What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Spinal Cord Stimulation is a pain management therapy that has garnered increased attention in recent years for its effective ability to intercept pain signals generated in the spine from reaching the brain. This method of treatment uses electrical pulses from an implanted device to stimulate nerves and essentially mask the negative sensations that they are producing for a patient in pain.

What does spinal cord stimulation treat?

Spinal Cord Stimulation is typically for people with chronic back pain that have been unsuccessful with other treatments or who have begun to experience increased pain over time. Spinal Cord Stimulation helps with things such as Spinal Cord Injury, Spinal Stenosis, Sciatica, Degenerative Disc Disease, CRPS and failed back surgery. It can also help with Neuropathic pain caused from a pinched nerve.

The Procedure:

Before receiving permanent implantation of a STIM unit, candidates will undergo a trial to determine if this will work as a viable form of relief for them. Using a hollow needle and x-ray fluoroscopy, electrical leads are implanted near the spine to target specific nerves corresponding to an individual’s specific area of pain. They are connected to the device that is worn externally for the 3-7 day trial period in which patients are instructed to keep track of their pain level during normally exasperating activities. The device generates a current that can be adjusted to varying levels of frequency to suit a patient’s needs. Depending on these settings, a patient may feel a tingling sensation that masks their normal pain sensations or nothing at all.

A trial procedure is deemed successful if a patient experiences at least a 50% reduction in pain. Once proven to be an eligible candidate, patients may schedule an outpatient surgery to receive permanent implantation. Systems can last anywhere from 2-10 years depending on if they are equipped with a rechargeable system and can also be removed at any time without damage to the spinal system.


Pain Specialists works with preferred partners St. Jude and Abbott to provide this treatment to patients. Get in touch with our specialists today to see if you may be an eligible candidate.