Skip to content

Spinal Cord Stimulator Trials: A Path to Pain Relief


Today, I want to shed some light on Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS) trials, an innovative approach that can significantly improve the lives of individuals suffering from chronic pain. Let’s delve into what it is, what it can treat, how it’s administered, and the potential risks associated with this procedure.

What is a Spinal Cord Stimulator?

A Spinal Cord Stimulator is a medical device designed to alleviate chronic pain by modifying pain signals before they reach the brain. It consists of a small generator, placed under the skin, which emits electrical pulses to the spinal cord. These pulses interfere with pain signals, replacing them with a more pleasant tingling sensation known as paresthesia. This non-painful sensation helps to manage and reduce pain perception, thereby improving a patient’s overall quality of life. Newer technology like high frequency stimulation allows the patient to get pain relief without feeling anything.

What Conditions Can It Treat?

SCS trials are typically recommended for patients who have been suffering from chronic pain, which hasn’t responded well to conservative treatments such as medication, physical therapy, or injections. Conditions that often benefit from Spinal Cord Stimulation include:

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS): Persistent pain after one or more spinal surgeries.

Chronic Back and Neck Pain: For patients with conditions like degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, or radiculopathy.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS): A chronic pain condition affecting the limbs, often following an injury or surgery.

Peripheral Neuropathy: Chronic pain resulting from nerve damage, often due to diabetes or other underlying causes.

Non surgical chronic low back pain: Patients who suffer chronic low back pain, but cannot have surgery due to other chronic health issues may be candidates for spinal cord stimulation.

If you have been struggling with any of these conditions and conventional treatments have not provided sufficient relief, a Spinal Cord Stimulator trial may be an excellent option to consider.

How is the SCS Trial Administered?

Before committing to a permanent Spinal Cord Stimulator implantation, patients undergo a trial period to ensure its effectiveness in managing their pain. Here’s how the SCS trial process typically unfolds:

Patient Selection: After a comprehensive evaluation of your medical history and pain condition, I will determine if you are a suitable candidate for an SCS trial.

Temporary Electrode Placement: During a minimally invasive procedure, thin electrode leads are inserted into the epidural space near your spinal cord.

External Stimulator: The leads are connected to an external stimulator device that you can control to adjust the stimulation level.

Trial Period: The trial usually lasts for about 5 to 7 days, during which you can assess the pain relief and overall improvement in your daily activities.

What Are the Risks?

While Spinal Cord Stimulator trials are generally considered safe, like any medical procedure, they do carry some potential risks and complications, including:

Infection: There is a slight risk of infection at the site of electrode insertion.

Bleeding: Some patients may experience minor bleeding during the procedure.

Lead Migration: The electrode leads may shift, leading to reduced pain relief.

Allergic Reactions: In rare cases, patients may experience an allergic reaction to the materials used in the device.

Device Malfunction: Although uncommon, the SCS device could malfunction and require reprogramming or replacement.

It’s essential to discuss your medical history and any concerns you may have during our consultation to minimize the likelihood of complications.

If you’re tired of living with chronic pain and exploring new ways to regain control of your life, don’t hesitate to reach out. Together, we can determine if a Spinal Cord Stimulator trial is the right step toward managing your pain effectively.

To schedule an appointment or learn more about Spinal Cord Stimulator trials and other pain management options, please contact our office to set up an appointment with Dr. Edward Rubin.. Take the first step towards a more pain-free future!