FAQs about Spinal Cord Stimulation

What can I expect with spinal cord stimulation (SCS)?

Thousands of people find that SCS therapy provides a welcome relief from chronic pain. Spinal cord stimulation does not cure pain or eliminate the cause. It does, however, provide control of and relief from certain types of pain.

How long will my spinal cord stimulator last?

The Precision System provided at PeaceHealth Southwest uses powerful, Zero-Volt™ rechargeable battery technology, which carries a five-year warranty compared to a maximum of one-year warranty with competitive brands.

How often will I need to recharge the implant battery?

You decide on a recharging schedule that best fits your needs. Most people choose to charge based on a routine that fits their lifestyle, like during their favorite weekly TV show. Your remote control will also tell you when your implant battery is low and needs recharging.

How convenient is it to recharge the implant battery?

Recharging the implant battery is convenient and simple. The charger is lightweight and portable (cordless), so you can charge on the go. You just need to place the charger on top of your implant site. It can be held in place using an adhesive patch or using the provided belt.

Will the battery be damaged if it is allowed to run down?

No. The unique battery design prevents damage and allows it to resume normal function once charged.

Can one spinal cord stimulation system help me with pain in multiple areas?

The Precision System is designed to cover several pain areas at the same time. You can use your remote control to adjust the amount of stimulation for each pain area. You will not have to compromise pain relief in one area for relief of another area.

Will I feel the implant? Is it bulky or uncomfortable?

The Precision implant is the smallest and lightest rechargeable implant available. Its small size makes it easier for your doctor to position it in the most comfortable and convenient location for you. Depending on your body shape and size and the implant location, you may see or feel the outline of the implant under your skin.

When can I resume my usual activity?

You should expect to lead a healthy and active lifestyle with Precision. However, you should always consult your doctor before resuming activity after surgery or before engaging in very physical activities.

Is spinal cord stimulation safe?

Yes, spinal cord stimulation has been proven safe and effective and has been in use for decades. Thousands of people worldwide have benefited from SCS therapy. The Precision SCS System is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adults with intractable chronic pain of the back, trunk, and limbs.

Will I be totally pain free with SCS?

People differ in the amount of pain relief that they receive with SCS therapy. Some people enjoy complete pain relief, while others experience an important reduction in pain sensations. SCS is not intended to treat the source of your pain, so it is not a cure. However, it is intended to replace the feeling of pain with a more pleasant tingling sensation.

Will SCS allow me to be free of pain medications?

Every person differs in how SCS fits into their overall pain treatment plan. For many patients, SCS works so well that they are able to go off pain medications. For many others, it usually means reduction in the amount of pain medication. Always consult your doctor before changing your pain medication dosage.

Can I actually control the stimulation therapy?

Yes, to control the stimulation therapy, you will use a remote control. This will allow you to turn stimulation on and off, increase and decrease the level of stimulation and switch between four programs that are customized for use in different situations.

Do I use my SCS System 24 hours a day?

You decide when you do or don’t need stimulation. The stimulator and unique rechargeable battery are designed so that you can keep it on 24 hours a day, should you wish.

Will I experience any change in sensation?

Some people experience changes in where they feel the tingling and how strong it feels. The Precision Plus SCS System has a patient-directed programming system that lets you take control of the stimulation and redirect it to where you need it to be.

How often will I need to see my PeaceHealth Southwest pain specialist?

Your pain specialist will provide you with a regular follow-up schedule. You will need to visit your doctor less frequently over time. You should contact your doctor if you experience additional pain, notice changes in the quality of stimulation, or do not feel stimulation.

Will my insurance cover spinal cord stimulation?

Many health plans and insurance companies will cover most of the cost of pain therapy. Your clinic or doctor will need to get approval. This process is called prior authorization, and we can assist with this. Our staff can help you understand what your insurance company does and does not cover and work with you to ensure that you get the maximum coverage possible from your health insurance.