Accessibility Tools


Mild electrical pulses from the external neurostimulator (A) travel through the temporary leads (B) to the nerves near your spinal cord.

The wireless, handheld therapy programmer (C) lets you adjust the stimulation during the trial, enabling you to experience the different levels of stimulation the system can provide.

A spinal cord stimulation (SCS) trial helps you take control of your treatment and assess how well the neurostimulator may relieve your pain during different activities.  It lets you try the therapy using an external stimulator that mimics the actual treatment.  The trial lasts up to 5 days. Afterwards, you and your doctor will decide if SCS is right for you.


  1. The doctor places the temporary leads (thin, flexible wires) near your spine using a small insertion device. The area will be numbed with a local anesthetic.
  2. As stimulation is applied, your doctor will ask how you feel to help determine the best location for the leads.
  3. The leads are connected to an external wireless neurostimulator, which will be secured to your back during the trial. This provides the stimulation therapy.
  4. In the recovery room, your device will be programmed to find a setting to determine the therapy that may work for you.THINGS YOU’LL LEARN AFTER THE PROCEDURE:
  5. How to use the handheld therapy programmer
  6. How to care for the area around the leads
  7. Activities and movements to avoid during the trial period

You may experience some discomfort on your back where the leads were placed. This is temporary and should go away in the hours and days after the procedure. You might also experience some changes in stimulation intensity with certain activities during the trial stage.


The trial period can last up to 5 days.Consider doing some of the things you normally can’t do because of your pain — like walking upstairs, standing in one place, or getting ready in the morning. The benefits of the therapy may be immediate or take a few days.

  • Your doctor will give you instructions to follow, including any limitations like twisting and heavy lifting, which may dislodge the trial leads.
  • Generally, you’re free to go to work, do your daily routine, and try some activities you’ve been avoiding because of pain.
  • The trial system isn’t waterproof, so you’ll need to keep it dry. Don’t let it come into direct contact with water when showering or bathing.
  • The benefits of the screening trial may be immediate, or they may take a few days.

Potential risks during the trial:

Complications can occur during the trial, including bleeding into the epidural space, infection, and other side effects. Do not undergo a trial if you have an active infection the day of the procedure.


At the end of your trial period:

  • Your doctor will remove the temporary leads and discuss your experience with you.
  • Together, you’ll decide if an SCS therapy implant is right for you.
  • If you and your doctor agree SCS therapy is right for you, you’ll schedule the procedure to get the system implanted.

Before the system is implanted, there will be a waiting period after the trial of 2 weeks. This gives you time to contact your insurance provider and schedule surgery. It also allows for your back to heal.