Older woman wearing headphones sits beside running trail.


Female nurse speaks with older male patient about spinal cord stimulation therapy for chronic pain.


If successful, spinal cord stimulation can help you manage certain types of chronic pain that have not responded to other treatments and improve your ability to participate in your usual daily activities.1,2 Many people experience improvements in their pain symptoms and quality of life after receiving Medtronic spinal cord stimulation.


After the initial healing period, neurostimulation therapy for pain relief will become a part of your day.

The neurostimulator:

  • Does not usually show through your clothes
  • May be felt as a bump under your skin
  • Can be adjusted using a handheld programmer
  • A neurostimulator with AdaptiveStim™ technology can automatically adjust stimulation based on your preferred settings in different positions


Setting realistic goals is a key to overall satisfaction with SCS therapy. It is important to remember that your neurostimulator will not eliminate the source of your pain or cure any underlying disease, but can help relieve your pain.


A typical follow-up schedule is once every 6 months, although initially the neurostimulation system may require more frequent adjustments. Your doctor may want to see you more or less frequently, depending on your pain treatment plan.

Between visits, you should call your doctor if you notice a change in your level of pain relief.


Your patient programmer not only allows you to adjust your stimulation settings, but also alerts you when action must be taken with your programmer or neurostimulation system.

Two programmers indicating recharge level.

For complete information about screens that may appear on your patient programmer, refer to the Patient Programmer Manual.

Intellis System Alerts

Icon Description Screen Type
Red triangle with an exclamation point icon. Red triangle with an exclamation point Warning screen
Orange triangle with an exclamation point icon. Orange triangle with an exclamation point Alert screen
Blue circle with letter Blue circle with the letter "I" Notification screen

Warning screens indicate a problem with the programmer, recharger, or neurostimulator. See the controller (programmer) manual for more explanation of each Warning screen.

Alert screens indicate a pairing or other connection problem between the programmer, recharger, or neurostimulator. See the controller (programmer) manual for more explanation of each Alert screen.

Notification screens provide information about stimulation settings, error conditions, and battery levels. See the controller (programmer) manual for more explanation of each Notification screen.

Restore System Alerts

Indicator showing that patient programmer batteries are low. Programmer Batteries Are Low
Replace the programmer batteries before they become depleted.
Indicator showing that patient programmer batteries need to be replaced. Replace Programmer Batteries
Replace the programmer batteries now.
Indicator showing that patient programmer has poor communication. Poor Communication
Reposition the programmer over the neurostimulator with the screen facing outward and try again. If using a detachable antenna, check to make sure the antenna is connected properly, reposition the antenna, and try again.
Indicator showing neurostimulator batter level is low.
Nonrechargeable Implanted Neurostimulator Battery Level Is Low
Call your clinician. The implanted nonrechargeable neurostimulator is nearing end of service. Stimulation will not be available soon.
Indicator showing to call your doctor. Call Your Doctor with Error Codes
Read the error code at the bottom of the screen. Error codes 0 to 252: Remove batteries from the patient programmer, wait several seconds, then re-insert the batteries. If the error message appears again, call your doctor. Other codes: Write down the code shown on the screen and call your doctor.
Indicator showing neurostimulator has reached end of service and to call your doctor. Call Your Doctor End of Service
Your neurostimulator has reached end of service. Stimulation is not available. Call your doctor.

Warning screens indicate a problem with the patient programmer, the antenna, or the neurostimulator. If the audio is turned on, three tones alert you to the message.


If you no longer need the neurostimulator or change your mind about the pain treatment, your doctor can turn it off or remove the system. To permanently remove the implanted system, a surgical procedure would be required.


Your physician is your first point of contact. If you need technical support, you may contact
Medtronic Patient Services at

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Kumar K, Taylor RS, Jacques L, et al. Spinal cord stimulation versus conventional medical management for neuropathic pain: a multicentre randomised controlled trial in patients with failed back surgery syndrome. Pain. 2007;132:179-188.


Kumar K, 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; 63:762-770.

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.