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Spinal cord stimulation
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Break the pattern of chronic pain

Proven therapy for
managing chronic pain

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a proven long-term and effective therapy for managing chronic pain.1,2 SCS disrupts pain signals traveling between the spinal cord and the brain. Learn more about the benefits of SCS, how it works, and what to expect before, during, and after your procedure.

Potential benefits of
Spinal cord stimulation

  • Improved ability to function3
  • More effective than repeat surgeries for pain4
  • Multiple studies have provided clinical evidence to suggest some patients treated with spinal cord stimulation (SCS) may be able to reduce oral opioid consumption.5-7
  • A recent study on the rechargeable device demonstrated the majority of patients experienced profound pain relief of 80% or more.8

Medtronic spinal cord stimulation (SCS) offers a non-opioid, CEE marked alternative when other chronic pain treatments have failed, such as:

  • Physical therapy
  • Oral or transdermal medication
  • Injections or radio frequency
  • Surgery
Illustration of spine with neurostimulator and loop of light around the upper part of the body

How it works

SCS disrupts the pain signals traveling between the spinal cord and the brain. Stimulation is delivered by a neurostimulator — a device similar to a pacemaker — implanted under the skin.

The impulses travel from the device to the spine over thin insulated wires called leads.

The leads deliver mild electrical impulses to an area near your spine. By interrupting pain signals between your spinal cord and your brain, the stimulator may help you get back to doing the everyday things you love most.

Understand the risks

Risks include infection, lead movement, pain at the implant site, and loss of therapy effectiveness. Please discuss in detail with your doctor. Not everyone responds to SCS in the same way, and your experience may vary.
See Important Safety Information above for additional risk and safety information, and discuss with your doctor.

Spinal cord stimulation procedure

Read more about the trial and implant procedure

Medical disclaimer

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.


Kumar K, Taylor RS, Jacques L, et al. The effects of spinal cord stimulation in neuropathic pain are sustained: a 24-month follow-up of the prospective randomized controlled multicenter trial of the effectiveness of spinal cord stimulation. Neurosurgery. 2008;63(4):762-770. Discussion: 770.


Kemler MA, de Vet HC, Barendse GA, van den Wildenberg FA, van Kleef M. Effect of spinal cord stimulation for chronic complex regional pain syndrome type 1: five-year final follow-up of patients in a randomized controlled trial. J Neurosurg. 2008;108(2):292-298.


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(1-2):179-188.


North RB, Kidd D, Shipley J, Taylor RS. Spinal cord stimulation versus reoperation for failed back surgery syndrome: a cost effectiveness and cost utility analysis based on a randomized, controlled trial. Neurosurgery. 2007;61(2):361-369.


Gee L, Smith HC, Ghulam-Jelani Z, et al. Spinal cord stimulation for the treatment of chronic pain reduces opioid use and results in superior clinical outcomes when used without opioids. Neurosurgery. 2019. A non-randomized prospective cohort study of SCS patients between September 2012 and August 2015 (N=86 [n=53 on opioids]).


Sharan AD, Riley J, Falowski S, et al. Association of opioid usage with spinal cord stimulation outcomes. Pain Med. December 2018. A nonrandomized analysis of Truven Health Marketscan databases from January 2010 to December 2014 based on the first occurrence of an SCS implant (N= 5,476).


Pollard EM, Lamer TJ, Moeschler SM, et al. The effect of spinal cord stimulation on pain medication reduction in intractable spine and limb pain: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials and meta-analysis. Journal of Pain Research. 2019:12 1311 -1324. A research review summarising SCS studies with respect to opioid use and a further meta-analysis of comparative SCS RCTs of 1 year or greater duration (N=489).


Fishman M, Cordner H, Justiz R, et al. 12-Month Results from multicenter, open-label, randomized controlled clinical trial comparing differential target multiplexed spinal cord stimulation and traditional spinal cord stimulation in subjects with chronic intractable back pain and leg pain. Pain Pract. 2021; 00: 1–12. doi: 10.1111/papr.13066.