What Are the Benefits of Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Many people experience improvements in their pain symptoms and quality of life after receiving spinal cord stimulation. Some of these benefits may include:

  • Significant and sustained reduction in chronic pain1,2
  • Improved ability to function and participate in activities of daily living1,2

In addition, this treatment:

  • Has demonstrated safety and effectiveness when used as directed
  • Can be adjusted to provide different levels of stimulation for various activities and times of day
  • Lets you try the therapy for a short period of time before you receive a permanent implant

What Are the Risks of Spinal Cord Stimulation?

The neurostimulation implant is placed under the skin surgically. So, surgical complications are possible, similar to other surgeries. These may include infection, pain at the site of surgery, and bleeding into the epidural space.

Once the neurostimulation system is implanted, it’s possible that device complications may occur. These include jolting, lead breaking, and movement of the lead within the epidural space, which may require reprogramming, surgical replacement of the leads, or corrective surgery. These events may result in uncomfortable stimulation or loss of therapy.

Please see Important Safety Information for more details. Also, please discuss the benefits and risks of this therapy with your doctor.

What Are the Advantages Over Other Therapies?

Spinal cord stimulation offers several advantages over other chronic pain treatments:

  • Unlike other chronic pain treatments or surgeries, you can experience spinal cord stimulation and see if it relieves your pain before committing to the long-term therapy.
  • A screening test serves as a temporary evaluation period. Like an epidural, a special needle will be used. Instead of injecting medication into the epidural space, temporary medical wires called leads will be placed.
  • It does not have to be a permanent procedure. The neurostimulator can be surgically removed if you decide to pursue a different treatment.
  • Unlike oral medications that circulate throughout your entire body, spinal cord stimulation targets the precise area where you are feeling pain.
  • Spinal cord stimulation may provide relief when other treatments—like medications or injections—have not.

Why Choose a Medtronic Spinal Cord Stimulation System?

As you and your doctor choose the system that’s right for you, it’s important to research the companies that make neurostimulators and learn about their history with spinal cord stimulation therapy.

Here are some important facts to know about Medtronic as a long-standing leader in neurostimulation:

  • Neurostimulation therapy was developed by Medtronic and first approved in 1984.
  • We are a worldwide leader in medical technology and the largest medical device company in the world.
  • Only Medtronic offers AdaptiveStim™ technology, which automatically adjusts stimulation when you change positions.
  • Our spinal cord stimulators give you safe access to MRI* anywhere on your body.
  • Spinal cord stimulators can be used if you have a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) now or in the future.**

Who Can I Go to for Answers?

There are many resources available to help you get answers to your questions about spinal cord stimulation.

*Under specific conditions. Refer to product labeling for full list of conditions.

**Physicians involved with both devices should discuss the possible interactions between the devices before surgery.


  1. Kumar K, Taylor RS, Jacques L, et al. Spinal cord stimulation versus conventional medical management for neuropathic pain: a multicentre randomized controlled trial in patients with failed back surgery syndrome. Pain. 2007;132:179-188.
  2. 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.