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Spinal Cord Stimulation & Intrathecal Implants

Relief from Your Chronic Pain

Spinal cord stimulators are small devices implanted near the spine in the lower back area. These devices emit electrical pulses that disrupt pain signals sent via the nervous system to the brain. The SCS has a remote control patients can use to adjust the intensity of the electrical pulses.

Spinal Cord Stimulation Q&A

What is spinal cord stimulation?

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a cutting-edge treatment that uses electrical pulses to control chronic pain. SCS effectively prevents pain signals from reaching the brain and helps reduce the use of painkillers and opioid medications.

SCS is typically recommended when more conservative treatments like injections and physical therapy have failed to offer effective pain relief.

Spinal cord stimulation is an effective treatment for a variety of chronic pain conditions, including:

  • Sciatica
  • Failed back surgery
  • Arachnoiditis
  • Lower back pain
  • Neuropathy
  • Joint pain
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Complex regional pain syndrome

Spinal cord stimulation consists of a small device, called a spinal cord stimulator, which your doctor at American Pain Consortium, implants under your skin.

How does spinal cord stimulation work?

Your nerves constantly transmit signals from the body to your brain. When functioning properly, the nerves help keep you healthy by sending pain signals to the brain when something is wrong (like an injury).

When the nerves become damaged or impaired, they often send out pain signals even when there is no injury or underlying cause.

Spinal cord stimulation is based on heart pacemakers and uses small electrical pulses to disrupt these erratic pain signals, preventing them from reaching the brain.

The spinal cord stimulator consists of thin wires (electrodes) and a generator. The electrodes carry small electrical pulses (that you can’t feel) from the generator to the nerve fibers of your spinal cord.

What should I expect from the procedure?

Getting SCS is a two-step process. The first step involves a trial for 3-7 days to determine if an implanted spinal cord stimulator will effectively reduce your pain. The trial is performed using needles, and there is no cutting of your skin.

During the procedure, a local anesthetic numbs a small area on your lower back along the needle entry sites. Your doctor uses an X-ray to guide the stimulator wire in your epidural space, a small area between your bone and spinal cord.

If needed, based on the pain condition, a second stimulator wire will be placed in the same manner to maximize coverage of the painful areas. Your doctor then attaches the wires to an external generator and tests the stimulation while you are laying on the table to ensure your painful areas are covered by the stimulator.

Adjustments to the wire positioning are made to ensure the best coverage of your pain areas. The treatment area is then covered in bandages, and the external generator attaches to a belt worn around your waist during the trial period.

Your doctor and stimulator company representative instructs you on controlling the stimulator and caring for your spinal cord stimulator trial system. At the conclusion of the trial period, if the spinal cord stimulator device is improving your pain, you and your doctor discuss the placement of your permanent device.

During the permanent implant procedure, your doctor makes small incisions in the middle of your back to access deeper tissue and inserts the electrodes to the same position as during your trial, to reproduce the same relief.

The other end of the electrodes are fed toward the left or right low back and a small incision is made under the skin and fat layer to create a pocket, where they place the generator (which is about the size of an Oreo cookie).

After the wires are connected to the generator in the pocket, the incisions are closed, and you’re off to recovery.

You control the spinal cord stimulator with a small hand-held remote and can adjust it as needed. Although spinal cord stimulation is not a cure for chronic pain, it is an effective treatment that delivers reliable, long-term relief that can be reprogrammed and adjusted as needed should your pain symptoms change.

To find out if spinal cord stimulation is right for you, book an appointment today at American Pain Consortium.


We aim to exceed expectations in all of our services. Quality is at the center of all of our work. Our team members complete their jobs with accuracy and care, no matter the size of the task.

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