Spinal Cord Stimulation Trial

A spinal cord stimulation trial uses a spinal cord stimulator to see if your pain can be reduced. The spinal cord simulator is a small device with wire (leads) that are placed in your back. The stimulator sends electrical pulses to the spinal cord. These electrical pulses block the nerve impulses that cause pain. If the spinal cord stimulation trial reduces your pain, a permanent spinal cord stimulator may be placed (implanted).


The spinal cord stimulator will be put in your back. Where the spinal cord stimulator is placed depends on where your pain is located. For a trial, the entire device is not put under your skin (implanted).  Only the leads that go from the stimulator to the spinal cord are implanted.


  • You will be given information about the spinal cord stimulator. It will include:

  • How and when to use spinal cord stimulator.

  • How to care for the incision site and bandage.

  • What type of activity you can and cannot do.

  • What records to keep. You will have to keep a log of when you use it. You will need to say if your pain is less, the same or worse when the stimulator is in use. These records will show your caregiver whether the stimulator will work for you long-term.

  • In 3 to 5 days, you will need to come back to the hospital or clinic. You and your caregiver will discuss how the spinal cord stimulator worked for you and whether a permanent one should be placed.

  • Someone will need to drive you home after the spinal cord stimulator was placed. 

  • Take medication as directed. Ask your caregiver if it is okay to take over-the-counter medicine.


  • The stimulator insertion site is red or swollen.

  • Blood or fluid leaks from the stimulator insertion site.


  • The stimulator leads come out.

  • The bandage that covers the stimulator leads comes off.

  • Your pain gets worse.

  • You develop numbness or weakness in your legs or you have trouble walking.

  • You have problems urinating or having a bowel movement.

  • You have a fever or persistent symptoms for more than 2–3 days.

  • You have a fever and your symptoms suddenly get worse.