Spinal Cord Stimulation

Location of implant device.  Image courtesy of Abbott.

Location of implant device.
Image courtesy of Abbott.

What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Spinal cord stimulators are implants that intercept the pain signal before it reaches the brain, providing relief from chronic back, leg or arm pain. Neurostimulation has shown to provide relief so people can focus on their lives instead of their pain.

Similar to a cardiac pacemaker, the stimulator is a device that is implanted, or surgically placed under the patient’s skin, with thin wires that deliver mild electrical pulses to the spinal cord. These electrical signals mask or modify the pain signals before they reach the brain and thereby reduce the perception of pain or replace it with a mild tingling sensation called “parasthesia” (some models do not cause this tingling sensation depending on the type of current used). Individual pain reduction varies because while the pulses interfere with the signal to the brain, the source of pain itself is not eliminated.

There are different types of spinal cord stimulation devices and the doctor will discuss the best option for each patient after a thorough evaluation. All devices include three basic parts: a pulse generator that creates the electrical pulses, a lead wire with electrodes that delivers the pulses, and a small remote that controls the settings for the device.

Pain Management Goals

The goal for this therapy is to reduce pain by 50-70%. Even a small amount of pain reduction can be significant if it allows the patient to return to normal activities, reduce medication, exercise, or participate in physical therapy.

7-Day Trial Stimulation

A trial stimulation of seven days is conducted prior to a permanent implant to ensure the patient is experiencing pain reduction and is comfortable with the device. Not everyone is a candidate for spinal cord stimulation and some people may find the sensations unpleasant. If spinal cord stimulation does not work for the patient the device will be removed and no damage to the spinal cord or nerves will have occurred.

Advanced Diagnostic Pain Treatment Center uses spinal stimulation devices from the following companies. Learn more by visiting the links below.

Abbott BurstDR and DRG:



Medtronic Spinal Cord Stimulators:


Boston Scientific Spinal Cord Stimulators:


Nevro Spinal Cord Stimulators: