinal cord or nerves.

Before surgery

Your doctor will request pre-surgical tests (ie: lab work, chest x-ray, electrocardiogram) prior to scheduling your procedure. You will need to stop taking any anti-inflammatory medicines as well as blood thinners 1 week before surgery. You will not be permitted to have any food or drinks past midnight the night before surgery. *Spinal cord stimulation is a fully reversible procedure. It is also one of the only therapies that you as a patient get to test out for yourself to decide if this therapy is right for you. Please speak to your doctor to determine if you are a candidate.

What to expect:

Step 1: Trial Trial stimulator is first placed to better understand if you would benefit from this therapy as well as to better understand the type, location and severity of the pain. The trial is placed during a short outpatient procedure using x-ray guidance. You will be discharged the same day with proper instructions. You will keep a written log of your pain as well as the stimulation settings. Step 2 If you experienced greater than 50% improvement of your pain, step 2 would involve placement of the permanent spinal cord stimulator.


Avoid lifting anything greater than 5 lbs, bending, twisting for the first 4-6 weeks. Avoid driving a motor vehicle after surgery or until you have completely discontinued your pain medications and been released by your doctor. You can gradually return back to your normal activities and walking is encouraged.

Incision care
Do not submerge yourself into water for 4 weeks. You may shower 5 days after surgery but do not take a bath, or enter into a pool or Jacuzzi. After showering, pat dry the area which may have surgical glue and steri-strips. Do not remove the steri-strips until asked to do so or as they fall off on their own.