Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Here are answers to several questions we get about spinal cord stimulation.

Will I be pain-free with the therapy?

Just as everyone experiences pain differently, the response to spinal cord stimulation varies from person to person. However, many people do experience substantial pain relief. Pain relief is defined as successful if you experience at least 50% pain reduction, while using less pain medication, and are able to increase your daily activity.1,2,3,4

How long will it take for me to recover after the implantation procedure and resume my usual activities and/or return to work?

During the period following your procedure, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions on postoperative care so your body has time to heal. During this time, you will also be asked to restrict your physical activity. Your doctor will provide you with information on when you may return to your normal activities and/or work.

Will I have activity restrictions?

With SCS, many people are able to return to their former daily activities. But, there are some restrictions. For example, you are advised to turn off the stimulation while driving.

How long will my stimulator last and what is the procedure for replacing it?

The stimulator is approved for a minimum of 10 years of use. After 10 years, the stimulator may not hold a sufficient battery charge and will need to be replaced in a minor surgical procedure.

Will the stimulator be visible when I am dressed?

The stimulator is small and features a contoured shape. For most people, the device is not visible through daily clothing.

Will I be able to travel with my SCS system?

Your SCS system will not limit your ability to travel. After your procedure, you will be provided with an SCS system identification card. You should carry this card with you at all times. Showing your identification card may allow you to bypass security devices, such as theft detectors or security screeners at entrances or exits of department stores, libraries and airports.

Be sure to talk with your doctor about all of your questions on how spinal cord stimulation can help you manage your chronic pain.

  1. Kumar K., Taylor RS, Jacques L, et al. Spinal cord stimulation versus conventional medical management for neuropathic pain: a multicenter randomized controlled trial in patients with failed back surgery syndrome. Pain. 2007;132:179-188.
  2. Taylor RS, Van Buyten JP, Buchser E. Spinal cord stimulation for chronic back and leg pain and failed back surgery syndrome: A systematic review and analysis of prognostic factors. Spine. 2005;30(1) 152-160.
  3. Cameron T. Safety and efficacy of spinal cord stimulation for the treatment of chronic pain: a 20 year literature review. J Neurosurgery. March 2004;100(3):254-267.
  4. North RB, Kidd DH, Farrokhi F, Piantodosi SA. Spinal cord stimulation versus repeated lumbosacral spine surgery for chronic pain: a randomized controlled trial. Neurosurgery. 2005;56(1):98-107.