What is Adaptive Stimulation?

Medtronic is continually advancing neurostimulation therapy to improve quality of life for patients with chronic pain. One of these innovations is known as adaptive stimulation, or AdaptiveStim®. It works by reducing the need to manually adjust your stimulation level when you change positions. This new technology is available only from Medtronic, exclusively with the RestoreSensor® neurostimulator.

What Does Adaptive Stimulation Do?

Throughout each day, you change positions repeatedly—from sitting to lying down, from lying down to standing up, from standing to being upright and active (walking, jogging, etc.). As you change positions, your spinal cord may move closer to or farther away from the electrodes that send out the mild electrical pulses. A stimulation level that blocks your pain when you’re standing may be uncomfortable when you’re lying down. As a result, you may have to adjust stimulation with your programmer.

Before RestoreSensor, all neurostimulation systems may have required you to adjust stimulation settings with your programmer when you changed positions for more comfort. With AdaptiveStim, you can be active without having to adjust your stimulation setting—it automatically adjusts it for you.

What Patients Say About Adaptive Stimulation


"When I’m standing, when I’m walking, [AdaptiveStim] is just automatic, it just goes right to the setting that I need, which gives me freedom from the [programmer], and that’s a plus."

AdaptiveStim Automatically Adapts to Your Position

AdaptiveStim remembers the stimulation level that you have chosen in each position and automatically adjusts the setting the next time you move into that position.

AdaptiveStim, available only from Medtronic:

  • Senses when you change positions
  • Learns from previous experience and remembers your last comfortable setting while standing or sitting, lying down, or upright and active (e.g., jogging)
  • Responds by automatically adjusting stimulation to your optimal settings in each position

What Patients Say About Adaptive Stimulation


"I say set it and forget it, that’s the way it works with me."

How Does AdaptiveStim Work?

AdaptiveStim uses an accelerometer, similar to what’s used in smartphones and gaming devices to detect a change in position. Just as a smartphone knows if it’s being used vertically or horizontally and adjusts the screen image, AdaptiveStim knows if you are sitting or standing, lying down, or upright and active, and adjusts your settings.

What Patients Say About Adaptive Stimulation


"Whatever activities that you're doing, you can do them without the spikes, without the jolts, without the drops. It's just a constant level of comfort and ease."

How Effective is It?

A recent clinical study on RestoreSensor with AdaptiveStim found that:

  • 86.5% of clinical study patients reported improved pain relief and/or improved convenience1
  • 80.3% of clinical study patients reported improved comfort when changing positions1
  • 90.1% of clinical study patients said they intend to leave AdaptiveStim turned on all or most of the time or turn it on or off as needed1

Have questions about AdaptiveStim? Our Talk With a Nurse program makes it easy to get answers.


  1. Medtronic advanced pain therapy using neurostimulation for chronic pain. Clinical summary. 2011; M221494A006.